I happened to co-organise (together with Birgit Pröll and Martin Gaedke) the 1st International Educators’ Day on Web Engineering Curricula (WECU 2010 – see http://wecu.webengineering.org/2010/) in conjunction with ICWE 2010 in Vienna, see http://icwe2010.webengineering.org/.
Ralf Gerstner, from Springer Verlag in Heidelberg, gave an interesting talk about liquid books. The idea, put simply, is that for publishers like Springer, there is “something” in between the traditional, high quality and longer term printed book publishing and the creative-commons, all-free bottom-up way of publishing in a wiki. They refer to it as the “liquid book”.
||See http://liquidpub.org/ for more information. Interestingly, as presented by Gerstner, there are commonalities between traditional software engineering and the way web applications are engineered today (i.e., Web Engineering).
E.g., for liquid books there are
- low barriers / short time to market.
- agile development
- new credit attribution rules less constraints
July 12th, 2010
From May 20-21 EARTO held its annual conference in Gothenborg. Amongst the many excellent presentations, secretary general Chris Hull addressed in his talk “the Grand Challenges: The Essential Contribution of Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs)”. The following shows a slide (presented also at other occasions) which I believe reflects in an excellent way the development of the European Framework Programme. Here it is (copyright Christopher John Hull):
The image expresses IMHO very well how the framework programmes changed – at least during the last 10 years – from a perspective of individual (and co-funded) projects, towards increasingly policy driven initiatives with the idea of making a bigger impact (by larger initiatives such as IPs or by including the member states with Article 169 initiatives, by joint programming, etc.).
I would like to add a second slide that shows involvement of some key Austrian RTOs (AIT, JR, SRFG) in the Framework Programme (the slide has been presented by Klaus Pseiner, FFG):
The slide shows the European participation (in red/orange) and the national participation (in green) of core Austrian RTOs (research and technology organisations). As can be seen from the slide, there is an increase in national participation (for various reasons) and a decrease – at least the last years – in participation in European programmes. One obvious reason for that is the increasing competition through a grown EU; also the year 2003 was an all-time high; there were many national programmes been set-up in Austria; etc. But after all, I would assume, that participation in European framework programmes simply has increased in complexity (not to mention administrative issues). BTW: I should add that Salzburg Research‘s participation in FPs has over the years been slightly increasing in absolute figures (1,04 Mio. in 2004 to 1,39 Mio. in 2009); however, we had a bigger growth in our other activities, which means that the relative portion of the framework programmes at Salzburg Research has declined to about 20% in 2009, which is still an excellent value, I believe.
I would assume that if this trend continuous, FP8 will be even more complex: grand challenges will need to be addressed, a closer cooperation between science and industry is requested, national initiatives will be synched, etc. How this fits to the overall wish of fewer administration, reporting, etc. is an open issue.
Amongst the wishes I have for FP8: one should introduce a reputation system. I.e., those organisations (or units thereof) who have a long track record should be able to earn brownie points for that.
May 29th, 2010
Trust Researchers is a declaration to the attention of the European Council of Ministers and the Parliament.
The background (text taken from the declaration at http://www.trust-researchers.eu/index.php?file=background.htm):
“Currently research is funded according to many input oriented indicators.
At present the financial regulation – the relevant legal funding framework – treats research in similar way as procurement processes for any goods.
This condition is unsatisfying for researchers, research organisations and the European Community as a whole. It hinders the development of ground-breaking results through ineffective research funding.
The funding of European research should be based on trust. Today European researchers face many red tape and cumbersome financial regulations. We are not against rules. Rules are important and accountability is essential. However, research has to be funded in recognition of the nature of research, thus, the financial regulation and associated rules have to be adapted to primarily output oriented objectives and to conditions creating a transparent justification of costs.
What we need is a change in philosophy! ”
Interestingly, Austria currently leads with respect to the number of signees: see the excerpt form the official web site (http://www.trust-researchers.eu/index.php?file=background.htm) as of today (March 2nd, 2010) on the left. The right figure displays the list of countries in descending order:
At present, 3767 people have signed (March 2nd, 2010).
March 2nd, 2010
I happened to participate in a discussion organised by FFG (Andrea Höglinger and Sabine Herlitschka) on the evaluation of the European Framework Programmes. The (excellent) presentation was given by Peter Fisch (head of unit A3 Evaluation and monitoring of programmes in directorate Inter-institutional and legal matters – Framework programme). The powerpoints are available here (only the first slide is in German).
Interestingly, previous framework programmes (i.e., before FP7) were characterised by “ad hoc” evaluations, i.e., did not really have a systematic monitoring. Then, some impressive figures about the size were presented:
- 25.000 proposals (!) have been received for the years 2007 and 2008 with 160.000 applicants
- 5.500 proposals where retained, 35.000 participants
- SME participation is down to 15.5% (side issue here: in FP7 SME participation is measured after the financial viability check. As a consequence SME participation rate went down one third compared to previous evaluations where SME participation has been measured on the basis of the data provided by participants themselves when submitting the proposal).
FP7 is a mass business!
Some key findings were presented concerning the ex-post evaluation of FP6 (report of Feb. 2009 available). The core message: the achievements overall had a positive balance (i.e., network building was good, project results were good, etc.), the design of FP6 was “mixed” and finally, in the implementation there was “room for improvement”. Recommendations (amongst others): more bottom-up funding, administrative overhaul, etc.
For FP8 this means that there could be new lines of action (Grand challenges = top down, and Great Ideas = bottom up), a significantly higher budget as well as European excellence through global collaboration and competition.
The following figure (taken from the presentation) shows that the IST programme is the only part with a significant role for industry (the blue bubbles):
The following slide shows the central actors: it’s mostly universities, industry is only at the bottom of the list (Telefonica and France Telecom, both big players):
There is many more other interesting figures and data in the presentation!
Finally, the interim evaluation of FP7 will be available by Oct. 2010.
To me, FP6 (at least) was not for industry but mainly for universities and RTOs. In general, networks effects, publications, etc. seem to be well achieved. So let’s hope (and contribute) for a less-administrative and more industry-oriented FP8 (perhaps also with closer links between research programme and innovation-related activities)!
January 18th, 2010