European Technology Platforms were introduced in 2002 as a way of bringing together basic research and industry to produce 'a long-term strategic plan for research and development of specific technologies with a significant economic and societal impact'. They now cover 34 diverse research areas, including road transport, space technology, wind energy, hydrogen and fuel cell technology, nanotechnologies for medical applications, robotics and water supply and sanitation technology, to name a few.

The evaluation was carried out at the request of the European Commission. Its main objectives were to map the functioning, concept development and objectives of the ETPs; list and analyse their output, results and impact; identify successes, limiting factors and best practices; and formulate recommendations for the future. The report made 18 targeted recommendations to policymakers and ETPs, and 12 concluding points. The evaluation recommended that EU and national policymakers 'clearly and unambiguously continue to support the ETP concept', promoting them more forcefully on the political level.

However, the evaluation also highlights the failure of the ETPs to make research results more easily translatable into new products and services. To remedy the situation, the evaluation recommends that ETPs "move beyond scientific and technological challenges" and instead start focusing on the application of research results. Those platforms which are more advanced and have already developed their SRAs should focus on "the regulations and standards that affect the commercialisation of research". In addition, the evaluation concludes that the platforms have "underachieved" regarding the identification of future education and training needs and recommends the introduction of more initiatives in this field in the near future.

The main conclusions of the evaluation were that, generally speaking, all ETP stakeholders are fairly satisfied (score of 3.5 out of 5). Commissioner Potočnik concluded by saying, 'Over 90% of the nearly 950 respondents to the evaluators' survey of your members and stakeholders said that they would, given their experience of ETPs' involvement so far, gladly renew their membership.

Source: CORDIS, euractiv.com.

Links:
ETPs: http://cordis.europa.eu/technology-platforms/

The full evaluation report is available at:
ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/technology-platforms/ docs/evaluation-etps.pdf

Next issue: July 2018
Special theme:
Human-Robot Interaction
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