The leading research-intensive universities united within CESAER and LERU have published a joint letter expressing their deep concerns about the approach to achieving a European Research Area (ERA).
They invite the European Commission and the Member States to come forward with proposals for:
The letter addresses draft documents presented to stakeholders on 20 April, raising deep concerns about the level of ambition and content of the draft pact.
An effective co-creation of the Pact and ERA governance is vital to its success and we recall (i) our longstanding and strong commitment and efforts over the past decades to achieving the ERA, (ii) the Communication A new ERA for Research and Innovation and (iii) corresponding Council conclusions.
David Bohmert (Secretary General of CESAER) said “The draft texts of the Pact for Research & Innovation in Europe presented to us last week combined with the ad hoc, incoherent and opaque involvements and consultations of R&I stakeholders in the ERA governance system and in the development of the Pact are worrying: we must prevent a regression of the achievements on the ERA and instead advance it in line with article 179 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the longstanding commitment and efforts of the stakeholder organisations. A fundamental understanding and acknowledgement of academia at the heart of the ERA is at stake. We see this letter as a wake up call to the European Commission to go back to the drawing board and come forward with improved texts and stakeholder engagement.”
Kurt Deketelaere (Secretary-General of LERU) said “It's always nice if the European Commission and the Member States list R&I principles and actions. Unfortunately this happens, again, in a non-binding way and with no direct involvement of the SHO in the ERA Forum itself. Member States have repeatedly proven in the past that they are not the engine for an integrated EU R&I policy. On the contrary, they mostly have been pulling up as much as possible breaks to avoid EU interference. So at the end of the day, LERU wonders what is the added value of this process, which will just repeat, confirm at best, but even weaken in same places what we already know, aimed for and have realised ? So please, EC and Member States, try again. And we, leading research-intensive universities, are here to help you."