Manchester Business School has secured €600,000 of European Commission funding to investigate the impact of defence and security initiatives on the future shape of European science policy.
The funding will enable the MBS Team – headed up by Andrew James, senior lecturer at the School and defence industry expert – to conduct research on the future relationship between the EU strategy to move towards a single European Research Area and EU policies focused on the security of European citizens in the world.
The project team is led by MBS’ Institute of Innovation Research and includes partners from leading research institutes in Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Hungary.
Mr James has also recently given evidence to the European Parliament on the European Commission’s Draft Directive on Defence Procurement – consolidating his position as a leading authority in this area.
His evidence highlighted the dilemma facing European governments: how to move from protected national markets for defence equipment to a more open European market whilst recognising that the particular characteristics of defence make existing European procurement rules impractical.
Andrew James explains:
“I am delighted to be involved in the debate on this important European Commission initiative. In creating a European defence equipment market we need to move beyond thinking about juste retour – getting back what we put in. Instead, we need to focus on the creation of transparent, open and non-discriminatory procurement processes.
“Emphasis on fair procurement processes should be complementary to the aim of improving the efficiency of the European defence market and it’s the policy approach most likely to create and sustain a strong European Defence Equipment Market.”
His other recommendations called for:
* The opening-up of national defence markets to facilitate more cross-border competition as a critical step towards building a European Defence Equipment Market that is fair and efficient
* Contracts to be awarded to those suppliers providing the highest quality, most innovative and cost effective solutions to military requirements – rather than simply on the basis of nationality
* The creation of an open market that gives access to SMEs and also suppliers from the newer member states
* A greater transparency and consistency in offset practices across Europe including the creation of a Code of Conduct on Offsets under which member states would commit to reporting on their offset practices on a consistent basis
* An awareness that the creation of a more open and efficient defence market will only have the desired impact if it leads to industrial restructuring that reduces duplication and over capacity.
Separately, Mr James has recently completed a study for the European Defence Agency advising them on how to develop tools to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the defence technological and industrial base in Europe.
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