The European Commission has today set out concrete steps Member States should take to achieve the European Research Area (ERA), a Single Market for research and innovation in Europe. The goal is to enable researchers, research institutions and businesses to better move, compete and co-operate across borders. This will strengthen Member States' research bases, increase their competitiveness and allow them to work together more effectively to tackle major societal challenges, such as climate change, food and energy security and public health. To help achieve the European Research Area, the Commission has also today signed a Joint Statement and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with organisations representing key research organisations and research funding bodies. The proposals are a response to the deadline set by EU leaders to make the European Research Area a reality by 2014.
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "We cannot continue with a situation where research funding is not always allocated competitively, where positions are not always filled on merit, where researchers can rarely take their grants or have access to research programmes across borders, and where large parts of Europe are not even in the game. Talk to any business leader and they will tell you that the quality of the research base is a major factor in their investment decisions. In today's economy, no Member State or region can afford to neglect its knowledge base."
When asked, almost 80% of the research community indicated that lack of open and transparent recruitment hinders international mobility. Member States are therefore asked to remove barriers to cross-border research careers in Europe, step up the pursuit of joint research agendas, enhance competitive funding for institutions and projects and invest efficiently in world-class facilities.
Research stakeholder organisations are urged to define and implement principles for accessibility and portability of national grants, to publish job vacancies on a common internet portal, to fill research positions according to transparent, open and merit-based recruitment procedures and to step up links between industry and academia.
To complement today's European Research Area proposals, the Commission is also presenting an initiative to promote access to, and preservation of, scientific information. This aims at promoting open access to research publications from EU-funded projects, as well as from nationally funded research (see IP/12/790 and MEMO/12/565).