The EU must face up to the complexity and controversy around grand challenges and their solutions or risk repeating past mistakes, says Iris Wanzenböck.
In Horizon 2020, EU research and innovation policy moved from targeting industrial and technological goals towards societal challenges. The hope was that research funding could be more relevant and beneficial for society.
These hopes have not been met. The challenges were too vaguely and broadly defined, and there was little systematic linking between high-level goals, funding calls and research projects.