Today, the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation on ‘A Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe’ (Pact for R&I), as well as its conclusions on the future governance of the European Research Area.
The Pact for R&I defines common values and principles for research and innovation in Europe, such as freedom of scientific research and free circulation of researchers and knowledge. It also outlines 16 shared priority areas for joint action, ranging from fostering open science for faster sharing of knowledge and data, to reinforcing the scientific leadership and excellence of the European Union, with the involvement of all European regions and citizens.
At the same time, the conclusions of the Council include the first European Research Area Policy Agenda, setting out 20 voluntary actions for the next three years. Among these actions are promoting attractive and sustainable research careers, bringing science closer to citizens and improving EU-wide access to excellence.
Together, the Pact and the conclusions set out a new vision and priorities, confirm the EU’s and Member States’ commitment to the European Research Area and set up a new structure for its management. They mark an important milestone in realising ‘A new European Research Area for Research and Innovation’.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “Together with the Member States we are now going ahead with the Pact for Research and Innovation, as well as a new and efficient governance structure of the new European Research Area. Laying out our common values and our strategic priorities for research and innovation will help us unite our research and innovation efforts and bring innovative sustainable solutions to the market.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The adoption of the Pact and the Council conclusions is a step forward in our ambition to create an ERA fit for the future. It shows our common commitment to mobilise research and innovation policies with concrete actions towards the challenges of today and notably the green and digital transitions. The new governance framework allows us to work even closer together with Member States and stakeholders to create the single, borderless market for research, innovation and technology that Europe needs for its competitiveness.”
The Pact for R&I testifies to Europe’s ambition for reforms in support of research and innovation and establishes the basis for a simplified coordination with Member States and an updated monitoring mechanism to evaluate the progress made. The new governance for the European Research Area (ERA) will improve the current structure to allow for closer collaboration and coordination of policies across the EU and its Member States. This includes the development of the first ERA Policy Agenda with concrete actions for the next three years. The priority areas for action established in the Pact provide a stable framework for updates of the joint ERA policy agenda for the period after 2024.
Going forward, the future ERA Forum, a Commission expert group composed of the Commission and Member States’ representatives, will be established at the beginning of 2022. In the context of the ERA Forum, the Member States and the Commission will co-design and coordinate the implementation of the ERA actions, prepare future updates of the ERA Policy Agenda, and ensure the involvement of Horizon Europe Associated Countries, relevant third countries and stakeholders. Moreover, the new ERA monitoring system, including a scoreboard, a dashboard and an online policy platform, will be created by mid-2022.