A new ERA for research and innovation
Launched in 2000 by Commissioner Busquin, the European Research Area (ERA) sets out to better organise research in Europe and to address the fragmentation of national research systems and the lack of policy coordination between Member States and the EU.
Building on almost 20 years of work of the ERA, the European Council asked the Commission to relaunch the ERA in 2020 with updated policy priorities, governance and monitoring at national and EU level.
ERRIN welcomes the European Commission communication A new ERA for Research and Innovation, where multi-level governance and a systemic approach are key components in creating research, innovation, and knowledge that will provide solutions for the environmental, social, and economic transformations needed to tackle our societal challenges. To do so, the innovation dimension needs to be further embedded in the ERA.
Read our recommendations in full below.
ERRIN's recommendations on the future of the European Research Area
ERA governance taking shape
In February 2021, the European Commission launched the ERA Forum for Transition to prepare the governance framework of the new ERA together with Member States. Tied to the Forum is an informal expert group, which will provide recommendations on the ERA governance framework, develop the first ERA policy agenda and provide input on a new annual ERA scoreboard to monitor progress.
As a first action, the Forum adopted a Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe with the objective to reinforce the commitment to shared policies and principles as well as making the ERA governance process more effective and impactful. The Pact sets the direction for national and EU research and innovation policy for the next decade.
ERRIN has taken an active role in the Stakeholder Group of the ERA Forum for Transition. In this context, we highlight three key principles that would strengthen and make the ERA more impactful: broadening the scope by explicitly including innovation; integrating a place-based research and innovation ecosystem approach; and applying a truly multi-level governance model where the regional and local levels are included. Learn more in this input paper from May 2021.
ERA Policy Priorities
During the first part of 2022, all proposed ERA policy actions have been discussed. Stakeholders have also been invited to commit to the ERA policy actions alongside the member states. ERRIN has initially committed to the policy actions 10, 11, 15 and 16 – following the network priorities. Four other interesting ERA policy actions - 8, 12, 14 and 20 - have also been identified.
ERRIN has been particularly interested in policy action 15 and a pilot project dedicated to the ERA Hubs concept and rollout. Together with the Committee of the Regions, we are calling for a working group to further elaborate the ERA Hubs concept. The ERA Hub proposal provides an opportunity to bring the ecosystem perspective to the ERA to map existing initiatives, structures and networks; create a better understanding of the local and regional research and innovation ecosystems; and identify gaps and areas where further support should be provided to ecosystems. Read our input paper on the ERA Hubs roll-out from October 2021.
ERA Policy Agenda 2022-2024
In late 2021, the Council of the EU adopted a set of conclusions regarding the overhaul of the ERA in the coming years. The Council Conclusions highlight several priority goals, in addition to developing the new governance model, in the new ERA:
- Better link research and innovation with relevant policy areas
- Co-create and jointly implement a new ERA
- Continued openness to international collaboration
- Closer research and innovation coordination.
These and other specific ERA actions, such as the conceptualisation, piloting and launch of ERA Hubs, defined by the Council are included in the ERA Policy Agenda for 2022-2024, available here.