ERA-NET ROAD II builds on the success of the first ERA-NET ROAD, which was funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). It made considerable progress towards the networking of road research programmes across Europe and was able to develop working procedures, identify common strategic research opportunities and launch a number of joint transnational research projects.
ERA-NET ROAD II built on that work, focusing on implementation of joint activities and funding of joint transnational research. The aim of ERA-NET ROAD II was to strengthen the European Research Area in road research by coordinating national and regional road research programmes and policies. The consortium comprises owners and managers of road research programmes in fifteen countries and two regions. Jointly, they will promote, develop and facilitate collaborative transnational programming, financing and procurement of road research.
The partners in ERA-NET ROAD II set out to ensure that coordination between road research programmes owners from both within and outside the Consortium was broadened and deepened, and that new partners were invited to join the consortium. Two transnationally funded programme calls paved the way towards achieving an expenditure of 10% of public road research budgets on collaborative research by 2013. The project also liaised with other public and private stakeholders and encouraged collaboration with non-European research programmes.
At the end of the project, collaborative research will have become business as usual for National Road Administrations. A permanent and self-sustaining structure will have been established and embedded that will take forward the transnational coordination of road research programmes after completion of the project.
The ERA-NET ROAD II focused on strengthening the European Research Area in road research through the coordination of national and regional road research programmes and/or policies. Its ambition was to provide decision makers with new information about international specification, procurement and management of road research. Likewise, the aim was to present opportunities for international collaboration in the future.
The project produced the following tentative recommendations to enhance further cooperation between the European and the international players in the road research field. The motto is: TRUST, UNDERSTANDING and COMMITMENT.
TRUST: building common trust is the key to achieve good collaboration. Key players need to be aware that we are sharing the same goal. Advocates for creating trust are especially decision makers. To build trust, it is necessary to:
- use the existing networks;
- look for confluence (between meetings, people, conferences);
- assign high-level people to advocate for the programme;
- recognise the need for cultural competency and sensitivity;
- deploy professional networks and networkers.
Trust can be achieved through bilateral meetings, workshops, seminars, conferences and questionnaires.
UNDERSTANDING: partners need to understand the common obligations. It is highly recommended that tools that have been developed, are brought to the attention of high-level decision makers. This also embeds close cooperation. The following is needed:
- show the cost benefit: the value for money by joining forces;
- apply a top-down approach to dismantle barriers to collaboration;
- deal with intellectual property rights;
- arrange constant and professional dissemination.
Understanding can be achieved through alignment of projects, joint activities and identification of strategic research opportunities.
COMMITMENT: partners need to commit their resources, in order to reach full collaboration. This provides synergetic cooperation and knowledge sharing. The best way is to show in which way a project has contributed to the actual improvements in the national or trans-national road-sector. The project team recommends: show it, don't tell it. The following is needed:
- focus on demonstration and implementation;
- consider the mobility of scientists working across borders;
- bring rese
After study, the project has identified various keys to success: Trust, Understanding and Commitment. These are the pillars to bridge gaps between partners, between decision makers and research experts. These keys are perhaps not unique, but they seem to be working well.
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