As a method for awarding research funding, peer review suffers from many drawbacks and yet is by far the most commonly used method to make funding decisions. RAND Europe revised and updated its pack of Alternatives to Peer Review to inspire funders to practise and test alternative methods for picking research winners.
RAND Europe provided the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy with a rapid assessment of the innovation and competitiveness impacts of the EU's proposed General Data Protection Regulation affecting: automated processing; control of data processing; and data transfers. The briefing considers a variety of perspectives—profiling; big data; cloud computing; and privacy-friendly technologies—and identifies a variety of impacts and areas for improvement.
The UK government today announced plans to spend £600 million for scientific research, in part as a means for promoting economic growth. Evidence provided by research findings in a 2008 study by RAND Europe, the Health Economics Research Group at Brunel University, and the Office of Health Economics suggests that the proposal could lead to a good return on investment. The study estimated that the health and GDP gains from UK public and charitable investments in cardiovascular disease research is equivalent to an annual rate of return of around 39%.
The field of personalised or stratified medicine is evolving alongside the formation of a plethora of public-private partnerships. Such collaborations are at the core of the set of new life sciences policies in the UK, but the rationale and basis for collaboration remains unclear and there is little indication in policy documents of clear boundaries for them. An article in the journal New Biotechnology
discusses some of the drivers and dynamics of these collaborations.
The Internet has transformed our daily lives and revolutionised the way we do business, and it promises to fuel economies and improve well-being in the future. But Europe has been slower than the US, Korea or Japan to capture the full benefits of the Internet economy. Investing in new technologies and applications has considerable economic potential for Europe, but only if some tough choices are made and barriers to EU international competitiveness can be overcome.
Open innovation has gained increased attention as a potential paradigm for improving innovation performance, but one under-researched type of innovation is crowdsourcing, where a crowd is tasked with solving problems which solution seekers anticipate to be empirically provable. An exploration of who is using this form of innovation and how, looking at the potential diversity and core features and variables implicated in crowdsourcing models, can help organisations understand the effectiveness, best practices, challenges and implications of crowdsourcing.
To understand the factors affecting the wider adoption of electric vehicles, RAND Europe has sponsored a project to evaluate the barriers, as well as relevant government and public-private interventions that have been used in other countries to facilitate adoption. The project team will also conduct a survey to determine the potential uptake of electric vehicles within a municipality, using Cambridge, UK, as a case study.
Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) work like digital fire brigades, responding to and mitigating cyber security incidents. The European Network and Information Security Agency asked RAND Europe and partner time.lex to explore the legal, regulatory, and operational aspects of information exchange between CERTS in Europe. Their study found that uncertainty over data protection regimes, amongst others, are an important factor influencing cross-border information exchange.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) help to empower citizens and transform economic life. An important policy challenge is to identify and harness the benefits while mitigating the risks created by the new technologies. At the World Bank's request, RAND Europe helped develop a framework for thinking about ICT use in MENA. The report builds on an earlier research which benchmarked indicators for the knowledge economy in the region, analysing associations between indicators of ICT diffusion and development.
RAND Europe has published an evaluation of the Greek research and development (R&D) system which identifies opportunities to improve economic growth and social outcomes. The Greek government commissioned the work to inform its plans to create a sustainable platform for research and development in Greece. The report concludes that a reform programme can succeed. Solutions would involve reducing fragmentation, developing critical mass, and addressing issues of enduring concern and comparative advantage.
Despite considerable investment in basic science, wheat production has remained relatively static in both quantity and quality. To help ensure the best use is made of these investments, RAND Europe examined how translational research and knowledge exchange can be enhanced. Important barriers to the translation of research into practice include price volatility and the complexity of the wheat value chain, but providing platforms for face-to-face contact and collaborative working can enable knowledge exchange.
Developed as part of the "Science of Science" programme for the UK’s Department of Health, this short paper examines the use of prizes to support the objectives of the Department’s Research and Development Directorate. It reviews the use of performance measures and incentives and concludes that prizes should play a more significant role in the UK health R&D system than they have to date. It is not suggested, though, that they should replace existing systems.
Normally, technology transfer involves developed countries forging ahead with innovation while others adopt technologies in their wake. This is an exploratory study of health technologies explicitly developed for developing countries being transferred from South to North. While it concludes that many of the factors key to successful transfer are highly contextual, it will be of interest to policymakers who find their concerns beginning to overlap (such as in relation to cost).
The independent telecommunication regulator of the Netherlands, OPTA, commissioned RAND Europe to explore convergence in the market for digital information and communication. The research report assesses the consequences for telecommunication regulators and regulation and explores specific issues, such as spectrum policy and net neutrality with the ultimate goal of drawing useful lessons from approaches applied in United States of America, United Kingdom and South Korea.
With the move towards evidence-based policymaking, public sector organisations increasingly need high-quality data, including statistical and qualitative data. An exploration of international good practice in the use of data in policymaking identifies key choices to be made, applies a conceptual framework to thirteen case studies, and examines how organisations in the fields of health, consumer, food and feed safety and animal welfare policy handle their data needs in policymaking.
The European Commission's Digital Agenda highlights a need to develop a pan-European 'cloud strategy', but several challenges threaten to undermine the EC's policy objectives. RAND Europe explored the security, privacy and trust challenges that cloud computing poses; conducted case studies and a workshop to review the real-world applicability of these issues; and formulated recommendations around the principles of accountability, transparency, governance and implementation.
For policymakers, the scientific community and governments to choose wisely when allocating research funding, they need a better understanding of the potential impact of research. Project Retrosight analysed 29 carefully selected cardiovascular and stroke research case studies in three countries using the Payback Framework. It examined the impact of the research and identified factors associated with various levels of payback.
The European Commission actively supports "eGovernment" — the use of information and communication technologies to provide and improve services, transactions, and interactions among governments, citizens, and businesses. At the Commission's request, RAND Europe has assessed the objectives and priorities of Europe's eGovernment strategy and analysed the extent to which current policies and instruments can deliver on these priorities.
In innovative sectors, investments in knowledge creation by one party often result in "spillovers": external benefits for other parties. A high-level forum organised and facilitated by the Office of Health Economics and RAND Europe explored strategies to reap the benefits of such spillover effects from biomedical and health research in the UK, and how to consider these effects more explicitly during the policymaking process.
Researchers, including those in the mental health field, seek to secure more resources by identifying new scientific opportunities to fund. RAND Europe is undertaking a parallel effort to better understand the mechanisms and potential opportunities for spending those funds by developing evidence on the kind of research that leads to effective treatments and cures and exploring how this evidence could inform decisions in the future. A major multinational study that takes a long-term look at research and advances in mental health is the latest project to be funded as part of this initiative.
Online access to large, high quality data collections has led to a deeper level of sharing and analysis, potentially accelerating and improving the quality of scientific, technical, and medical research. Libraries have a potentially important role to play in facilitating long-term access to these resources, but the role of a national library in this realm remains unclear. The British Library has asked RAND Europe to help it explore alternatives and develop a strategy to facilitate access to relevant datasets in the biosciences and environmental science.
Should intellectual property regimes in developing countries be strengthened and harmonised across the globe? An examination of literature and research concerning the role of intellectual property policies in the development of poor and industrialising countries considers economic and social development along five key dimensions to reveal that a country's intellectual property regime is systematically related to its broader state of development.
The use of radio frequency identification in the healthcare setting holds the potential for improved patient safety and reduced costs. RAND Europe studied individual cases to identify the potential and real costs and benefits of RFID deployment in European healthcare, as well as the critical success and failure factors of RFID implementation programmes in practice. An initial set of reports provide a framework for conducting cost-benefit analyses in the future and to stimulate the effective monitoring and capturing of cost-benefit data in care delivery settings. A final report presents three scenarios for 2020, to describe futures in which the technology and health care sectors develop in different ways.
A series of studies by RAND Europe explore requirements for delivering a secure eGovernment environment for mobile European citizens, based on the lessons learned from existing services and initiatives and identified challenges in the national and pan-European environments. Also examined are the benefits that Pan-European eGovernment Services (PEGS) can provide and how best to implement them.
To help inform the development of its Research Excellence Framework the Higher Education Funding Council for England asked RAND Europe to review of how different countries evaluate the impact of university research. The RAND Europe study suggested that Australia's case-study approach to impact assessment may be best suited to HEFCE's needs. The report also describes challenges, lessons, and observations from international practice, to help HEFCE develop its framework.