The European Commission claims that Horizon 2020 represents a break from previous framework programmes. This paper examines that claim in terms of the public management narratives that underlie the discourses of research policy at the European level. It is argued that the framework programmes go beyond their explicit role as a funding distribution instrument to serve discursive and regulatory functions. Using an analytical framework based on three types of public administration narrative: New Public Management, Network Governance, and Neo-Weberian Bureaucracy, this article examines the ways in which the evaluation and distribution of research funds and the conflicting conceptualizations of the term excellence have moved EU policy towards a New Public Management narrative and a more divided Europe of Knowledge.
Differentiated integration, European research policy, Excellence, Framework programmes, Horizon 2020, New Public Management, Public Administration
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