chapter  10
27 Pages

Paving Romania’s way towards the European Research Area

ByDALINA DUMITRESCU

The purpose of this chapter is to present the current Romanian research system and to demonstrate the impact of the funding process in the frame of different research programmes for the dynamic of research activity in general and the social sciences in particular. The allocation of financial resources is seen as a key pillar of the strategy of Romanian research activity in catchingup with the best performing systems in Europe. The approach explores the strategy of allocation of financial funds by competition for each research field with special attention to the social sciences. Romania has forged aNational Strategy for Romanian ResearchDevelopment

and Innovation (RDI) system for the period 2007-13. The vision, the aims and the strategic objectives of the RDI system as well as the priorities and the instruments of public investment in research and development are in focus. The packages of different grant-instruments and the philosophy of fund allocation using those instruments by the funding agencies in Romania are presented along with their role in the restructuring process. The main challenges as well as the main trends and issues in the process of the integration of the Romanian research area into the European Research Area (ERA) are under scrutiny. The communist regime in Romania was a totalitarian system from its

establishment until its collapse. It was based on the constant violation of human rights, on the supremacy of the ideology hostile to an open society, on the power monopoly exercised by a group of people, on repression, intimidation and corruption. Throughout the communist regime Romania suffered the consequences of the application in all socio-economic life of the inflexible Leninist dogma: forced industrialisation, based on an old model of growth based on heavy industry as a pivot of economic development; liquidation of private ownership including violent co-operativisation in agriculture; constant and perverse control of the personal and private lives of citizens (the pro-birth policy and individual consumption ‘scientifically’ determined); a complex and developed propaganda mechanism contributed to the creation of a generalised climate of palavering, hypocrisy and duplicity. The dialectical materialism and the scientific socialism were grounds to develop the rest of the social

sciences. Research in the social sciences developed in the universities and research institutes was used as an argumentative weapon in the ideological battle against other ideologies and for the justification of the socio-economic political decisions. The only agenda or strategy in social research was to justify and to demonstrate the superiority of the ‘multilateral developed socialist society’. Imagine, for example, an economy without a capital market and inflation, with fixed prices for years, with all the companies and banks in the property of the state, with decisions about investment and individual needs and consumption completely centralised: that was the research field for social sciences before 1989. Immediately after December 1989 the entire academic and research com-

munity committed itself to the huge effort to rebuild the basic paradigm of social sciences based on market theories and the latest developments in knowledge at the European and global level, in the study and the real implementation of market institutions and basic mechanisms of the transition economy. In the years immediately following 1989, knowledge as a central driver of

competitiveness became a vital source of growth at the global level. Education and research activity in Romania had to adapt to this new situation in order to be able to provide the right answer to the new demands of the Romanian economy and to ensure the country’s integration into the competitive ERA. During the years of transition, annual research plans were used for funding

and guidance for the research needs at a national level. The national plans tried to maintain the functionality of the main research fields and the corresponding institutions. Lack of performance, low international visibility and an almost inexistent integration of Romanian research into the ERAwere the basic drivers for designing a new integrated and performance-oriented national research management system. Thus, starting in 2006, efforts were made to elaborate an integrated national strategy for research, development and innovation as part of broader national strategy. Without a doubt, the financing dimension plays a crucial part in the whole restructuring process from inception to implementation. The national strategy is, in fact, a case study showing how a country from Central and Eastern Europe can commit itself to an accelerated catch-up process in the research area through a national exercise of forecasting and consequent redesign of the vision, mission and objectives of the RDI system.