As an impact assessment MEFISTO was intended to provide a tool for influencing future policy at the mid point of FP7 and before the preparation of FP8 by assessing the extent to which policy objectives were achieved. The policy objectives for FP5 and FP6 derived from a number of specific and general policy decisions within the European Union, with the Lisbon Agenda leading the way. For aeronautics some of these policy objectives were technological; to increase competitiveness, serve social needs including the protection of the environment, and contribute to the vision of a sustainable, competitive, safe, secure and user friendly air transport system. It was also a policy aim to establish a European Research Area that by encouraging co-operation and integration of research across Europe to work towards the Lisbon objectives for Europe to become a leading knowledge based world economy.
The MEFISTO project had three main objectives:
- to develop a process for conducting impact assessments of Framework Programmes;
- to demonstrate this process in the aeronautical sector, and;
- to propose how it could be used more widely across the transport sector.
The first major output of the work was a description of the process methodology developed for assessing the impact of FP5 and FP6 on a variety of issues of importance to each particular sector. The second major output was a demonstration of this process methodology in use in one sector, the aviation sector. This includes the assessed results generated for that sector. The third major output was a description of the process(es) necessary to adapt the process for use in another particular transport sector. This includes the ways in which the different conditions applicable should be recognised and the different impact areas identified.
MEFISTO will identify 20 Key Policy Issues to be analysed. The 20 Key Policy Issues were arranged into four groups under the headings of: Driving Impacts, Structural Impacts, Leveraging Impacts, and Input Impacts.
- Driving Impacts were the direct impacts of the research work advancing technologies and increasing capability of the enterprises concerned through participation in projects.
- Structural Impacts were the effects of the FPs influencing the way in which enterprises collaborated and how their relationships developed through participation in the FPs.
- Leveraging Impacts were those effects of the FPs adding value by making the whole value of the research community more effective than could be attributed to the projects alone.
- Input Impacts were those effects that stemmed from the actions and structures provided by the Commission.
Evaluation of the impact of Framework Programmes 5 & 6
MEFISTO proposed a methodology for the evaluation of the impact of the support provided in FP5 and FP6 in the field of transport, based on a large number of key factors. Once the proposed methodology was finalised it was applied to the aeronautics sector evaluating the impact of the funding achieved in FP5 and FP6. In the aeronautical sector Framework Programmes 5 & 6 were highly successful and profoundly significant successors to previous Framework initiatives.
Once this evaluation process was successfully completed and reviewed the consortium separately considered the specific issues that would arise in applying the process to other sectors.
Impact on 7th Framework Programme
MEFISTO developed a methodology which will be applicable in all support programmes for different transport modes. The other transport modes will be offered a tested and validated methodology to assess the impact of EU Framework actions. This will help making the EU research system more efficient and effective suggesting a more efficient mechanism for carrying out research relating to pan-European policy challenges such as climate change as requested for ERA (European Research Area). At the end of the impact assessment recommendations will be formulated for 7th Framework programme and will feed the FP7 mid term review.
There is always the request to increase research funding in order to accelerate technological progress. But there will be never enough funding support to fulfil all demands. This means however, that there will be a constant effort and challenge to spend the public money in the most efficient way. In a complex system and dynamic environment, it will always be difficult to identify or define the best and only way of efficiency. The proposed methodology and approach in MEFISTO is a way to help assessing the technological progress of the last years towards the ambitious targets of ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research inEurope) and will provide means and information in which way the research priorities in FP7 should be directed in order to achieve these targets.
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