Guide for the SRIA Development Process

How to design the key elements of the SRIA development process?

The development of a SRIA is an iterative process, where each step and each phase should be considered interlinked with the preceding and subsequent steps and phases. While SRIA development processes are different depending on the orientation of the partnership, the experiences of Joint Programming Initiatives under Horizon 2020 have shown that SRIA development processes are major activities which need proper planning. The design and implementation of an open, inclusive SRIA development process typically takes altogether about a year to ensure commitment and buy-in of policymakers, the R&I and broader stakeholder community.

Reflecting the principles of openness and inclusiveness in R&I agenda-setting, SRIA development should be a process where a broad set of stakeholders are involved early on in a participatory and co-creative manner. Views and opinions from relevant stakeholders such as member states, partners, R&I actors and communities must be collected and appropriately fed into the SRIA. A SRIA development process that is designed to be open and participatory, using methods that emphasize co-creation and collaboration, can better respond to the needs of stakeholders, and ensure higher commitment and buy-in from the relevant policymakers and stakeholder communities.

Each SRIA development process must be designed to fit its relevant R&I and stakeholder contexts, therefore, there is no universally ‘right’ or ‘typical’ SRIA process applicable to all partnerships. While we cannot provide a blueprint or a step-by-step guide for the design of the SRIA process, some elements are necessary in all SRIA processes:

Establishment of a core team in charge of the SRIA process

A temporary task force or working group composed of key members of the Governing Board and/or the Secretariat can facilitate an effective and efficient SRIA development process. Such a core team could be in charge of steering the SRIA process, including process design and implementation, defining the methodology and timeframe as well as tasked with drafting and elaborating the SRIA document. During the SRIA process, the team may also serve as a temporary decision-making body regarding SRIA development in close consultation with the established management and decision-making structures.

Contextualization of the partnership

The contextualization of a partnership is an important element in the SRIA development process, where the analysis of R&I trends and drivers, gaps and opportunities, national and European policy goals, and complementary activities and initiatives typically lay the framework for the partnership’s expected R&I contribution as well as prepare for the definition of its priority areas, needss and rationale for coordinated action among members. Such an analysis provides data for further SRIA development and reflects the principle of evidence-based agenda setting. Methods such as document review, expert interviews, and consultations with scientific experts and stakeholders may be used for such purposes.

While a partnership’s vision and mission statements are essential elements of a SRIA, the development of the vision and mission is typically not part of the SRIA process, however, established networks have sometimes combined the process of updating existing vision and SRIA documents.

Identification and elaboration of R&I priority areas for coordinated action

In essence, this phase includes the core activities of a SRIA process, where the partnership identifies and defines its R&I agenda in a process that closely involves a broad range of stakeholders from inside and outside the partnership. As SRIA development is iterative, multiple consultation rounds with different stakeholders and multiple draft SRIAs are likely necessary for the elaboration and refining of the central elements of the SRIA. SRIA development processes are flexible and methods used to engage stakeholders should be tailored to a partnership’s R&I topics and stakeholder community. Generally, it is expected that this phase of the process takes longest, considering the implementation of stakeholder involvement activities (scientific, policy, national/regional, European).

Validation and adoption of the SRIA

The SRIA, as a key strategy document of a partnership for decision-making, must be formally approved and adopted by a partnership’s management body. It may also involve additional internal and/or external feedback and consultations for broader validation and finalization.
For European Partnerships, the SRIA must be agreed with the Commission prior to the launch of the initative.

Once the SRIA is adopted, large launch and publication events involving the broad stakeholder community may be used to publicize the document and further consolidate buy-in and commitment from stakeholders.

Examples of SRIA process design: