17 / 05 / 2022

OECD-EARTO Joint Study – The contribution of RTOs to socio-economic recovery, resilience and transitions

This new OECD study supported by EARTO analyses the evolution of the funding, governance, and policy context of Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) in the last ten years, and the implications of these changes on their ability to achieve their mission, in particular their contribution to solving societal challenges and supporting sustainable transitions.

The fieldwork, analysis and consultations conducted in the context of this study has several policy implications. Public interventions (funding but also related to regulations and framework conditions) should accompany and support the ongoing changes of RTOs – internally but also all together as a specific component of national and EU innovation systems – so that they best contribute to the twin imperatives of strengthening economic competitiveness and tackling societal challenges.

The study draws 7 implications for policy makers who play a key role in setting the environment in which RTOs operate and that determines in part their ability to deliver on their mission as follows:

  1. Launching a pilot study with a few countries to measure the specific contributions of RTOs to their national policies, paving the way toward a more systematic recognition of RTOs in national classifications.
  2. Reviewing and benchmarking RTOs’ national basic funding schemes to enable them to best contribute to societal challenges with the adequate time horizons, scale and scope.
  3. Enabling the structural changes of RTOs and networks of RTOs.
  4. Improving the specific framework conditions at national and supranational levels to ensure a fair and homogenous treatment of RTOs.
  5. Ensuring the funding of the experimentation of novel sociotechnical solutions, including through the support to the development and maintenance of technology infrastructures.
  6. Conducting a reflection on how to strengthen European networks of specialised RTOs with unique expertise and infrastructures in key technology areas to gain scale and increase capabilities.
  7. Reviewing and improving the various collaborative incentives and funding instruments to support the cooperation between RTOs and universities.

EARTO thanks the OECD team and its members who contributed to this study. EARTO remains at the disposal of the EU Institutions and Member States to further discuss the policy implications presented in this report.

Read the full OECD Report