398

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Adapting to new digital realities: Main issues and policy responses

19-04-2018

Digital technologies have changed the way we live and transformed the world around us at unprecedented speed. They have affected all important aspects of life, both at work and at home, and have influenced almost everything from human relations to the economy, to the extent that access to the internet has now become a basic human right recognised by the United Nations. This profound change presents both opportunities and threats to our society. Citizens need specific skills and access to be able ...

Digital technologies have changed the way we live and transformed the world around us at unprecedented speed. They have affected all important aspects of life, both at work and at home, and have influenced almost everything from human relations to the economy, to the extent that access to the internet has now become a basic human right recognised by the United Nations. This profound change presents both opportunities and threats to our society. Citizens need specific skills and access to be able to meaningfully take part in society and work. European businesses need an adequate policy framework and infrastructure to capture the enormous value created by the digital economy. Supporting innovation, removing barriers in the digital single market, and effectively managing and using data are the necessary tools to assist them and boost economic growth in Europe. The European Union takes an active part in shaping the digital economy and society, with cross policy initiatives that range from boosting investment, through reforms of copyright and e privacy, to removal of geo-blocking and development of e-government. This multifaceted approach is necessary to facilitate adaptation to complex new realities. The European Parliament, as co legislator, is involved in shaping the policy framework which will help citizens and businesses fully utilise the potential of digital technologies.

The regions in the digital single market: ICT and digital opportunities for European regions

19-04-2018

The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. The European Commission estimates that completing the digital single market could contribute €415 billion per year to Europe's economy, create 3.8 million jobs and transform public services. In addition, many future jobs will require information and communications technologies (ICT) skills, rendering the process of acquiring digital skills an imperative. The European Commission has presented several initiatives to ...

The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. The European Commission estimates that completing the digital single market could contribute €415 billion per year to Europe's economy, create 3.8 million jobs and transform public services. In addition, many future jobs will require information and communications technologies (ICT) skills, rendering the process of acquiring digital skills an imperative. The European Commission has presented several initiatives to boost the use of ICT in Europe. The Digital Agenda for Europe, announced in 2010 in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, aimed at promoting economic recovery and improving social inclusion through a more digitally proficient Europe. The Digital Single Market strategy, introduced in 2015, complements the Digital Agenda for Europe. Achieving a digital single market will ensure that Europe maintains its position as a world leader in the digital economy, helping European companies to grow globally. In 2016, the European Commission adopted a new Skills Agenda for Europe which includes measures on the acquisition of digital skills. Although many of the digital single market priorities are primarily dealt with at national level, various initiatives can be explored at the local and regional level. Regions and cities can plan and pursue their own digital strategies in the interests of enhancing economic growth and to promote their citizens' wellbeing. Enhanced use of digital technologies can improve citizens' access to information and culture, promote open government, equality and non-discrimination. However, a number of challenges need to be addressed to fully reap the benefits of digitalisation. Personnel with ICT skills are still lacking in Europe and many European citizens are not adequately trained to carry out ICT-related tasks. In addition, broadband connectivity in some parts of Europe remains slow. Although certain EU regions and local authorities experiment with new technologies, not all of them have managed to provide a high-level range of digital services and ICT related activities. This briefing is an update of an earlier edition, published in October 2015.

What if we were to travel on levitating trains?

12-04-2018

Magnetic levitation-based transport might be about to enter our lives, providing for faster, safer and more energy-efficient journeys. As it will enable longer distances to be covered more rapidly and cleanly, could it affect where we choose to live?

Magnetic levitation-based transport might be about to enter our lives, providing for faster, safer and more energy-efficient journeys. As it will enable longer distances to be covered more rapidly and cleanly, could it affect where we choose to live?

Preparing FP9: Designing the successor to the Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme

11-04-2018

The preparation process for an EU framework programme for research and innovation includes a variety of activities: evaluation of the previous programme; expert studies to define the scope and priorities of the new programme; and proposals for new instruments. The EU institutions, the advisory committees, the Member States and other stakeholders also put their expectations and opinions forward on the shape and content of the programme. This paper provides an overview of all the activities developed ...

The preparation process for an EU framework programme for research and innovation includes a variety of activities: evaluation of the previous programme; expert studies to define the scope and priorities of the new programme; and proposals for new instruments. The EU institutions, the advisory committees, the Member States and other stakeholders also put their expectations and opinions forward on the shape and content of the programme. This paper provides an overview of all the activities developed to contribute to the preparation of FP9. It also analyses the position of all the actors on 10 key discussion points including: the difficult battle over the FP9 budget; the tensions between support for excellence and the need for cohesion; streamlining of instruments and simplification of processes; requests for greater EU added value from the programme, linked to its collaborative nature; the role of the Member States in the programme's governance and implementation; and the expected innovations: the European Innovation Council and a mission-oriented approach.

Should we fear artificial intelligence?

26-03-2018

For better or worse, artificial intelligence (AI) is predicted to have a huge impact on the future of humanity. As new promises and concerns reach increasingly mainstream audiences, the debate is starting to capture the public imagination. In this publication, we present four opinion pieces, each responding to the question should we fear AI? The four authors come from different disciplinary backgrounds and present diverging perspectives on whether we should fear the future of AI, and how we should ...

For better or worse, artificial intelligence (AI) is predicted to have a huge impact on the future of humanity. As new promises and concerns reach increasingly mainstream audiences, the debate is starting to capture the public imagination. In this publication, we present four opinion pieces, each responding to the question should we fear AI? The four authors come from different disciplinary backgrounds and present diverging perspectives on whether we should fear the future of AI, and how we should proceed with its development.

External author

EPRS, DG; Peter J. Bentley, University College London Miles Brundage, University of Oxford Olle Häggström, Chalmers University Thomas Metzinger, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz With a foreword by María Teresa Giménez Barbat, MEP and an introduction by Philip Boucher, Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA)

Interim evaluation of Horizon 2020

21-03-2018

As required by the regulation, the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 – the European Union (EU) framework programme (FP) for research and innovation – began in October 2016 with a public consultation to gather feedback from stakeholders three years in. The Commission performed its own mid-term evaluation and asked experts to evaluate the programme's specific instruments. In parallel, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the advisory committees conducted their own, separate evaluations ...

As required by the regulation, the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 – the European Union (EU) framework programme (FP) for research and innovation – began in October 2016 with a public consultation to gather feedback from stakeholders three years in. The Commission performed its own mid-term evaluation and asked experts to evaluate the programme's specific instruments. In parallel, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the advisory committees conducted their own, separate evaluations of the programme. The Commission adopted its conclusions on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 in January 2018, confirming that the programme was relevant and presented clear EU added value. Implementation was considered to be efficient and the first results suggested that the programme was also effective in reaching its objectives. The integration of research and innovation and the Horizon 2020 pillar structure provided for greater internal coherence compared with previous framework programmes. All the evaluations highlighted four key issues to be addressed by the next FP. First, the programme budget needs to match better the funding required to bring the success rate back to acceptable levels. Second, the unbalanced distribution of FP funding across the EU raises concerns regarding the impact of the use of the excellence criterion and calls for changes to enable the various EU funds to generate more synergistic effects so as to maintain EU competitiveness and promote EU cohesion in research and innovation. Third, the evaluations highlight the will to improve the shared, multi-level governance between the EU, Member States and regions and to promote the co-design and co-construction of the FP with the public and civil society. Finally, there is widespread agreement that the EU research and innovation funding landscape has become too complex and should be streamlined, questioning the EU added value of each of the instruments and partnerships.

Overcoming innovation gaps in the EU-13 Member States

14-03-2018

Investing in research is considered essential for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs in Europe. The EU Framework Programme for research and innovation is the EU’s primary instrument for building the European Research Area. Framework Programmes are expected to produce European added value: therefore the principle of juste retour does not apply. Research needs to be of the highest quality, produced in international collaboration and selected on a competitive basis. Under such ...

Investing in research is considered essential for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs in Europe. The EU Framework Programme for research and innovation is the EU’s primary instrument for building the European Research Area. Framework Programmes are expected to produce European added value: therefore the principle of juste retour does not apply. Research needs to be of the highest quality, produced in international collaboration and selected on a competitive basis. Under such conditions, uneven participation is unavoidable. However, Framework Programme participation appears to be disproportionately weak for an entire region of the EU. After almost 20 years of access to the opportunities of the FPs, the EU-13 still lags behind the EU-15. The aim of this study is to explore, identify and enlighten reasons for the low participation and success rate of EU-13 countries, in order to improve their future performance in Horizon 2020 and in future Framework Programmes.

External author

EPRS, DG

Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors - A Rolling Check-List of recent findings

13-03-2018

This rolling check-list presents an overview of the Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), concentrating on those relevant for the 2016 discharge procedure. It strives to link the research topics of the Special Reports to relevant debates and positions within the European Parliament, including the working documents of the Committee on Budgetary Control, the work of the specialised parliamentary committees, forthcoming plenary resolutions and individual questions by Members. This ...

This rolling check-list presents an overview of the Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), concentrating on those relevant for the 2016 discharge procedure. It strives to link the research topics of the Special Reports to relevant debates and positions within the European Parliament, including the working documents of the Committee on Budgetary Control, the work of the specialised parliamentary committees, forthcoming plenary resolutions and individual questions by Members. This check-list has been prepared by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the EP's in-house research service and think-tank, as part of its on-going support for parliamentary committees and individual Members in scrutinising the executive in its implementation of EU law, policies and programmes. The European Parliament is strongly committed to Better Law-Making, and particularly to the effective use of ex-ante impact assessment and ex-post evaluation throughout the entire legislative cycle. It is in this spirit that the Parliament has a particular interest in following the transposition, implementation and enforcement of EU law, and, more generally, monitoring the impact, operation, effectiveness and delivery of policy and programmes in practice.

International Agreements - A Rolling Check-List

09-03-2018

This rolling check-list offers an implementation monitoring tool that allows for a systematic overview of the review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses and also management and implementation clauses that are included in international agreements concluded between the EU and third countries. It is produced by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank, as part of its work on the evaluation ...

This rolling check-list offers an implementation monitoring tool that allows for a systematic overview of the review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses and also management and implementation clauses that are included in international agreements concluded between the EU and third countries. It is produced by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank, as part of its work on the evaluation of the EU policy cycle.

What if all technologies were inherently social?

02-03-2018

How technology has shaped society and how future technologies might affect it in the years to come are subjects for frequent debate. It can be tempting in this context to think of technologies as neutral 'things' that can be used for good or bad depending on the user's intentions and skills. But what if technologies were social objects that reflected and reinforced human activities or even political values? In fact, while mechanisms, effects and implications remain open to debate, experts on the ...

How technology has shaped society and how future technologies might affect it in the years to come are subjects for frequent debate. It can be tempting in this context to think of technologies as neutral 'things' that can be used for good or bad depending on the user's intentions and skills. But what if technologies were social objects that reflected and reinforced human activities or even political values? In fact, while mechanisms, effects and implications remain open to debate, experts on the relationship between technology and society broadly agree that technologies are indeed social in this way. By scripting, restricting and enabling different human behaviours, technologies can influence our lives in much the same way that policy programmes do. A number of key ideas have emerged from this field over the last five decades, with various implications for European policy-making.

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