What is ERA?

The European Research Area (ERA) is a unified research area open to the world and based on the internal market.

The ERA enables free circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology.

6 priorities of ERA

  • more effective national research systems
  • optimal transnational cooperation and competition, including optimal transnational cooperation and competition and research infrastructures
  • an open labour market for researchers
  • gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research
  • optimal circulation, access to and transfer of scientific knowledge including knowledge circulation and open access
  • international cooperation

Background and process

In 2014, 2 years after the adoption of its communication on a reinforced European Research Area (ERA) partnership  the Commission reported that EU countries and stakeholders had made good progress in delivering the ERA but more effort would be needed.

In 2015, the European Council reaffirmed its commitment to a fully operational ERA and endorsed the ERA Roadmap 2015-2020. This is a living document to guide EU countries in structuring their implementation of the ERA priorities at national level.

It calls on EU members to implement the ERA roadmap through appropriate measures in ERA national action plans and strategies.

Monitoring of ERA roadmap implementation is integrated into the ERA progress reports, on the basis of headline indicators proposed by the European Research and Innovation Advisory Committee (ERAC)

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ERAvsCorona Action Plan

The ERAvsCorona Action Plan was developed in response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. On 7 April 2020, research and innovation Ministers from all 27 EU Member States supported the 10 priority actions contained in the plan.

The action plan builds on the overall objectives and tools of ERA. It covers close coordination, cooperation, data sharing and joint funding efforts between the Commission and EU Member States.

It contains 10 dedicated actions

  1. coordinating research and innovation funding against the coronavirus for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics including through an International Pledging Conference
  2. extending and supporting large EU wide clinical trials for clinical management of coronavirus patients
  3. new funding for innovative and rapid health-related approaches to respond to coronavirus
  4. increasing support to innovative companies through the Horizon 2020 European Innovation Council Accelerator pilot and expanding the current EIC Community Platform
  5. creating new opportunities to help access funding sources other than EU funds - for example through a Covid-19 Response Seal of Excellence
  6. establishing a one-stop shop ERA Corona platform for information on EU funding and national actions on coronavirus research
  7. establishing an ad-hoc High Level Research and Innovation Task Force on the coronavirus
  8. better access to research infrastructures
  9. creating a European COVID-19 Research data sharing platform  
  10. pan-EU EUvsVirus Hackathon to mobilise innovators and civil society

ERA partnership

Partnerships with member and associated countries

The partnership between member countries, Horizon 2020 associated countries and the Commission is represented by the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC).

It is a strategic policy advisory committee that advises the Commission, the Council, and member countries on the full spectrum of research and innovation issues in the framework of the governance of ERA.

Partnership with stakeholder organisations

In 2012 the Commission and 5 stakeholder organisations agreed to work together towards achieving the ERA. 

They also set up a stakeholder platform to follow up on implementation and offer a forum for discussion.

CESAER joined the platform in July 2013.

The organisations renewed their membership in 2015 except Norforsk which regardless remains committed to ERA priorities.

Others stakeholders have become official observers to the platform.

  • EU-Life
  • European Infustrial Research Management Association (EIRMA)
  • European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN)
  • Association of European-level Research Infrastructure Facilities (ERF-AISBL)
  • European Network of Innovation Agencies (TAFTI)

ERA progress reports

The ERA progress reports summarise the state of play of ERA and the progress made on the ERA implementation by member states and associated countries.

The 2018 ERA Progress report was published in early 2019