A recent study points out the importance of standards for research and innovation 


Standards have a fundamental value in supporting and mainstreaming research and innovation. Yet, this value is very often misunderstood or underrated, also by policy makers – with very serious consequences for the ability of innovation ecosystems to scale up. This issue is at the heart of a new study published by Alfred Radauer, Driving from the Fringe into Spotlight: the underrated role of standards and standardization in RTDI policy and evaluation.

The study, which was published in the November 2020 issue of the fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation, tackles this issue through a lot of practice-based analysis and provides a series of recommendations to improve the situation.


In particular, the paper points out that, while attempts are being made to bridge the gap between the two world of standardization and research, it is also clear that more spotlight on the standards topic is needed to reap the potential benefits when innovating and supporting innovation. Based on this, Mr Radauer presents a series of recommendations, both for researchers and policy makers:

  • Researchers and evaluators should seek to address the topic of standardization and standards more pro-actively.
  • There is need for more granular evidence, particularly in fields like open innovation research or technology and knowledge transfer research.
  • The RTDI (Research, Technological Development and Innovation) and standards policy developers and users should more strongly collaborate with each other.
  • There is the need, not only at European, but also at national level, to discuss how standards and standardization can be better integrated in innovation policy/strategy and program designs
  • Standards and contributions to standards should be handled and assessed in appraisals of R&D proposals.
  • There needs to be a clearer understanding of a possible and good role of Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) and hence better integration of these organizations in the RTDI systems, moving them from the fringes of the cast of actors in the innovation systems into appropriately more central places.
  • SDOs and actors of the standardization system must also build capacity for understanding the functioning of RTDI systems and their actors more profoundly. Mutual exchanges, awareness raising and also examining possible good practices are here the starting points.

The CEN and CENELEC community, through its German Member DIN and its Austrian members ASI and OVE, and the BRIDGIT 2 project contributed with first-hand expertise to the realisation of this important study.


Livia MIAN


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