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Launched by the European Union in 2000, the European Research Area, or ERA, is an action involving the member states of the EU with the five main aims of facilitating the mobility of researchers, removing legal barriers for research workers to access funding in another country, supporting the carrier of female innovators, making the sharing of research results between scientists in different European countries easier and combining national research programmes in transnational research projects. So far the vast majority of research programmes in Europe are run in an isolated way, leading to inefficacy.
Using national funds for international cooperation, is also the reason of existence of EUREKA, the network of national innovation funding agencies in Europe. EUREKA took off twenty-seven years ago and has so far permitted the realisation of 4452 research projects using national research funds. EUREKA projects are also focused on turning new technologies into marketable products. EUREKA actively helps companies of all size to do business and export internationally.
'USING NATIONAL FUNDS FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, IS THE REASON OF EXISTENCE OF EUREKA, THE NETWORK OF NATIONAL INNOVATION FUNDING AGENCIES IN EUROPE.'
Still today in the European Union, an estimated 88% of the public funding for research is managed entirely at national level and invested into companies, universities and research institutes within a state’s own borders. Scientists, innovators but also politicians from all parties and all over Europe have often called for a greater coordination and allocation of national funding for transnational projects. Their arguments are diverse, from the fragmentation of research, to the possibility of much more advanced and larger R&D projects involving the industry. As the financial crisis is hitting hardly many European governments, transnational research funding is now also seen as a way to do more with less.
Several actions have been taken by the EU with the aim of sharing national funding, but EUREKA and its funding instruments being the most advanced and longest standing of all those initiatives, has a key role in bringing together funding agencies from all over Europe.