New Pact and governance structure for the European Research Area (ERA)

The Council today adopted conclusions on the governance of the European Research Area (ERA) and a Pact for research and innovation (R&I) in Europe, setting out priorities and a streamlined governance framework for the ERA, including an ERA policy agenda for 2022-2024.

Simona Kustec, Slovenian Minister for Education, Science, and Sport

Research and innovation is one of the top priorities of our presidency. The fight against the COVID-19 crisis has shown how extremely important research and innovation are to preserve and promote a resilient and competitive Europe. That is why this first-ever ERA policy agenda is a big step forward. It includes concrete actions that will help us to respond in a more efficient way to societal challenges.Simona Kustec, Slovenian Minister for Education, Science, and Sport

Under the new Pact for R&I, member states commit for the coming years to: i) a set of common EU principles and values for R&I; ii) shared priority areas for action; iii) investments and reforms, and iv) a simplified policy coordination and monitoring process.

The Council conclusions propose specific ERA actions contained in the ERA policy agenda 2022-2024 which will be implemented on a voluntary basis by the member states, together with the European Commission and in cooperation with countries associated to the ‘Horizon Europe’ programme, with research, academic and business organisations, as well as with other partner countries where applicable.

Background

The ERA was launched 20 years ago. Since then, it has contributed to significant progress in areas such as research infrastructures, open science, international cooperation, gender balance in R&I, joint programming and the mobility of researchers.

On 16 July 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal for a ‘Pact for R&I in Europe’, as one of the key pillars of the new ERA.

The Council adopted conclusions on the ‘new ERA’ on 1 December 2020, calling on the Commission and the member states to agree on an ERA policy agenda in 2021.

The adoption of the Pact for R&I in Europe and the Council conclusions completes the deep reform of the ERA, which started in 2020.

Next steps

Member states and countries associated to the ‘Horizon Europe’ programme will be invited to identify the ERA actions in which they wish to participate. They could also share information through the ERA platform.

By mid-2022, the European Commission should present a monitoring and evaluation framework for the implementation of the ERA. It should review the implementation of the policy agenda every 18 months. It is also expected to issue a report to the Council on the state of play of the policy agenda.

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