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EU Research Policy

European Research Area (ERA)

  • With the Lisbon treaty coming into effect at the end of 2009, ERA was established as a legal concept. Art. 179 states: "The Union shall have the objective of strengthening its scientific and technological bases by achieving a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely [...]."
  • The European Council of February 2011 has defined the objective to complete ERA until the end of 2014.
  • In July 2012, European Commission published the communication "A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth", outlining five action items crucial for the completion of ERA, amongst them the definition of cornerstones for efficient national research systems and suggestions for a stronger role of EU research funding as blueprint for national funding systems.
  • In summer 2013, a discussion about the necessity of EU legal action for the completion of ERA was started; the discussion is still going on.
  • With the change of the European Commission at the end of 2014, the fokus has shifted from ERA to the new priorities in research policies „open innovation“, „open science“ and „open to the world“.

Additionally, the scientific community in Europe developed several instruments to contribute to ERA. The (now dissolved) Heads of European Research Councils (EUROHORCs) and the European Science Foundation (ESF) have published a so-called "Roadmap to Excellence"; the new organisation Science Europe has continued theses activities. The respective documents describe a number of science-driven projects focusing mainly on the quality of research, independently implemented by the European research and research funding institutions.