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European Research Area Policy Agenda -EEI

In September 2020, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the renewal of the ERA which was the subject of Council Conclusions stating that the new ERA should be a joint vision ensuring the role of R&I as such and also in the design and implementation of relevant sectoral policies, as well as stepping up concrete R&I actions, increasing political commitment and leveraging existing funding instruments in pursuit of a common agenda. The objectives of the new ERA are:

  • Prioritize R&I investments and reforms to facilitate the green and digital transition, support Europe's recovery and increase its competitiveness.
  • Improve researchers' access to excellent facilities and infrastructures across the EU.
  • Transferring the results to the economy, to boost business investment and market uptake of research results, and to promote EU competitiveness and leadership in the global technology context.
  • Enhancing the mobility of researchers and the free flow of knowledge and technology through greater cooperation between Member States to ensure that everyone benefits from research and its results.

In July 2021, the European Commission presented a Recommendation for a Pact for R&I in Europe whose main objective was to promote greater integration of national R&I policies in the EU based on the definition of principles and values associated with areas of joint action combined with the mobilization of national reforms and investments. In November 2021, this Recommendation was approved by the Council of the EU, together with the related Conclusions on the future governance of the ERA.

The last chapter of the Council Conclusions dealt with policy coordination, including the definition of an ERA Policy Agenda (translating voluntary actions at Union and Member State level in the context of the priorities identified in the Pact) and a monitoring and follow-up mechanism (consisting of an online platform dedicated to ERA, a scoreboard and a dashboard with indicators to measure progress and regular policy dialogues).

ERA Actions 2022-24

The ERA Policy Agenda is designed to contribute to the priority areas of the Pact for R&I in Europe, covering the diversity of national and regional policy contexts and employing an adaptive approach, to be adopted by the Council every three years as a dynamic document which can be regularly adjusted. The priority areas of the new ERA correspond to those where there is a broad commitment and for which actions led by the Member States and the Commission have been foreseen, and only those actions involving at least half of the EU Member States will be implemented.

The final list of actions that make up the ERA 2022-24 Policy Agenda, distributed by the corresponding priority areas, is as follows:

Priority Area "Deepening an Internal Market for Truly Functional Knowledge"

  1. Open Science
  2. EU copyright and data legislative framework
  3. Reform of research assessment
  4. Research careers, talent circulation and mobility
  5. Gender equality and inclusiveness
  6. Protect academic freedom in Europe
  7. Knowledge valorisation
  8. Strengthen research infrastructures
  9. Promote international cooperation

Priority Area “Taking up together the challenges posed by the twin green and digital transition, and increasing society’s participation in the ERA”

  1. Missions and partnerships
  2. Green transformation
  3. Accelerate the green/digital transformation
  4. Empower higher education institutions
  5. Bring science closer to citizens

Priority Area “Amplifying access to research and innovation excellence across the Union”

  1. Improve EU-wide access to excellence
  2. Enhance public research institutions’ strategic capacity

Priority Area “Advancing concerted research and innovation investments and reforms”

  1. ERA monitoring mechanism

Portugal has committed to all the ERA actions listed, following preparatory work carried out by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the National Innovation Agency (ANI), and culminating with the analysis and validation of the MCTES Office.

Governance of the new ERA

In terms of governance, the Council Conclusions reaffirm the role of the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) as the high-level joint strategic policy advisory committee (giving prior advice to the Council, Commission and Member States on strategic R&I policy issues). They also recognise the newly established ERA Forum (a Commission expert group with representatives from Member States and EFTA/EEA countries) as the body responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda, supporting the Commission and Member States in delivering ERA actions.

The Council Conclusions also foresee several ERA Forum sub-groups for assisting in the effective implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda. Currently three governance structures or subgroups and one standing subgroup are recognised, although others are already foreseen:

European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)

ESFRI is a forum where Member States, the European Commission and Associated Countries establish coordination strategies for European research infrastructures. ESFRI is responsible for creating, updating and monitoring the ESFRI Roadmap, where research infrastructures of European interest in the different scientific areas are identified, thus creating a clear orientation for public policies on the funding of these infrastructures. Under the ERA Policy Agenda, ESFRI will coordinate the implementation of ERA action "8 - Strengthening Research Infrastructures". For more information, please visit the FCT website page dedicated to ESFRI.

National Delegate: Marta Abrantes (FCT)

European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)

Ensuring a common research data platform where information is searchable, accessible, interoperable and reusable is the ultimate goal of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), enabling the promotion of "interdisciplinary and impactful science in the digital age". Within the ERA Policy Agenda, the EOSC will coordinate the implementation of ERA action "1 - Enabling Open Science".

National Delegate: João Moreira (FCCN)

Partnership Knowledge Hub (PKH)

The mission of the group is to advise the Commission on the implementation of the strategic coordination process for EU R&I partnerships and to provide a forum for coordination and cooperation with Member States and stakeholders. The group will help ensure strategic oversight of the partnership portfolio and of the progress made by the European Partnerships in achieving ambitious goals and maximising the impact of joint investments made through the partnerships. Within the ERA Policy Agenda, the PKH will coordinate the implementation of the partnerships component of ERA Action "10 - Missions and Partnerships".

National Delegates: Luís Maia (ANI), Gonçalo Zagalo (FCT)

ERA Standing Subgroup on the Global Approach to R&I

The tasks of the sub-group shall be to advise the Commission services on the design, implementation and evaluation of international R&I cooperation approaches and actions as well as to provide coordination between the Commission and the Member States and stakeholders, and to exchange experience and good practices in international R&I cooperation, including at multilateral level. The sub-group is co-chaired by one Member State and the Commission and will continue the work carried out by the Strategic Forum for International Scientific and Technological Cooperation (SFIC). As part of the ERA Policy Agenda, the sub-group will coordinate the implementation of ERA action '9 - Promoting international cooperation'.

National Delegate: Gonçalo Zagalo (FCT)

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