Towards a truly reinforced European Research Area

Our association welcomes the renewed impetus for the European Research Area (ERA) and with a new position provides concrete recommendations on how to further reinforce the ERA.
8th October 2020
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The leading universities of Science and Technology (S&T) united within CESAER publish their position Towards a truly reinforced European Research Area (ERA) welcoming the renewed impetus for the ERA amongst the European Union (EU) institutions. We congratulate Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and her team for many of the initiatives proposed in their communication A new ERA for Research and Innovation as a good start for further discussion and provide concrete recommendations to reinforce the ERA further along three lines:

  1. Advance investigator-driven frontier research to boost disruptive innovation;
  2. Boost European integration to establish favourable framework conditions;
  3. Enable universities to build bridges within entire Europe and to play a leading role worldwide.

Rik Van de Walle (President of CESAER and Rector of Ghent University): “I warmly welcome the efforts towards reinforcing the ERA by the EU institutions and in particular Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. As I stated earlier this year, research is and should be a trailblazer for broader knowledge societies. Therefore, the ERA must be established as a community of values, emphasising the obligation for research across Europe to contribute towards sustainability, and establishing an integrated, effective and enforceable set of conditions and regulations for the free circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology. The outbreak of Covid-19 has again testified to the vital importance of S&T in addressing urgent and emerging challenges, including those that loom behind the current pandemic. As the major player integrating higher education, research and innovation, universities have a central role to play here. To achieve our ambitious goals, it is vital not to abandon the frontier, to provide research and universities with sustainable funding and to remove barriers and obstacles to support our researchers and their careers.”

To enable our Members to continue building bridges across Europe and beyond, our association urges the EU institutions to implement an inclusive ERA open to the world. In particular, the EU institutions must ensure swift association of third countries and not endanger existing collaborations across wider Europe and with our close neighbours such as Israel, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Russia and the United Kingdom.

“Recalling the longstanding track record of our Members and network in contributing to the ERA, we stand ready to renew our commitments and efforts in the years to come and get involved in the future governance of the ERA in a structured way. But everyone involved must do their job. The lack of sustainable funding and the cuts for Horizon Europe and Erasmus proposed by the European Council are in sharp contrast with the bold ambitions in the Commission’s communications on the ERA and on the European Education Area and the corresponding EU funding programmes Horizon Europe and Erasmus. That is why we urge national ministers of finance and the heads of states and governments to substantially increase the budgets for the European Research Council, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and research infrastructures. We call particularly on the German Presidency of the Council of the EU to assure the quick introduction of own income sources for the EU and to award revenues to future-oriented programmes such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus”, said David Bohmert (Secretary General).

Please reference this document using https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4072893

Full position (PDF) available for distribution

For more information and enquiries, please contact our Secretary General David Bohmert or our Advisor for Research & Innovation Mattias Björnmalm.

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