What is ERA?

The European Research Area (ERA) is the ambition to create a single, borderless market for research, innovation and technology across the EU.

It helps countries be more effective together, by strongly aligning their research policies and programmes. The free circulation of researchers and knowledge enables

  • better cross-border cooperation
  • building of critical mass
  • continent-wide competition

ERA was launched in 2000 and a process to revitalise it began in 2018.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth explains how together, we can make Europe a lighthouse...

Commission's plan for a new ERA based on excellence

The new ERA will

  • prioritise investments and reforms in research and innovation
  • boost market uptake
  • strengthen mobility of researchers and free flow of knowledge and technology
  • improve access to excellence

Why a new ERA?

The European Union is facing enormous societal, ecological and economic challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic is not over and there is a need to build back better, achieving the green and digital transition. These new requirements need new responses, which is why the process to renew the ERA was started. Through the joint efforts of the Commission and EU countries substantial progress has been made over the past year.

How will the new ERA do this?

1. Establishment of a new ERA governance

The new ERA governance allows for closer collaboration through the establishment of a dedicated expert group. This ERA Forum is where the Commission and EU countries co-design and coordinate the implementation of the ERA actions, prepare future updates of the policy agenda and ensure the involvement of Associated Countries, relevant non-EU countries and stakeholders.

Additionally, a new monitoring system will be created by mid-2022. This includes a scoreboard and dashboard, a policy platform, regular policy dialogues and reports.

2. Adoption of a Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe

For the first time, the Pact sets out a list of 10 common values and principles guiding research and innovation in Europe and Europe’s collaboration with the rest of the world. In addition, the Pact shows the European countries’ commitment to the new ERA by defining priority areas for joint action, setting out ambitions for investments and reforms and introducing simplified coordination and monitoring.

A Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe (factsheet)

3. An ERA Policy Agenda with concrete actions

The new ERA Policy Agenda, annexed to the Council conclusions on the ERA governance, sets out 20 concrete ERA actions for the period 2022-2024 to contribute to the priority areas defined in the Pact for Research and Innovation.

  1. Enable Open Science, including through the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)
  2. Propose a EU copyright and data legislative framework for research
  3. Reform  the Assessment System for research, researchers and institutions
  4. Promote attractive research careers, talent circulation and mobility
  5. Promote gender equality and foster inclusiveness
  6. Protect academic freedom in Europe
  7. Upgrade EU guidance for a better knowledge valorisation
  8. Strengthen research infrastructures
  9. Promote international cooperation
  10. Make EU research and innovation missions and partnerships key contributors to the ERA
  11. An ERA for green transformation
  12. Accelerate the green/digital transition of Europe’s key industrial ecosystems
  13. Empower Higher Education Institutions
  14. Bring Science closer to citizens
  15. Build-up research and innovation ecosystems to improve excellence and competitiveness
  16. Improve EU-wide access to excellence
  17. Enhance public research institutions’ strategic capacity
  18. Support the development of EU countries’ national processes for the ERA implementation
  19. Establish an ERA monitoring system
  20. Support research and innovation investments and reforms

European Research Area Policy Agenda (2022 – 2024)

ERA in the regions

Regions and cities will be supported in promoting science and research locally through the Knowledge Exchange Platform, relaunched as KEP 2.0. 

Read more about the knowledge exchange platform

ERAvsCorona action plan

The ERAvsCorona action plan shows ERA's combined strength through close coordination, cooperation, data sharing and joint funding between the Commission and EU countries.

The plan was developed in response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Research and innovation ministers from all 27 EU countries support the 10 priority actions it contains.

Recommendations to EU countries

To make the European Research Area stronger, national research and innovation policies need to be strengthened too.

Since 2010, the European Semester has been providing EU countries with recommendations, to coordinate and improve social and economic policies across the EU. 

Research and innovation policy recommendations are embedded in this process.

It is a clear example of how cooperation and dialogue between the Commission and EU countries leads to better and more impactful policies.  

Research and innovation in the European Semester 2020

ERA progress reports

ERA progress reports summarise the state of play of ERA and progress made on its implementation by EU and associated countries.

2018 ERA Progress report

Revitalising ERA: timeline

November 2021

The Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe and the Council conclusions on the future ERA governance are adopted.

June 2021

Commission adopts proposal for a Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe

September 2020

The Commission publishes plan for relaunching ERA by publishing the Communication on a new ERA for research and innovation.


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