A European map of knowledge production and co-creation in support of research and innovation for societal challenges

Specific Challenge

Research and innovation dynamics are increasingly being influenced by the development of interactions among all stakeholders ("quadruple helix" approach). More actors are involved in knowledge creation and the innovation process. Universities and research institutions collaborate with business enterprises, hospitals, local municipalities, administrations for public services and citizen organisations. At the same time, the research and innovation process is changing with the transition towards open science and open innovation. The focus is increasingly on developing, testing and rolling out solutions to societal challenges for the benefit of citizens and local jobs. Since 2014, the EU has boosted its support to this dynamics through new funding instruments and modalities, incl. smart specialisation strategies. This show the way for new hot-spots of knowledge production and co-creation in Europe.

However, information and data on this new research and innovation dynamics is relatively unknown and fragmented. Local and regional actors are often not aware of which relevant and complementary knowledge, and possible project partners, can be found in other places in Europe. And national and European policy makers do not have the overview of hot spots in Europe. This information would enable them to refine their policies and funding instruments, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of national and European knowledge systems.


The aim of a European map of knowledge co-creation is to create a methodology and web-based platform that presents data on institutional, regional and national knowledge co-creation hot-spots. The resulting maps will enable web-based search for co-creation and knowledge production hot spots addressing societal challenges or Key Enabling Technologies. The methodology will make use of state of the art of all available data sets (e.g. webometrics, bibliometrics, patent data, EU-funded collaboration, institutional data) and methods for linking them, ensuring synergies and avoiding overlaps, also taking into account social sciences and humanities and big data. It will also be flexible enough to connect to existing and complementary data systems with more traditional input and output indicators on Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and Public Research Organizations.

The funding will enable methodological developments and a European-wide pilot mapping of knowledge production, co-creation and cooperation. As a first stage, all institutions actively involved in knowledge production, co-creation and cooperation in Europe will be identified. In parallel, a common terminology will be established corresponding to specific societal challenges or technologies. The platform should have an interactive graphic interface to allow users to quickly parameter their request and obtain European maps of knowledge production, co-creation and cooperation in a specific societal challenge or technology at regional and local level.

The platform shall be fully compliant with all existing definitional standards in the field of S&T and be inter-operable and scalable, from an IT point of view.

The Union shall support the initial development of the Map. The Union therefore asks proposers to suggest a convincing, sustainable, commercially viable business model for the operation and further development of the Map in the absence of follow-up support from the Union.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in order of EUR 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The proposed Map of knowledge co-creation shall provide a more effective basis for evidence-based policy making in the EU, through giving a novel insight to the driving forces bringing about knowledge production, co-creation and cooperation for societal challenges or key enabling technologies. It will also allow actors at local and regional level to identify possible partners and peers in other countries in Europe. The map crosses over disciplines and territories and go beyond the current state of the art to identify and assess the complete range of parameters linked to measuring actors, and hot-spots addressing different challenges. It fully capitalise on recent developments in the availability of data and in computational techniques. In such a way, it shall enrich the knowledge base upon which research investment decisions are taken and harness the full power of data visualisation tools by way of collecting large datasets and presenting them in a clear and understandable way, thus allowing essential policy insights quickly, in a flexible manner, and at a reasonable cost.

Date de candidature
Sciences sociales