|European Commission > ... > European Research Area > The ERA in Sustainable Energy Systems||Contact | Search|
The challenges facing Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) R&D are of a scale and complexity that require a paradigm shift in Europe’s current fragmented approach to research. A new culture needs to develop where European, national and regional programmes complement one another, do not overlap or conflict, but add value to each other. SES R&D needs the new vision of a European Research Area (ERA) to compete effectively against international competition.
An independent study on the development of the ERA in SES research has recently been carried out and the resulting report is now available. It analyses the progress made to date and makes recommendations for future activities.
A six-page brochure on the ERA in SES research is also available on the publications page of this site.
Why is a new approach to SES research needed?
The challenges facing research in SES pressing and complex, with profound implications for society and the environment:
The European Research Area (ERA) will address these challenges. It will bring together research resources across Europe as never before. However, the creation of the ERA will not happen overnight. Preparatory work - and a fundamental shift in policies and structures - will be needed over a sustained period in order to create the necessary conditions for a single unified research market in Europe.
Preparing for the ERA
Movement towards the ERA in Sustainable Energy Systems requires a great deal of preparation. This necessary work includes:
A great deal of work is presently going on in SES research, to ensure that the priority areas will be able to develop further towards achieving the ERA. Full exploitation of the opportunities offered by the Sixth Framework Programme will serve as an important driver of the European Research Area.
Work in progress
Examples of preparatory activities include:
Similar activities are underway in all areas of non-nuclear energy systems, including clean coal, gas turbines and CHP, oil & gas, bioenergy, wind and wave energy, socio-economic research and energy in buildings.
Progress has been made in establishing the ERA, and many existing actions are expected to bring the principal European actors in SES RTD together as never before. This collaboration has already resulted in the submission of a set of well-conceived Expressions of Interest addressing the main priorities identified for the Sixth Framework Programme.
An independent study carried out for the Commission in mid-2002 concluded that excellent progress is being made in establishing the necessary linkages and structures needed to develop co-ordinated RTD strategies in the key research areas for non-nuclear energy systems. More work will be needed to establish effective European structural links between existing activities and the new kinds of action being developed in the Sixth Framework Programme.
Further work will be needed to map the existing RTD work being carried out at a national or regional level, and to co-ordinate such programmes so that meaningful RTD can be carried out at a European level. This is a fundamental task involving Member States to help achieve the ERA.
Establishment of the ERA is vital to the ability of European SES RTD to compete on a global stage. The opportunities that a successful ERA will provide in terms of knowledge generation and competitive edge are immense.