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The development of ERA is needed to overcome the fragmentation of research in Europe along national and institutional barriers. Fragmentation prevents Europe from fulfilling its research and innovation potential, at a huge cost to Europeans as taxpayers, consumers, and citizens.

In particular:

  • Researchers still see their career opportunities reduced by legal and practical barriers, which limit their possibilities to move between institutions, sectors and countries.
  • Businesses often find it difficult to cooperate and enter into partnerships with research institutions in Europe, particularly across boarders.
  • National and regional research funding remains largely uncoordinated. This leads to a dispersion of resources, excessive duplications, and more generally a poor use of the resources that we collectively devote to research and innovation in Europe.
  • Research system reforms undertaken at national level often lack a true European perspective and transnational coherence.
  • On the world scene, there is almost no coordination of international S&T strategies and activities between the Member States and between them and these of the EU. As a result, Europe fails to take the leading role that it could have, notably to respond to major global challenges.

For these reasons, developing ERA is very important for Europe's future prosperity. It is also urgent. The globalisation of research and technology is accelerating and new scientific and technological powers attract considerable amounts of R&D investments, notably China, India and other emerging economies. This can be a positive evolution, bringing new opportunities for Europe and the world. At the same time, this is a challenge: can Europe maintain and further develop its competitive advantage in knowledge and innovation? For this we need ERA, quickly.