Research and innovation must be viewed in the context of global trends such as the economic crisis and societal challenges.
EU funding in 2009
Thus, the EU and Member States need increasingly to be benchmarked with best performers worldwide, to attract talent from outside Europe and to network with the best researchers and organisations. Developing the European Research Area (ERA) is the most decisive way to progress towards these goals.
The partnership approach between Member States and the EU to develop the ERA focusing on five major ERA initiatives launched in 2008 is complemented by efforts to promote and pursue effective research policy development more generally through support instruments such as the open method of coordination (OMC). This provides Member States with an opportunity to learn from each other, exchange experience and identify good practices through a system of yearly cycles. Each cycle focuses on a limited number of policy issues. The fifth OMC cycle was launched in 2009, covering policy-mix peer reviews of research in Cyprus and Latvia as well as work on how to improve the excellence of research in universities. Peer learning activities were launched to deepen mutual learning on core issues such as the modernisation of universities, including institutional reforms, costs of research projects, ways to achieve world-class excellence, recruitment, and careers of young researchers. Complementary to these activities, in 2009 the European Research Area Committee (ERAC), formerly CREST, also undertook a mutual learning exercise on the basis of the research part of the national (Lisbon) reform programmes to examine national R&D policy mixes including progress on the 3 % GDP investment target.