Pact for R&I: a new start for ERA

On 16 July, the European Commission adopted its proposal for a Council recommendation on “a Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe”. This policy action is dedicated to boosting the implementation of the European Research Area (ERA), which aims to create a single EU-wide market for research and innovation.

The Pact is a long-term plan, with similar goals as the ones for ERA when it was implemented in 2000, but adapted to current challenges (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic). First recommendations were made to the EU Member States to encourage them to agree on common directives and guidelines for research and innovation at the EU level. Scientists must work in a safe and healthy environment within the EU, which includes gender equality, freedom of scientific research, and ethics. ERA could achieve these goals by bringing more cooperation at the national and European level, with efficient and inclusive working methods.

Furthermore, the Pact will enable each EU Member State to establish an internal market of knowledge within ERA’s action plan. A global engagement through incentives will be implemented and researchers will be at the core of the programme. The reward system will be put in place, similar to the one for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (ensuring consistency with a well-established and attractive work project). To achieve this, ERA will be fully re-shaped through special tools: a specific policy agenda (clear and actionable targets with direct follow-up implementations), an online policy platform (for reporting the implementations and investments), a scoreboard (monitoring ERA’s objectives with indicators and qualitative analyses) and regular policy dialogues between EU Member States and the European Commission.

“The Pact for Research and Innovation is the first milestone in our ambition for a simplified and more efficient European Research Area. The objective of the Pact is to foster the future dialogue process with key actors putting a clear emphasis on sharing best practices and facilitating the collaboration of Member States to invest in and coordinate on common research and innovation objectives.”

– Mariya Gabriel,
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

Finally, the Pact will strive to reinforce the role and the legitimacy of ERA with a common approach of the Member States through investing 3% of their GDP in research and innovation by 2030 (1.25% of the EU GDP). Member States lagging behind the EU’s average GDP dedicated to research and innovation should increase their expenses by at least 50% in 5 years.

You can read the full proposal here.


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