Setting the horizon for a stronger and renewed ERA: EU-LIFE recommendations
As a long-standing and strong supporter of the European Research Area (ERA) and an active stakeholder supporting its policy and implementation EU-LIFE welcomes publicly the initiative to re-think and re-design the ERA and presents its views on the key aspects for its future.
Regarding ERA strategy,
- EU-LIFE welcomes the initiative to re-design the ERA narrative and in particular, the clear reinforcement that knowledge is at the centre of ERA. Innovation is about delivering solutions based on new knowledge. We strongly support the notion that directionality is important but focus on the research ecosystem is the critical basis. In other words, to achieve innovation and effectively address global challenges, we need the right ecosystem in place. ERA should be about developing and nurturing this rich ecosystem.
Member States’, European and institutional levels are all crucial
- It is, however, essential to strike the right balance between strengthening the ERA at the Member States (MS) level and at the European level. Leaving knowledge and research solely at the national level is a dangerous strategy that does not serve the needs of the citizens and should not be pursued.
- Therefore, leverage of the ERA depends also on a renewed strategy at European level, beyond monitoring national implementation. This includes a clear framework and reasonable resources at the European level – in Horizon Europe and beyond, since realisation of the ERA requires transversal synergies with many different sectors.
- It is urgent to address what needs to change to ensure political ownership and commitment at both Member States’ and European level. Namely, a more federated approach regarding coordination of policies such as on taxes and pensions to support circulation of people.
- We support some flexibility regarding national approaches providing it comes with clear commitments (at a political level and long standing, i.e., not subject to ever-changing, short governing cycles) and with clear milestones of implementation (including resources, investment).
- A key omission in the narrative is activity at the institutional level. It is crucial to include the institutional level as a driver of the ERA since institutions - research performing organisations, universities, and industry - are the ultimate enablers and providers of the ERA’s aims.