The EUREKA Project. European Research and Technology Policy between Cooperation and Competition (approx. 1980-1992)


Project member: Dr. Annemone Christians (LMU Munich)

A prolonged perception of crisis arose among the member states of the European Economic Community “after the boom” and within the context of the economic crisis from 1979 to the mid-1980s. This included a strong sense of falling technologically behind the traditional powerhouse of the United States, and irrevocably so, as well as the dynamic new challenge posed by Japan. Technology was viewed as a key factor in intensifying global competition. The intergovernmental EUREKA program was thus initiated in the early 1980s to promote cooperation in Europe in terms of research policy and to serve as a network to link and encourage cooperation among companies and research institutes.

This project analyzes the three largest participant countries, France, West Germany, and the United Kingdom: How were which cooperative and competitive structures consolidated and how did they become the leading system of reference for the various economic, scientific, and political actors of the EUREKA projects?

The history of intergovernmental European cooperation, as the precursor to current European research policy, is to be examined as well. Specific fields of investigation here include life science technologies, laser technology, and initial research into self-driving cars. Phenomena involving European technological cooperation and the connected accrual of practical knowledge within competitive political and economic relationships of power are to be analyzed and historicized.

The project, supervised by Andreas Wirsching, is a sub-project of the DFG research group on  “Cooperation and Competition in the Sciences”.

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