Bea Mahieu, Erik Arnold and Peter Kolarz
In recent decades, developments in European research policy making have led to an enhancement of the role and function of evaluation to cope with the growing globalisation of research and the need to ensure effective research systems at the national level and in the European Research Area. These developments have led to a need for a more integrated way to understand research performance as well as its efficiency and effects, combined with a growing need for a European view. The desire for better evidence for public management, a growing movement calling for open access to the results of publicly funded research and the vastly increased power of computing and communications coincide to support policy interest in steering and sharing research results and data about them. Current trends in the extended use of research information systems - at institutional, national and European level, set the context and create the opportunity for the development of a European research information infrastructure that could provide the basis for an improved research policy development in Europe.
Stefano Faberi and Loriana Paolucci, reviewed by Andrea Ricci (ISIS) ; Daniela Velte and Izaskun Jiménez (Tecnalia)
This study discusses the technological, environmental and economic barriers for producing methanol from carbon dioxide, as well as the possible uses of methanol in car transport in Europe. Costs and benefits are evaluated from a life-cycle perspective in order to compare different feedstocks for methanol production and to account for the potential benefits of CO2-derived methanol in the transition to a more diversified fuel mix in the transport sector. Benefits in terms of reduced dependence on conventional fossil fuels and lower risks to security of supply can be envisioned in the medium and long term. It is nonetheless evident that considerable and sustained research efforts are necessary to turn CO2 into an efficient and competitive prime materials, which would be attractive not only for the transport sector, but also other industries. Europe’s increasingly limited and expensive access to fossil fuels makes it obligatory to consider policy options and smart strategies, combining market, regulatory and planning instruments, to bring down the direct and indirect costs of alternative fuels, so that transport services remain affordable for citizens and companies during the transition to a less petroleum-dependent economy.
STOA Secretariat, European Parliament
STOA mainly carries out projects that assess the impact of introducing or promoting new technologies, and identify the best possible options for action, from a technological point of view. In 2013, STOA continued its activities on the main topics of: - Eco-efficient transport; - Sustainable management of natural resources; - Security of the Internet, including e-Government, cloud computing and social networks; - Health; - Science policy. Some major projects of this legislature have been completed, such as: - Eco-efficient transport futures for Europe; - Potential and Impact of Cloud Computing and Social Network Websites; - The series of studies under the umbrella of ‘Technology options for feeding 10 billion people’, which was closed with the workshop ‘How to feed the world in 2050?’
Maike Puhe (Project Leader), Markus Edelmann and Max Reichenbach (ITAS-KIT)
This report deals with the development of integrated e-ticketing systems for public transport and touristic sites in cities. While technologies are already available and ready to meet multi-function requirements, e-ticketing has not yet been implemented on a wider scale in Europe. The implementation of an integrated e-ticketing system is a complex process that requires the synchronised activity of heterogeneous actors. Public transport operators and authorities, financial service providers, telecommunications operators, and the tourism sector need to work together to combine their products on a single card. Besides technological characteristics, legal and economic aspects play a decisive role. Stakeholders that are involved in the implementation of an integrated ticketing system need to agree on technical specifications as well as on institutional and governance issues.
Timo Leimbach (Project Leader), Dara Hallinan and Daniel Bachlechner (Fraunhofer ISI) ; Arnd Weber, Maggie Jaglo and Leonhard Hennen (ITAS) ; Rasmus Øjvind Nielsen (DBT) ; Michael Nentwich and Stefan Strauß (ITA) ; Theo Lynn and Graham Hunt (DCU/IC4)
The opportunities of using powerful computing resources on demand via the web are considered as a possible driver for the growth of the European economy. While the market for Social Network Sites has already experienced a consolidation, the market for Cloud Computing is still in an early stage, but with considerable growth rates. In addition the recent massive surveillances actions and the rise of cyber-crime showed the need for a more secure basis of future computing. As a result it is necessary to support the development of highly secure IT solutions. By modernizing the data protection regime Europe could not only ensure the better protection of citizens, but also serve as a model and partner for emerging markets. In order to encourage this evolution the digital life of citizens and business needs legal certainty to ensure new ideas are taken up. As well as this it is abundantly clear that a crucial precondition for a competitive ICT industry is an inspiring surrounding ecosystem.
Evelyn Underwood, David Baldock, Harry Aiking, Allan Buckwell, Elizabeth Dooley, Ana Frelih-Larsen, Sandra Naumann, Clementine O’Connor, Jana Poláková and Graham Tucker
How should Europe respond to the increased demands on our food and agriculture systems arising from global population growth, changing diets, and competing demands on agricultural land? This report offers a view on how the EU could play a role in meeting these challenges in the coming decades and sets out some of the options which merit particular attention. It focuses on options for increasing agricultural productivity whilst adapting to the effects of climate change and reducing emissions from agriculture, the means of reversing continued declines in farmland biodiversity, the reduction of food wastage, ways to achieve a more resource-efficient food sector, and the options for using wastes and residues to meet biomaterial and bioenergy needs in a sustainable way. It brings together some of the analysis and results of five commissioned studies in a synthesis, considering the state of play today and some of the key developments on the horizon moving towards 2050. The European Union has strongly developed common environmental and agricultural policies, and a recently reformed Common Agricultural Policy with a greater emphasis on both the environment and innovation, providing Member States with an opportunity to initiate a change in direction. At the same time, there are major challenges to increasing productivity in an appropriate way whilst reducing damage to European agricultural and natural resources and biodiversity. It will be important to produce more with less in Europe and to cut wastage.
H.C. Langelaan, F. Pereira da Silva, U. Thoden van Velzen, J. Broeze, A.M. Matser and M. Vollebregt (Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research) ; K. Schroën (Wageningen University Food Process Engineering)
Innovations in food processing techniques can significantly contribute to meeting the needs of the future 10 billion world inhabitants with respect to quality, quantity and sustainability of their food intake. The present study provides an expert judgment for the potential of new and emerging technologies to enhance sustainability in the food processing sector. It includes the following technologies: sensor technology, sustainable packaging and refrigeration climate control, non-thermal pasteurisation and sterilisation, nano- and micro technology, innovative processes for utilisation of by-products, alternative processes requiring less energy or water, plant-based meat alternatives and information and knowledge transfer. For each technology the direct impact (reduced losses, energy and water use) as well as the indirect impact (food losses, suboptimal utilisation and unnecessary quality decay within the supply chain) are described, as well as their contribution to the areas of improvement of the European food processing industry (new and better food products, resource efficient manufacturing processes, integrated and transparent supply chains and enhanced innovation capacity).
Rolf Meyer (ITAS, Karlsruhe, Germany), Tomas Ratinger (Technology Centre ASCR, Prague, Czech Republic) and Kai Peter Voss-Fels (University of Gieβen, Germany)
In the frame of the STOA project “Technology options for feeding 10 billion people”, this report analyse how farming management concepts, practices and technologies, including plant breeding, could enable sustainable intensification of crop production, with the aim to increase food production and support food supply. The aim of sustainable intensification is to produce more food from the same area of land while reducing the environmental impacts, under social and economic beneficial conditions. The study addresses agriculture in developing countries as well as in industrialized countries (Europe), small-scale and large-scale farming, extensive and intensive agricultural production systems, and low and high tech production practices. The main topics are: - Reducing yield gaps – sustainable intensification and improving crop management; - Increasing yield potentials – plant breeding; - Reducing crop losses – improving harvest and postharvest procedures. For these topics, options for action are identified and discussed.
Carmen Priefer (Project Leader), Juliane Jörissen and Klaus-Rainer Bräutigam (ITAS)
The reduction of food waste is seen as an important lever for achieving global food security, freeing up finite resources for other uses, diminishing environmental risks and avoiding financial losses. In its roadmap for a resource efficient Europe the European Commission has set the target to halve the generation of food waste by 2020. The present study deals with approaches for preventing food waste based on a thorough analysis of the scale, reasons and pattern of food wastage in EU-27. The focus is on measures and instruments that are considered in literature or in the current debate as particularly useful, easy to implement and/or that have already proven their effectiveness in practice. This includes among others the improvement and harmonization of the data basis, the setting of reduction targets on national and regional level, the revision of existing regulations on food date labelling, the enforcement of awareness campaigns, the introduction of economic incentives, the improvement of workflows as well as the implementation of an integrated supply chain management in the manufacturing and wholesale/retail sector including technological innovations which are likely to reduce food waste.
E. Underwood, J. Poláková, B. Kretschmer, A. J. McConville and G. M. Tucker (IEEP) ; E. Dooley, A. Frelih-Larsen and S. Naumann (Ecologic Institute) ; S. Berman, M. Sarteel and C. Tostivint (BIO Intelligence Service) ; N. M. van der Grijp (Institute for Environmental Studies - IVM ; VU University) ; N. Maxted (School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham)
There will be rising global demand for food and energy from the land over the coming decades resulting from population growth and economic development. This will coincide with the need to adapt agriculture to increasing climate-related threats (which will probably outweigh opportunities in Europe), whilst decreasing the impact of agricultural emissions on climate change. At the same time, biodiversity losses due to intensive agricultural practices and abandonment of biodiversity-rich farming are expected to continue. The long-term sustainability of farming is being undermined by trends such as soil degradation, declines in pollinators, the loss of natural biological control of pests and diseases, and the loss of plant and animal genetic diversity. Substantial changes in agricultural systems are required in Europe to ensure rapid reductions in agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as effective adaptation to climate change and strengthened biodiversity conservation. This report describes a range of practices and developments in agriculture that could sustainably increase agricultural productivity whilst contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and providing biodiversity benefits. Policy could play a larger role in supporting innovation and development in the full range of agricultural systems in Europe and in the use of certain wastes and residues for energy purposes. The report provides a set of recommended options for incentivising beneficial actions, constraining unsustainable practices, and promoting innovative options whilst ensuring environmental safeguards for new technologies that might have unwanted negative impacts on biodiversity.