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European Research Area must focus on strengthening research excellence across Europe as a whole

European Research Area must focus on strengthening research  excellence across Europe as a whole

The Guild of European Resesearch-Intensive Universities calls for the new European Research Area (ERA) to develop and implement a holistic vision to strengthen and deepen excellence in less R&I performing (Widening) countries.

 Ahead of the Competitiveness Council meeting of 26 November, where research ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on the ERA governance and the Council recommendation on a pact for R&I in Europe, The Guild highlights the importance of including meaningful initiatives in the first ERA Policy Agenda that aim to improve access to excellence and to strengthen the excellence of European science overall.

Whilst a focus on excellence will essentially foster excellent research at Europe’s leading institutions, we should also ensure that the research capacities across all regions are boosted. ERA must enable and encourage researchers from universities in less performing countries to succeed. The Guild calls for a clearer articulation of Widening objectives, and how different instruments relate to each other. It is time to define an overall vision that is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Moreover, The Guild calls for a consideration of the Widening perspective in all ERA policy priorities to ensure there are no unintended adverse consequences for R&I systems in less R&I performing countries.

The Guild suggests to the ERA Forum to complement the ERA actions proposed by the Council with the following recommendations:

  • A dedicated sub-group under the ERA Forum should design and monitor the fit-for-purpose measures in ERA and Horizon Europe for researchers and institutions from Widening countries
  • To develop guidelines for enhanced synergies between EU’s funding programmes and national and regional funding schemes
  • To provide dedicated support to young researchers in developing outstanding research proposals and encourage more coordinator roles in Horizon Europe bids.

Jan Palmowski, Secretary-General to The Guild, commented: 'A successful European Research Area must strengthen Europe’s universities and other research and innovation actors in a global context, but it must focus equally on narrowing the R&I divide within Europe. Both objectives are essential for the long-term resilience of Europe’s research and innovation sector'.

Read the full statement on The Guild's website.

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