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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The newly published European Research Area Progress Report 2016 benchmarks country performance using a set of headline indicators, including the JRC’s ‘Adjusted Research Excellence Index’.
The European Commission published the third edition of the European Research Area (ERA) Progress Report. The 2016 Report summarises the state of play of ERA and the progress on ERA implementation over the period 2014-2016. For the first time, progress on ERA is measured for each country on each priority, based on the ERA Monitoring Mechanism, a set of 24 core indicators jointly defined by Member States, research stakeholders and the Commission. The European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) developed also a set of eight core high-level (or headline) indicators for monitoring progress of the ERA Roadmap. Upon the request of the ERAC, the JRC contributed to the refinement of the ‘Adjusted Research Excellence Index’, which was selected as the headline indicator to measure progress on ERA priority no.1, ‘more effective national research systems’.
The ‘Adjusted Research Excellence Index’ is based on multiple years of research conducted at the JRC in collaboration with the Directorate General for Research and Innovation on the measurement of scientific and technological research excellence of countries using a composite indicator (see JRC reports "A Composite Indicator for Scientific and Technological Research Excellence" and "An update of the research excellence indicator"). This composite indicator integrates four components measuring the highly cited publications, patent applications, European Research Council grants and participation in Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowships. Such a composition reflects the perception of ERAC that effective national research systems should excel not only in the top-level outcome of scientific and technological research, but also in their ability to attract researchers and to develop future research capacities.
The ERA Progress Report 2016 shows strong progress over the last years on all priorities, but large disparities continue to exist between Member States. The analyses build on the outcomes of various JRC research projects, including Research and Innovation Observatory Reports, and studies on Performance-based funding, Inter-sectoral mobility and the Stairway to Excellence project. Regarding ERA Roadmap Priority 1, the report shows that many Member States are redefining their national research and innovation strategies based on a broad concept of innovation, encompassing education, research and innovation to achieve greater efficiencies. In order to further strengthen this holistic strategic approach, more stable funding of government investment is needed in the future.