“Missions” will be introduced as a central new tool in the architecture of FP9, though many think they already exist in prior Framework Programmes. They can provide a new perspective but it is quite an exaggeration to say that “most technologies have emerged from missions”: curiosity-driven research led to many.
Several issues need more elaboration. What share of FP9 should missions get? How will they relate to existing instruments? Since the professed aim is that they should be realistic, what does it mean? Do we have the management tools to pilot? How to go about 10-year planning periods? Can goals really direct research? How can public engagement be organized effectively? Would it not be wiser to experiment with missions, by starting a limited number first, and in a phased approach to learn from them after a few years?