ERA is a unified research area open to the world based on the Internal market, in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely. Through ERA, the Union and its Member States will strengthen their scientific and technological bases, their competitiveness and their capacity to collectively address grand challenges.
The European Commission's 2012 policy Communication on the European Research Area (ERA) should lead to a significant improvement in Europe's research performance to promote growth and job creation. The measures in the Communication will have to be implemented by EU Member States, the Commission and Research Organisations to ensure the completion of ERA by 2014 as called for by the European Council.
To complete ERA and maximise the return on research investment, Europe must increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its public research system. This requires more cooperation so that the brightest minds work together to make greater impact on grand challenges (e.g. demographic-ageing, energy security, mobility, environmental degradation), and to avoid unnecessary duplication of research and infrastructure investment at national level. It also requires more competition to ensure that the best researchers and research teams receive funding - those able to compete in the increasingly-globalised and competitive research landscape.
With the explicit objective of opening up and connecting EU research systems, the ERA reform agenda focuses on five key priorities: