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The European Research Area is composed of all research and development activities, programmes and policies in Europe which involve a transnational perspective. Together, they enable researchers, research institutions and businesses to increasingly circulate, compete and co-operate across borders. The aim is to give them access to a Europe-wide open space for knowledge and technologies in which transnational synergies and complementarities are fully exploited.

ERA consists of activities, programmes and policies which are designed and operated at all levels: regional, national and European.

There are a number of fully integrated European-level structures and programmes: the EU RTD Framework Programmes, including the current Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013), related European agencies and undertakings, as well as a number of intergovernmental infrastructures and research organisations. Some have existed for more than 50 years, such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the research activities of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Many were created in the 1970s and 1980s, such as the European Space Agency (ESA) and the first Framework Programmes. But there are also important new organisations which are changing the ERA ‘landscape’: notably, the European Research Council, the Joint Technology Initiatives and the European Institute for Innovation and Technology.

Some public policies which have an important impact on research are defined at the European level. This is notably the case for state aid and competition law, as well as for many relevant internal market rules. The EU also develops and promotes voluntary guidelines and recommendations which serve as common European references. Examples can be found in areas such as researchers' careers and mobilityknowledge transfer and co-operation between public research and industry. The EU also fosters a broad-based approach to innovation. With the launch of the Europe 2020 strategy  and the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative a strategic approach to innovation is now on the European agenda.

While most research activities, programmes and policies take place at regional and national levels, no single country offers sufficient resources to be competitive on the world scale. To strenghten ERA , such activities and policies should be increasingly designed and operated from a transnational perspective, including, where relevant, cross-border co-operation. But this does not mean that they should be centralised in Brussels.Transnational co-operation helps make the most efficient and effective use of national and regional resources.

(πηγή: European Commission)

ERA IN THE KNOWLEDGE TRIANGLE

Research, education and innovation are three central and strongly interdependent drivers of the knowledge-based society. Together they are referred to as the “knowledge triangle”. To realise ERA, research needs to develop strong links with education and innovation.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) can be seen as a flagship project for the links between education, research and innovation, as the three activities are integrated in its design. But many other examples illustrate how the ERA project is closely linked to innovation and education.

A borderless ERA is for Europe to be an innovation leader

The rise of "open innovation" reflects the reality that companies can less and less afford to run a closed R&D shop. Companies have to tap into the knowledge developed by universities and public research centres. They also often need to cooperate with other companies, including their competitors. In order to find the best knowledge and the best partners, companies need to look across national borders.

The initiatives taken to develop the ERA aim to facilitate these exchanges across borders. A central objective of ERA is to establish the “fifth freedom”: the freedom of movement of knowledge.

Some initiatives are developing a common understanding between various actors of research and innovation (large firms, SMEs, universities, public research centres, etc.) to help them to cooperate across the EU. For example the initiative on knowledge transfer and intellectual property, or the European Technology Platforms which bring actors from all over Europe together in specific technology areas.

Transnational research cooperation is also supported by funding programmes, notably the Framework Programmes of the EU. They support a large number of transnational research projects, but also large-scale initiatives which pool resources across Europe and beyond around common goals. For instance, the Joint Technology Initiatives combine private and public funding and bring together a critical mass of researchers from companies and universities, to address complex technological challenges like designing aircraft with low CO² emissions or developing innovative medicines. With SMEs as its main target and complementary with the Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) supports innovation activities (including eco-innovation), provides better access to finance and delivers business support services in the regions.

The European Research Area needs a European Higher Education Area – and vice versa

The central role of universities to provide human resources for research and innovation is obvious. Reciprocally, universities need close connections with cutting-edge research in order to provide high quality education. The close interaction between research and training activities in universities is what gives them their unique and crucial role in the knowledge society.

This is why it is so important for Europe to have modern, excellent universities. In most countries, there is still a need to improve management and organisation of universities and to give them more autonomy and accountability. This will allow universities to develop their own strategies, to position themselves at European and international levels and to better link their activities with the needs of society and industry. In some cases, some concentration and specialisation will be necessary to create European centres of excellence competitive on the global scale. The mobility of graduate students and researchers is of course the necessary complement of such evolution.

(πηγή: European Commission)

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WHY DO WE NEED ERA?

The development of ERA is needed to overcome the fragmentation of research in Europe along national and institutional barriers. Fragmentation prevents Europe from fulfilling its research and innovation potential, at a huge cost to Europeans as taxpayers, consumers, and citizens.

In particular:

  • Researchers still see their career opportunities reduced by legal and practical barriers, which limit their possibilities to move between institutions, sectors and countries.
  • Businesses often find it difficult to cooperate and enter into partnerships with research institutions in Europe, particularly across boarders.
  • National and regional research funding remains largely uncoordinated. This leads to a dispersion of resources, excessive duplications, and more generally a poor use of the resources that we collectively devote to research and innovation in Europe.
  • Research system reforms undertaken at national level often lack a true European perspective and transnational coherence.
  • On the world scene, there is almost no coordination of international S&T strategies and activities between the Member States and between them and these of the EU. As a result, Europe fails to take the leading role that it could have, notably to respond to major global challenges.

For these reasons, developing ERA is very important for Europe's future prosperity. It is also urgent. The globalisation of research and technology is accelerating and new scientific and technological powers attract considerable amounts of R&D investments, notably China, India and other emerging economies. This can be a positive evolution, bringing new opportunities for Europe and the world. At the same time, this is a challenge: can Europe maintain and further develop its competitive advantage in knowledge and innovation? For this we need ERA, quickly.

(πηγή: European Commission)

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WHO IS ERA FOR?

Quite simply: ERA is for you!

Are you a researcher or do you work the Science and Technology? Read how the development of ERA can help to improve your career conditions and opportunities across Europe and build the research infrastructures that you need.

Do you work for a university or research institution? Read how ERA initiatives can strengthen universities and research-performing organizations, in addition to bringing benefits to your researchers.

Do you work for a business? Read how ERA can smooth knowledge transfer and cooperation with "open access" and better management of intellectual property across borders.

Are you from a national or regional administration? Read how the Ljubljana Process is putting into place a partnership to research policy associating public authorities from all levels around a shared vision for the development of ERA.

Are you a European citizen? Read how the Joint Programming initiative is bringing together the national resources from across Europe to address more effectively some of the great challenges facing our society, such as climate change and old-age diseases. And read how Science in Society (FP7) is stimulating a harmonious integration of scientific and technological endeavour and associated research policies in European society.

Are you from another part of the world? Read throughout the site how ERA is shaping as one of the world's most attractive places to do research and to innovate, but also how it is developing strong links with partners across the world.

(πηγή: European Commission)

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AREAS OF ACTION

European Partnership for Researchers – better careers and more mobility

The European Partnership for Researchers (EPR) aims at improving career prospects for researchers in Europe, stimulating young people to embark on research careers and helping to retain European talent and attracting researchers from other world regions. The Partnership facilitates mobility between countries, academia and industry.

Improving the career prospects and mobility enhances the diffusion of knowledge (fifth Freedom) throughout Europe, balances demand and supply for researchers at European level, helps to create centers of excellence and improves the skills of researchers in Europe. The EPR is one of the five ERA initiatives  to help creating the European Research Area.

The EPR aims to accelerate progress in four key areas:

  • Open recruitment and portability of grants;     
  • Meeting the social security and supplementary pension needs of mobile researchers;
  • providing attractive employment and working conditions;
  • enhancing the training, skills and experience of researchers.

Social security and pensions of researchers:

A pan-European Pension Fund for Researchers

Researchers increasingly rely on supplementary pension schemes to provide for their retirement but are often confronted with unfavourable conditions for acquisition, preservation and transfer of these rights when they undertake mobility. However, according to the results of a feasibility study, it is now possible to set up a pan-European pension fund for researchers that could provide a possible practical solution to overcome one of the barriers to the mobility of researchers.

  • Executive Summary of feasibility study 
  • Full report of feasibility study 

An Expert Group on "Social Security, supplementary pensions and new patterns of mobility" has delivered a report on the social security and pensions of internationally mobile researchers. The report proposes concrete recommendations to remove the obstacles linked to researchers' social security protection.

Actions

The EPR is being implemented by the Member States and Associated Countries together with stakeholders. The EPR is promoted and monitored by the ERA Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility which gathers representatives of all EU Member States and associated countries as well as the European Commission. In this frame, participating countries are developing national action plans and discussing possible EU-level actions with the European Commission.

The Commission has also launched concrete initiatives, such as dedicated information services for researchers, in particular through the activities regrouped under the name of EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion.

EURAXESS is the gateway to attractive research careers in Europe and to a pool of world-class research talents. It encompasses four main activities:

  • EURAXESS Jobs: a portal providing access to the research job market;
  • EURAXESS Services: a network of 200 centres located in 37 countries providing researchers and their families with access to services for daily matters;
  • EURAXESS Rights: a set of principles and a strategy about rights and obligations in the research profession;
  • EURAXESS Links: links for European researchers abroad.

EURAXESS and other initiatives implementing the Partnership are funded by the People Specific Programme of the 7th Research Framework Programme.
The EPR was proposed by the Commission in the May 2008 in the Communication Better careers and more mobility: A European Partnership for Researchers and endorsed by Council Conclusions in September 2009. Further impetus was provided by the Report of Ministers Gago (Portugal) and Biltgen (Luxembourg) endorsed by the Council in March 2009.

The mobility of researchers constitutes a crucial element in the realisation of the European Research Area. The attraction and retention of talented researchers in Europe is strongly linked to the overall employment conditions and to the removal of obstacles to researchers' mobility, notably related to pension entitlements.

DG Research and Innovation is taking a practical step toward helping employers to have a full understanding of the possible terms and conditions for setting up a cross-border pension fund.

Information workshops are organised in 2011 for interested organisations employing researchers, with the aim of allowing them to make an informed decision about whether to join a pan-European pension fund and under what conditions. The first workshop was held on 4 April providing information about the possibilities. The presentations can be found in the right column of this page.

(πηγή: European Commission)

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Universities

The EU/Commission is developing policy actions and funding schemes that aim at supporting both individual researchers and students and universities as research institutions. This includes measures regarding for example mobility, attractiveness of careers or a single labour market for researchers in Europe.

State of play

In September 2011, the Commission adopted a new Communication: EU strategy for modernising higher education.

The European Commission identified nine key challenges for higher education modernisation in its 2006 Communication Delivering on the Modernisation Agenda for Universities: Education, Research and Innovation. ce this necessary restructuring and modernisation requires coordinated action from all parties involved.

To this end, the Directorate-Generals for Education and Culture (EAC), and Research and Innovation are managing a number of important projects:  

Mutual learning on national reforms to improve research performance of universities

  • In the context of the application of the Open Method of Coordination to research policy, undertaken by CREST, Member States have reviewed national policies and measures and identified approaches and good practices to improve the excellence of research in universities. A report entitled Mutual learning on approaches to improve the excellence of research in universities  was published in March 2009.
  • To reinforce the mutual learning dimension, a series of "Peer Learning" activities are scheduled in 2010 focused on concrete issues such as mergers of universities and research institutions, world-class excellence in university research, capacity building, and institutional ways for achieving research excellence.

Common principles for responsible external research funding

  • An independent expert group on 'impact of external research funding on financial management in Universities, set up by the Research and Innovation DG, delivered a final report  in November 2008. The report contains a set of recommendations calling for consistent funding conditions for research institutions within ERA as well as financial modernisation of European Universities.
  • The development of an effective financial management capacity is key for European universities and other research institutions to diversify their sources of funding and sustain their research portfolios. Being able to more precisely identify the true costs of their research activities ("full costing") is crucial for the strategic behaviour, autonomy, accountability and transparency expected from research institutions. The transition towards full costing remains relatively slow and piecemeal, in particular in universities.
  • In order to facilitate a progressive alignment of the terms and conditions of external research funding, research funders and research institutions - through their European umbrella organisations - agreed during the 2009 Brussels ERA Conference on the need to work together to define and promote common principles for responsible external research funding within the ERA. Stakeholders explicitly asked the Commission to support the process. The Commission supports the setting up of a stakeholders' platform in 2010.

Assessment of university-based research

  • An ERA expert group was set up by the Research and Innovation DG to identify and define possible measures and actions regarding the strengthening of research institutions with a focus on university-based research. A final reportwas published in 2008.
  • An independent expert group was established in 2008 by the Research and Innovation DG to identify the parameters to be observed in research assessment as well as analyse major assessment and ranking systems with a view to proposing a more valid comprehensive methodological approach. The overall objective was to promote and contribute to the development of multidimensional methodologies designed to facilitate the assessment of university-based research. A final report( was published in November 2009.
  • The Education and Culture DG launched a study in 2009 to design and test the feasibility of a Multi-dimensional Global University Ranking. A final report is expected in mid-2011.

Towards a European University Register

  • The Research and Innovation DG launched a feasibility study in 2009 to create a European University Data Collection. This project (known as EUMIDA) aims to build a complete census of European universities and includes a pilot data collection with particular emphasis on those universities that are research-active. The final report  and annexeswere published in December 2010.
  • The dataset from the EUMIDA study can now be downloaded as an excel workbook. It contains data for each university such as the number of students, graduates, PhDs, international students, staff as well as information on the fields of education offered and whether or not the university is 'research-active'.
    Annex 6 - notes on statistical validity .

(πηγή: European Commission)

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Research Performing Organisations 

Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) are non-profit organisations that are not part of a university. They are key players in the national and/or the regional innovation systems and in the European Research Area (ERA), complementing the roles of universities and industries, and often playing an important economic role regionally. They include large national organisations such as TNO (NL), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (DE), INRA (FR), CSIC (ES) and the Hungarian Academy of Science (HU), but also excellent intergovernmental research organisations with unique research infrastructures such as CERN, EMBL, ESO, ESA, ILL and ESRF as well as a large number of smaller and medium sized entities.

RPOs can have very different legal forms: state agency, foundation, NGO or even an incorporated company or part of a ministry. Their size varies, they can include various numbers of institutes, can be public, private or a mixture of both; their common characteristic is that they are non-profit organisations and perform research in one or in a multitude of domains.

Most RPOs have a mission beyond the performance of basic research. Some RPOs were founded early in the 20th century, or even before, when there was a massive expansion of public sector research establishments. The first large intergovernmental European research organisation was CERN, founded in 1953.

What is the role of RPOs?

RPOs are among the main players in the development and consolidation of the ERA, and strongly contribute to innovation. The activities of RPOs range from basic and applied research to translation of research into solutions to meet business or societal needs. A number of them, notably the renowned intergovernmental organisations (e.g. CERN, EMBL, ESO, ESA, ILL and ESRF), make their research infrastructures available to researchers from all over Europe or even worldwide.
RPOs train Ph.D. candidates and young researchers, but, unlike universities, teaching and awarding degrees is not their core activity (with a few exceptions). Often RPOs have longer-term and larger projects or programmes than universities, operate in a multi-discipline environment on complex research issues, and many of them have a business-like internal management.

It is estimated that of the public funds allocated to research organisations approximately 40% of them go to RPOs and 60% go to universities.

From the above it can be seen that RPOs, both those embedded in their national systems and the intergovernmental research organisations, play an important and substantial role in the ERA. For this reason, the European Commission has engaged in a structured dialogue and cooperation with some intergovernmental RPOs and it is further developing its actions to consolidate (or strengthen the role of?) RPOs in the ERA.

How are RPOs collectively organised?

Seven intergovernmental research organisations are associated in EIROforum. RPOs are also largely present as members of associations such as EARTO, EuroHORCs, ESF and, in a lesser measure, TAFTIE, ALLEA and EASAC.

(πηγή: European Commission)

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JOINT PROGRAMMING

Research efforts can be essential to address major societal challenges. In some cases these are so great that national research programmes cannot tackle them effectively on their own. Yet, the vast bulk of research programmes in Europe are run in an isolated way, leading to unwanted fragmentation or ineffectiveness. Joint programming aims to remedy this situation.
European national research programmes are amongst the first and best in the world, but they cannot tackle some of today's major societal challenges alone. Such challenges include, for example, addressing climate change, ensuring energy and food supply or a healthy ageing of citizens.

The following Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) have been identified to date (please see Timetable below for more details):

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases/Alzheimer's - website
  • Agriculture, food security and climate change - website
  • A healthy diet for a healthy life - website
  • Cultural heritage & global change - website
  • Urban Europe - website
  • CliK'EU - website
  • More years, better lives - website
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Water challenges
  • Healthy & productive seas and oceans - website

Background

The European Council of March 2008 called on the Commission and Member States to explore the potential of Joint Programming, asking for joint activities to be launched by 2010.
The Commission made proposals to launch such a process in July 2008 in a Communication entitled Towards Joint Programming in Research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively. These proposals were based notably on the results of the public consultation following the Commission Green Paper of April 2007 and on the work of a dedicated expert group mandated by the Commission.
The Council of Ministers endorsed these proposals and agreed to launch the process in December 2008.
In March 2010, the European Commission launched its initiative Europe 2020 – A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and Europe 2020 paper. As part of the Flagship Initiative: "Innovation Union" the Commission will work towards completing the European Research Area, including seeking to enhance joint programming with Member States and regions.

What is Joint Programming?

The overall aim of Joint Programming is to pool national research efforts in order to make better use of Europe's precious public R&D resources and to tackle common European challenges more effectively in a few key areas.
It will follow a structured strategic process whereby Member States agree common visions and strategic research agendas to address major societal challenges.

Timetable

  • November 2010: The Council welcomes the Biennial Report on the process of the high-level group on Joint Programming (the GPC) and the Guidelines for Framework Conditions on Joint Programming that the GPC has developed with other ERA stakeholders.
  • October 2010: Council adopts the launching of three new JPIs on:
    • Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change
    • A Healthy diet for a Healthy life; and
    • Cultural Heritage and Global  change.
  • May 2010: The council identified six more themes for which the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, will provide proposals for Council consideration as of 2011:
    • The microbial challenge - An emerging threat to human health
    • Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe (Clik'EU)
    • More Years, Better Lives - The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change
    • Urban Europe - Global Challenges, Local Solutions
    • Water Challenges for a Changing World
    • Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans.
  • April 2010: The Commission adopted Recommendations to launch the new JPIs on Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change, Cultural Heritage and Global Change, A healthy diet for a healthy life:
    • Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change
    • Cultural Heritage and Global Change
    • A healthy diet for a healthy life
  • 3rd December 2009: Areas for Joint Programming are identified by the GPC and selected by the Council.
  • 22nd July 2009: The Commission adopted a Proposal for a Council Recommendation on launching a Joint Programming initiative on Neurodegenerative Diseases (including Alzheimer). Implementation, in a variable geometry mode, should follow adoption by the Council – foreseen on 3rd December 2009.
  • 16th January 2009: CREST adopted the structure for The High Level Group that will identify areas for Joint Programming (the Groupe de Progammation Conjointe or GPC). The first meeting took place in Brussels on 13 February 2009.
  • 2nd December 2008: The Council adopted conclusions, defining the way forward.
  • 26th September 2008: The Commission invited the Council to endorse this Communication.
  • 15th July 2008: Adoption of the Communication Towards Joint Programming in research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively. 

How does it work?

Joint Programming is a new process combining a strategic framework, a bottom-up approach and high-level commitment from Member States. It builds on the experience gained from existing schemes coordinating national programmes.
Suitable Joint Programming areas are identified by a High Level Group on Joint Programming (GPC from the French "Groupe de Programmation Conjointe") consisting of nominees from Member States and the Commission, following a thorough consultation of stakeholders.
Based on the result of the GPC, the Council, upon a proposal by the Commission, recommends a limited number of areas in which to implement Joint Programming in priority.
From there on, participation of Member States in each initiative is "à la carte", based on voluntary commitments leading to partnerships composed of variable groups of countries. For each initiative, participating countries will start with:

  • Developing a shared vision for the area;
  • Defining a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and SMART objectives (Specific,
    Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound); and
  • Preparing for implementation of the SRA by analysing the options, assessing expected impacts and defining the best mix of instruments to be used.

The Commission facilitates the identification process and, if they so wish support Member States for Joint Programming as necessary.
On 3rd December 2009 the Council of Ministers adopted a pilot Joint Programming Initiative . In these same Conclusions, the Council asked the Commission to develop proposals in three new areas identified by the GPC.
In April 2010 the Commission responded to the above demand putting forward Commission recommendations inviting Member States to launch Joint Programming Initiatives in these three areas, accompanying each of them with full States of Play for research in Europe in these areas:

  • Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change
  • Cultural Heritage and Global Change: a new challenge for Europe
  • A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life.

The Commission will facilitate these efforts by:

  • Financing support actions to their management
  • Launching possible complementary measures to actions undertaken jointly by participating countries as identified in each JPI Strategic Research Agenda
  • Linking the JPIs to international actions and bodies where the Commission represents the EU
  • Reporting on the JPI progress to the Council and informing the European Parliament.

During 2010 the Council launched officially the three above-mentioned JPIs and asked the Commission to consider possible JPIs in six new areas.   
At the end of 2010, the GPC produced a report on the first two years of the Joint Programming process and adopted Guidelines on for Framework Conditions on Joint Programming. The Guidelines should facilitate the implementation of JPIs by providing advice on administrative, normative and regulatory factors considered essential for the effective implementation of Joint Programming in Research such as:

  • Peer Review Procedures
  • Foresight Activities
  • Evaluation of Joint Programmes
  • Funding of Cross-border Research by National or Regional Authorities
  • Optimum Dissemination and Use of Research Findings
  • Protection, Management and Sharing of Intellectual Property Rights.

More information and key documents

(πηγή: European Commission)

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RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURES

Excellent research needs a range of high-quality research infrastructures (radiation sources, data banks for genomics and social sciences, observatories for environmental sciences, systems of imaging, and clean rooms for nanotechnologies). Pan-European infrastructures can provide research services to the whole European research community. They are a key component of Europe's competitiveness in both basic and applied research.

Developing world-class research infrastructures is essential to the reinforcement of ERA. The main challenges that need to be addressed are the following:

  • to overcome fragmentation and prioritise effectively at EU level
  • to improve efficiency of management, services and access
  • to cope with the increasing cost and complexity
  • to further develop and better exploit the potential of e-infrastructures

A report of the ERA expert group on research infrastructures, Developing World-class Research Infrastructures for the European Research Area , emphasized the need for a strategic coordination mechanism at EU level involving all relevant stakeholders and recommended to create a European legal framework for the management of new Research Infrastructures (RIs).

Building on the work of this first expert group, a second ERA expert group reviewed and re-examined the role of research infrastructures within the ERA. The experts drew up a vision for 2020 on the status, role and scientific impact of research infrastructures in relation to the evolution of the ERA: A vision for strengthening world-class research infrastructures in the ERA

Implementing the European Research Infrastructures Roadmap

Europe has taken a major step forward in the development of a more coordinated approach to policy-making in the field of RIs with the establishment of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG). ESFRI released the first ever European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures in 2006 containing a list of 35 new RIs or major upgrade of existing ones. This list has been updated in December 2008 with the identification of a set of ten additional RIs to be developed by 2015-20 mainly in the fields of environment, biology and energy.

The implementation of the roadmaps started in 2007 with funding within FP7 of the preparatory phase of 34 projects which aims to the finalisation of the legal organisation, the management and multiannual financial planning.

A first report on the implementation of the ESFRI Roadmap was published in January 2010.

Creating an appropriate Community legal framework - ERIC

An efficient legal framework for the setting-up of large research infrastructures in Europe has entered into force on August 28th 2009. The Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), adopted by the Council in June 2009, is an easy-to-use legal instrument providing:

  • the spirit of a truly European venture
  • legal personality recognized in all EU Member States
  • flexibility to adapt to the specific requirements of each infrastructure
  • some privileges / exemptions allowed for intergovernmental organisations
  • a faster and more cost efficient process than creating an international organisation

An ERIC can benefit from exemptions from VAT and excise duty in all EU Member States and it may adopt its own procurement procedures.

Members will be (Member or Associated) States and intergovernmental organisations.

Member States wishing to set up an ERIC send a request to the European Commission, which will decide on it with the help of a Committee of representatives of the Member States.

 

(πηγή: European Commission)

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KNOWLEDGE SHARING

To become an increasingly competitive knowledge-based economy, Europe must not only improve the production of knowledge, but also its dissemination and exploitation. All research builds on former work, and depends on scientists’ possibilities to access and share information. The digital age represents a great opportunity for the dissemination of research results. To ensure exploitation, effective knowledge transfer between those who do research, particularly universities and public research organisations (PROs), and those who transform it into products and services, namely the industry/SMEs is essential.

Optimal circulation, access to and transfer of scientific knowledge

When scientists, research institutions, businesses and citizens have the opportunity to access, share, discuss and use existing scientific knowledge the innovation system as a whole benefits.

The ERA Communication adopted in 2012 COM(2012)392 focuses on the following issues:

  • Implementing Open Access (OA) i.e. free internet access to and use of publicly-funded scientific publications and, as far as feasible, research data
  • Fostering Open Innovation and knowledge transfer between public research institutions and the private sector (while respecting intellectual property rights)
  • Strengthening the knowledge triangle between research, business and education as via the European Institute of Technology
  • Removing all barriers which prevent seamless access to online research services and e-infrastructures ("digital ERA")
  • Factoring in these issues in research cooperation with non-EU countries

Open access

Open access refers to the practice of granting free access to research outputs over the Internet, mostly peer-reviewed publications and research data. Open access is one way to tap into the enormous potential of public investment to boost productivity, competiveness and growth, the main goal of the EU 2020 strategy. OA will also increase openness and transparency and thereby contribute to better policy making and ultimately benefit society and citizens.

The following open access measures are included in the ERA as part of the activities on optimal circulation and transfer of scientific knowledge:

  • Member States are invited to define and coordinate their policies on access to and preservation of scientific information. A separate Recommendation ( provides detailed proposed activities to the Member States
  • Research Stakeholder Organisations are invited to adopt and implement open access measures for publications and data resulting from publicly funded research
  • The Commission will establish open access to scientific publications as a general principle for all EU funded projects in Horizon 2020. For research data the Commission will adopt a flexible approach that takes into account different scientific areas and business related interests
  • The Commission will also continue to fund projects related to open access (through FP7 and Horizon 2020)
  • The commission has adopted a Communication setting out its approach and a Recommendation to Member States on access to and preservation of scientific information in the digital age 
  • The Commission will support activities to raise stakeholder awareness on OA

More information about the European Commission's open access policies and activities, as well as background material is available at http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/open_access/

Intellectual property and knowledge transfer

Proper management of intellectual property is critical to ensure that both parties get the most out of any knowledge transfer activity. Following the Publication of the ERA Green Paper in April 2007, a Communication titled Improving knowledge transfer between research institutions and industry across Europe including voluntary guidelines for universities and other research institutions to improve their links with industry across Europe was issued.

The Communication on knowledge transfer was followed up with a Commission Recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer activities (the Recommendation) and the Code of Practice for universities and public research organizations (PROs) (the Code of Practice), which were adopted in April 2008.

The Recommendation and the Code of Practice offer a coherent framework for the management of IP in agreement between PROs (Research Performing Organisations) and the private sector, in order to promote knowledge transfer at national, European and international levels. It comprises a set of key policy recommendations to Member States, a Code of Practice for PROs, and an annex containing examples of good practice from several Member States.

 

(πηγή: European Commission)

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INVESTING IN RESEARCH – THE 3 % OBJECTIVE

In March 2010, the European Council agreed on the main elements of the EU's new strategy for growth and jobs, and set five headline targets which would serve to guide the implementation and monitoring of actions at EU and national levels. One of these targets is to improve the conditions for research and development and to bring combined public and private R&D investment levels to 3% of EU GDP.

The objective of raising the EU's overall R&D investment to approach 3% of GDP was originally set by the Barcelona European Council in 2002. In the revision of the Lisbon Strategy in 2005 it was retained as one of only two quantitative targets.

The 3% target was not met by 2010 in spite of a substantial increase of the overall EU R&D expenditure (+25% in real terms from 2000 to 2008) and progress achieved in a majority of Member States. While the overall EU R&D intensity remained below 2%, the target and the associated 3% action plan have had a strong influence on raising the profile and importance of research and research policy throughout the EU, paving the way for a positive trend during the period 2005-2008.

Recognising that Europe's future growth relies to a large extent on research and innovation, the European Council reaffirmed in March 2010 that the overall R&D investment level should be increased to 3% of EU GDP as part of improving the conditions for research and development. Building on its proposal to launch a "Innovation Union" flagship initiative, the Commission engaged in the development of a Research and Innovation Plan to re-focus R&D and innovation policy on the major societal challenges, strengthen the knowledge-based and research capacity across Europe and achieve a single market for knowledge and innovation.

At the March 2010 European Council, EU leaders also agreed that an indicator should be produced to complement the Europe 2020 target of investing 3% of GDP in R&D. Related to this the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science appointed a High-Level Panel on the Measurement of Innovation to advise the European Commission. On the basis of the options proposed by the High-Level Panel, the European Commission proposed in its Innovation Union communication (page 30)  the development of an indicator measuring the share of fast-growing innovative companies in the economy.

(πηγή: European Commission)

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THEMATIC PRIORITIES

The development of ERA aims to improve research in all fields. However, some initiatives focus on specific areas of research, where special efforts are needed to address major challenges. They include Joint Programming, the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs), the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) and the 3 public-private partnerships for green cars, energy-efficient buildings and factories of the future, which were launched in 2009 as part of the European Recovery Plan.

(πηγή: European Commission)

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