SERVICES CAN CONTRIBUTE MORE
Services constitute a significant element in the EU’s economic activity,
accounting for around 70% of total employment as well as of the gross added
value generated by the EU27. A vibrant services economy can contribute to
countries’ growth and competitiveness, create new jobs, and help balance
public sector finances.
European economies are currently facing significant challenges. Also the
European services sector has room for improvement. There are many barriers to
trade in services within the EU internal market, and the productivity of
services is not particularly high.
The development of services is at the core of national and EU-level policies.
However, services have been largely neglected in the EU Framework Programmes.
We wish to argue that, because of its dependence on services, Europe needs to
make sure that the most important research and development themes are properly
identified and addressed.
AERTOs IS LEADING THE WAY
In 2010 a group of European Research and Technology Organisations within the
AERTOs ERA-NET Coordination Action decided to explore co-operation
opportunities in select subject-matter areas. One of those areas was service
research. This work has now resulted in the publication of a SRA for services: Services
for Europe – Strategic Research Agenda and Implementation Action Plan for
The participating organisations included TNO (The Netherlands), Fraunhofer ISI
and IAO (Germany), Tecnalia (Spain), SINTEF (Norway), SP (Sweden), and VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT assumed responsibility for project
management and publishing. The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and
Innovation (Tekes) contributed by providing substantial financial support.
The publication identifies and justifies important research and development
themes in services and issues recommendations for the organisation and funding
of services-related research in Europe. The major socio-economic and
technological trends that currently influence the development of services have
also been identified. The main purpose is to provide input to the preparation
of both national and EU-level research programmes and calls for proposals in
the field of services, a particular aim being the forthcoming Horizon 2020.