A PDF/print version of this report is available here.
The EU Centre organised a book launch for “Building the Knowledge Economy in Europe” on the 23 October 2014, 3.30pm to 5.00pm at Seminar Room 901, NTU@one-North. The book’s co-editor Dr Chou Meng-Hsuan (Public Policy and Global Affairs, NTU) was present at the event to give a short introduction to the book.
Dr Chou Meng-Hsuan began her introduction to the book on “Building the Knowledge Economy in Europe” with a quote from the Sorbonne Joint Declaration 1998, reminding the audience that “Europe is not only that of the Euro, of the banks and the economy: it must be a Europe of knowledge as well”. She told the audience that the origins of the book could be traced back to the European Consortium for Political Research, General Conference 2011, where researchers working on knowledge policies (higher education & research) had their own ‘Europe of Knowledge’ (EoK) session for the first time. This introduced higher education and research policies into EU studies more broadly and the EoK section continued to be successfully organised at subsequent general conferences.
Dr Chou noted that a radically different European knowledge policy area is emerging as a departure from how higher education and science policy have traditionally been handled. She added that it was an understandably sensitive topic as the field often intersects with nation-building and national security issues. The Europe of Knowledge can be dissected into the European Research Area (ERA) and European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Before 1984, Dr Chou noted that the ERA was marked by intergovernmental cooperation primarily on issues of mobility of knowledge workers. From 1984 onwards, the Framework Programmes and now Horizon 2020 (Europe-wide funding) have taken over to facilitate Europe-wide collaboration in research. The ERA was launched in 2000 to improve European research performance in a strong effort to bring the research area together and create an internal market for research.
As for the EHEA, this was coordinated by the Council of Europe before the 1970s and subsequently framed by European Court of Justice rulings through the 1990s. The Bologna Process in the 1990s then triggered a coordinated process of policy exchange with common aims, including degree structure, credit transfer, promotion of students’ mobility and academic exchanges.
Dr Chou argues that a Europe of Knowledge propelled diverse knowledge policy sectors to the centre of the European policy space, but that the path of institutionalization is different in each policy sector. ‘Vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ tensions exist in the shaping of this space. Dr Chou concluded with four visions for a Europe of Knowledge:
- As a foundation for a knowledge-based economy (economic competitiveness)
- As embodiment of a knowledge-based society (education for social inclusion; civic education and socializing the citizens of Europe);
- As an instrument of a knowledge-based policy (science as a transversal problem-solver of Europe’s grand challenges); and
- A tool for enhancing competitiveness in science and higher education in Europe.
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