Written by Heritiana Ranaivoson & Luciano Morganti
Have your say on future objectives for EU-funded research and innovation
On the 28th of June 2019, the European Union, in the preparation of the implementation of Horizon Europe, launched an online consultation to prepare a ‘Strategic Plan’ for Horizon Europe that will guide the work programmes and calls for proposals for Horizon Europe’s first four years (2021-2024). It is complemented by an online consultation on Horizon Europe Co-design – Implementation, open until the 4th of October 2019.
This post recaps MediaRoad’s response, generally asking for a more systematic presence of the media sector in Horizon Europe’s work programmes. It follows the structure of the guidelines.
Where should Horizon Europe play its greatest role in terms of global challenges, Sustainable Development Goals, and EU policy priorities?
Horizon Europe shall play a greater role in sustaining the European ecosystem for R&D and Innovation. It shall provide the mechanism and framework to establish a much more impactful R&D and innovation community in media (i.e. community of innovations for media oriented SME and start-ups). Horizon Europe should support the objective of well-informed and well-educated citizens as a basis for strong democracies, open societies and a sustainable future.
How relevant is it for Horizon Europe to promote a “Protective Europe”?
Protective Europe should include the fight against fake news. However the flourishing of quality journalism will fight disinformation better than prohibition of fake news. Hence it is important to fund R&I that promotes high-quality media. All this while respecting the protection of personal data.
How relevant is it for Horizon Europe to promote a “Competitive Europe”?
Media content as an asset for competitive SME & online platforms. Advantageous innovation strategies rely on bridging technology & content production and promoting the sandbox model. It is crucial to focus on the accessibility of media services for ALL, also for new media formats (eg social media, XR).
How relevant is it for Horizon Europe to promote a “Fair Europe”?
More R&I towards ensuring that media services are truly inclusive and accessible to all. Minorities should be included not only in terms of access to media services and products, but also of production of media services and products. They should be users and producers of media services.
How relevant is it for Horizon Europe to promote an “Influential Europe”?
The fast-paced technological transformations require strengthening international R&I cooperation on international level to unlock opportunities in the exploitation of (ethical) AI and 5G. All developments shall be respecting the high-quality European regulation for the protection of personal data.
General Comments regarding the targeted impacts from Horizon Europe
We have identified 3 clusters where media innovation should be highlighted.
In Cluster 2 (Culture, creativity and inclusive society):
- The role of media in enhancing democratic governance (also with the importance of pluralism) is righteously mentioned
- CCI or the creative economy are just mentioned as a very little part of Objective 2) on Promoting heritage. This should be more insisted upon to support the transformation of the European media sector as a whole
- Given their recognised importance, Media and CCI should be clearly included in the policy objectives and in targeted impacts.
- Media is absent from Key R&I Orientations (although CCI are mentioned)
In Cluster 3 (Civil security for society):
- We support the fact that Cluster 3 refers to « combat disinformation and fake news with implications for security » among key R&I orientations, and includes « fake news » within threats in the cyber-area
- It mentions STARTS but this should be done in relation to media. But it should involve media
In Cluster 4 (Digital, industry and space ):
- Media should be explicitly mentioned under 4.2 (“They are bringing the benefits of digital innovations, notably Artificial Intelligence and big data analytics, to all types of products and services from connected and autonomous vehicles to health equipment, novel materials and drugs, and smart energy systems.”) as innovations for the media industry (will) strongly rely on this type of technological trends.
- Media should be explicitly mentioned when « To maximise impact, we must ensure that all European enterprises, including small-and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups, have access to the technologies and data they need, by promoting an ecosystem of technology infrastructures, catering for industry, including SMEs and start-ups; and by establishing a European data ecosystem, in conjunction with the Digital Europe Programme.”
- It is an important acknowledgement to see media among Key R&I priorities in 4.6 Next Generation Internet (notably the risks related to concentration; the need to address innovative immersive, media and business applications supported by Content platforms; interactive technologies)
- With a fundamental change in user behaviour, the media industry needs to transform rapidly, from a technical, a strategic and an operational perspective – all this is related to high economic risk while not only jobs but also social cohesion are at stake. Dedicated R&I support should be considered.
More generally, media innovation requires higher, dedicated funding.
Why? Digitisation has led to several technological innovations being adopted by the media sector, all along the value chain, from production and distribution to consumption. The European media sector plays a crucial role to help answering challenges as well as changes in the social and economic contexts. In particular:
– Media can contribute to the transition to a fully-fledged digital society and economy
– Media keep on having an important role to play in the EU integration and cohesion process
– The media industry has a large economic contribution (GDP, employment, etc.)
– Media can contribute to education, media literacy, awareness of global challenges, community cohesion and civic engagement, thus highlighting the importance for an integrated vision for culture, education, communication and media.
– Media actively contribute to fostering, supporting and promoting European values and to tackling current transnational challenges, from inclusiveness and diversity, to citizens’ engagement and democracy, quality information and education, common European cultures and shared cultural heritage.
– Audiovisual and radio are part of the toolbox for fighting disinformation and fake news
– Broadcast reception (especially for radio) is a secure, reliable and free-to-air platform. It is resilient during natural disasters and can issue reliable emergence warnings when needed.
How? It is crucial that the funding specifically dedicated to media research and innovation is increased in order to ensure the crucial challenges ahead are tackled. The role of media should be reflected in dedicated, media-specific funding calls in each Cluster of the Multiannual Financial Framework (beyond the cases identified before). To facilitate the search and application to these funding calls, there should be a dedicated web portal/page that aggregates the media-specific funding calls and actions present in the different schemes.
Additional policies should be aimed at supporting media research and innovation by fostering co-operation and collaboration. Supporting networking systems, media hubs and the development of creative or media clusters is extremely relevant for the future of the sector. That also requires further to investigate these new forms of partnerships and collaborations, assess their impact (including at local level) and devise the best policies to develop them. In this respect, media should be clearly referenced in clusters like the Open Innovation of Horizon Europe, or the Digital Innovation Hubs of the Digital Europe Programme.
Dr Heritiana Ranaivoson is Senior Researcher and Project Leader at imec-SMIT-Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). He holds a MSc in Economics and Management from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan and a PhD in Industrial Economics from Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne. He has led several projects for European Commission, Unesco, Google, etc. His main research interests are cultural diversity, media innovation, wearables and the economic impact of digital technology on cultural industries.
Luciano Morganti is Professor at the VUB in the Communication Department where he teaches in the international master New Media and Society in Europe. He teaches courses related to New Media, the European Public Sphere, and Internet Governance. He is a visiting professor at the College of European Political and Governance Studies department and the Development Office. Luciano graduated in Philosophy at La Sapienza Rome (1994), he has a master degree from the College of Europe – Bruges (1997) – European Advanced Studies – Human resources development and a master degree from the ISC – Saint Louis – Brussels (2002) – Interactive Multimedia Project – Cybercommunication. He obtained his PhD from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2004) – Communication Studies. His main research interests are the European Public Sphere and Citizens Participation, Internet Governance and the changes brought by New Digital Media to our societies. @MorgantiL; @BrusselsTalking