United voices to change our future through science

Deep thoughts from the scientific community on “Why should interdisciplinary high-risk research on disruptive technologies be supported?” have been collected by the EFFECT project and summarised in a dedicated public report


“The future is much nearer than we think. The pace of development in science and technology and their impact on society by the creation of new industries is accelerating. With this acceleration comes turbulence and “mixing”: opportunities arise from the interaction across fields.”


This is one of the inspiring contributions to the online open discussion “Why should interdisciplinary high-risk research on disruptive technologies be supported?” launched by the EFFECT project. Goal of the discussion was to gather opinions of various stakeholders and the general public to help assess the relevance, coherence, effectiveness and added value of financial support to multidisciplinary high-risk research and disruptive technologies. EFFECT’s analysis of the collected inputs and main outcomes is now available in a dedicated report.


The open discussion was published on FUTURIUM, the European Commission’s platform dedicated to sharing opinions on EU policies. It was open from the 1st of March until the 31st of May 2018 and spurred great interest among stakeholders and scientists in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, social sciences and economics.


Several considerations emerged from the collected contributions. These range from the benefits of bringing different disciplines together to the resulting social and economic development and long term growth.


In particular, contributors underlined the need for adequate funding for high-risk interdisciplinary research and collaboration to work. This was guaranteed at EU level in the last years mainly by the Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme.


After all, as stated by one of the contributors: “Experience has shown that it is very difficult to predict which research will turn out to be crucial for future advance, or when the advances that follow from research will come. This lack of certainty makes it all the more important that there is funding for research that is not tied to immediate problems. “


The discussion was a continuation of what was said during the workshop entitled, European Leadership through Disruptive Technologies: Future and Emerging Technologies towards 2030. This was organised by the EFFECT project in cooperation with the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee and European Commission’s DG CONNECT on the 7th of March at the European Parliament in Brussels. Goal of the workshop was to boost the awareness of the importance of FET on the European society of tomorrow among societal actors such as researchers, industry, policy makers, civil society organisations and citizens.


The inspiring outcomes of the workshop are summarised in the multimedia storytelling slideshow “Our lives and FET”, a collection of videos, interviews and interesting facts on the deep impact of FET groundbreaking research on our society.


Read the report and have a glimpse on why high-risk, visionary research should be funded at a European scale.


Cover image by Jenny Le on Unsplash