TRI-VALUE will look back into the FP7 work on transport with the aim of performing an ex-post evaluation. The objectives are: (1) analyse implementation and management; (2) assess achievements and impacts of the transport research financed by FP7 (regarding specific objectives, economic, social and environmental impacts); (3) evaluate efficiency, effectiveness and relevance of the funding; and (4) assess sustainability and utility of the programmes. This information will be used to outline conclusions and recommendations for improving transport research and innovation.
Given the complexity and timeframe of the topic, a straightforward methodology is proposed, inspired in consultancy projects. An inception meeting will be held to open direct a communication pathway with the Commission, to be maintained throughout the project. TRI-VALUE proposes to build its analytical framework based on the Research Impact Pathway methodology (developed in SITPRO and SITPRO Plus projects), to be adapted to reflect latest developments and address specific needs of TRI-VALUE (e.g. with inputs from MARPOS, METRONOME, 'Interim Evaluation of the FP7' and 'Impact Assessment to Horizon 2020'). The assessment will then be prepared combining primary data (survey, project reviews and stakeholder consultation) and secondary data (databases, e.g. CORDA, SESAM; and from other projects, e.g.'Impact Assessment to Horizon 2020' or EU TRAIN). This work will allow an analysis of performance across a set of indicators, complemented by a comparison with R&I systems from other economies.
The team was established bearing in mind the need to capitalise knowledge from other projects. In addition to a balanced composition between consultants, research centres and universities, merging experience in transport with innovation systems and know-how of thematic areas within transport, the partnership brings in knowledge from, e.g. SITPRO, SITPRO Plus, MARPOS, METRONOME, Market-up, Pro Inno, EUTRAIN and DETRA.
Performance review: FP7 transport
An EU project assessed the outcomes and effectiveness of Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) transportation projects. Few yielded economic benefit, because the field remains at an early stage; otherwise, the studies have performed well – especially regarding policy ideas.
FP7 is Europe's largest and most important research funding body. Thus, it is appropriate to occasionally evaluate its performance, particularly with respect to Horizon 2020's six grand challenges.
The EU-funded project TRI-VALUE (Ex-post evaluation of transport research and innovation in the FP7 'cooperation' programme) aimed to conduct such a review. The study focused on FP7's support of transportation research, and included judgement of the results plus economic impact. Furthermore, the team compared European transportation research and innovation (TRI) with relevant work abroad. The ultimate product was to be recommendations for improving Europe's TRI. The six-member undertaking ran for one year to May 2014.
The group assessed FP7 using a research impact pathway methodology. The study found that while FP7 projects generally yield substantial relevant outputs, little of that translates to new products or new standards. The explanation may be that FP7 still mainly focuses on basic research rather than market applications.
Also, while FP7 transportation projects generally have wider social impacts, in most cases the impacts will emerge in the long term. Hence, the project was not able to quantify the projects' value, and a new method is required. Although room for improvement exists, there was also reason to believe that considerable benefit had been achieved, particularly regarding policy formulation.
TRI-VALUE concluded that FP7's transportation programme contributes heavily to achievement of FP7 objectives, while offering value for Europe. The projects themselves show a high level of success and are generally well managed, yet cross-cutting objectives still lack an appropriate framework. Transportation research made an important contribution to community policy, and engaged the public via effective dissemination strategies. Small business engagement generally exceeded the expected threshold. The study also concluded that FP7 transportation research responds to societal challenges and positively affects innovation.
The team presented six recommendations for improvement, concerning market uptake of research outcomes and increased engagement of civil organisations, among other areas.
TRI-VALUE examined the effectiveness and impact of FP7 transportation research support in terms of Europe's mid-term agenda. The conclusions were positive, though some areas for improvement have been highlighted.