Keywords: R&, D networks, technology alliances, European Framework Programmes, network policies, research and development
Unveiling the texture of a European Research Area: emergence of oligarchic networks under EU Framework Programmes
The paper provides a contribution to the recent debate about targets and effectiveness of network policies at the EU level, by presenting an analysis of the R&D network that has emerged over Framework Programmes. Social network analysis is employed to describe structural properties and dynamics of the emerging network, which appears to be dense and pervasive, branching around a large 'oligarchic core', whose centrality and connectivity strengthened over programmes. The paper discusses the degree to which this network structure may respond to EU broad policy objectives and its implications for recent programmes aimed at shaping a European Research Area. Attention is placed on the late focus by European institutions on networking centres of excellence. Since future initiatives are to build on the existing fabric, we argue that understanding how networks formed and evolved following previous stimuli is of great relevance for implementing and assessing the impact of the newly defined network approach.