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Science Europe publishes position paper on the European Research Area


In its review of the European Commission’s 2012 communication “A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth”, Science Europe expresses concern that pressures for ERA ‘completion’ by 2014 may be closing down opportunities for dialogue and preventing Europe from “learning to leverage its true strengths: its diversity and the interplay between national and European policy”.

Rather than reducing ERA Priority One to a matter of ‘competitive versus non-competitive’ funding, and considering that there is still limited knowledge on the complexity of the drivers behind the effectiveness of national research systems, the association of major European Research Funding and Performing Organisations, suggests re-thinking the current ERA policy approach in order to allow for more mutual learning.

The Statement explains that while “competition is an important element in science policy and has a key role in fostering excellence, there is no reason to assume that different countries need similar funding allocation policy mixes […]. Different funding models can foster or hinder the pursuit of different strategies adapted to regional and national contexts”.

As the European Commission and the EU Member States are reviewing the current Commission’s approach to the European Research Area (ERA) and preparing an ‘ERA Roadmap’ for 2015, Science Europe’s position statement aims to contribute to the debate on the future of ERA policy, by offering some suggestions for improvement. Amanda Crowfoot, Director of Science Europe, adds, “Science Europe is very willing to engage with the European Commission and other stakeholders in the context of the revision of ERA policy”.

Science Europe comprises 52 Research Funding and Research Performing Organisations from 27 countries, representing around €30 billion per annum. It was founded in October 2011 with the aim of promoting the collective interests of members and providing them with a platform to collaborate at both policy and activity level. Miguel Seabra, FCT President, is the current President of Science Europe.