For the last couple of decades there has been much debate on ‘knowledge economies’ and ‘in-formation society’. The societal relevance of knowledge has been a focal point, both in terms of economic growth and in meeting the challenges of today’s societies. It has been discussed widely in which ways the use of science to accommodate the economic and social needs of society af-fects the notion of science. In December 2013 the newest European Framework Programme for research and innovation; HORIZON 2020 was introduced. It is the 8'th European Framework Programme in the area of research, development and innovation fundings, and represents a development within the Framework Programmes; from being strictly funding programmes to being research policies, in-corporating political objectives. In this programme, the concept of Societal Challenges was intro-duced, and it is meant to direct research fundings towards meeting the needs of society. The thesis is concerned with understanding the concept of Societal Challenges and the precon-ceptions on which it rests. This is done on two levels. First, through an examination of the politi-cal articulation of the concept, and its relation to the development of European cooperation in the field of research. Furthermore, by uncovering the reasons for funding research at a European lev-el and understanding the underlying notion of science linked to the concept Societal Challenges. The main conclusions are that the concept Societal Challenges is used to denote the political ob-jectives of the EU, in order for the EU to direct research funding and governmental intervention of the Member States towards the predefined areas marked by the Societal Challenges. Further-more, that research funding is perceived as an overhead charge on application, and the underlying conception of science is directly linked to its instrumental value. Meanwhile that by performing research in the context of its application, it will reach results faster and hereby be able to have short-termed impact on society
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