On 5 December 2014 the Competitiveness Council, a configuration of the EU Council bringing together ministers responsible for industry and research, adopted conclusions on the European Research Area (ERA) Progress Report 2014.
The conclusions stress the remaining efforts to be made towards the completion of the ERA, which remains a gradual process. The Council urges Member States and research stakeholders to implement the necessary reforms to make ERA fully operational.
An ERA Roadmap at European level is due to be developed by mid-2015. The document will outline a shared understanding of the ERA principles and concrete measures to implement them. It will define a set of tools and best practices in order to support Member States in implementing the ERA. EUREKA’s positioning as a catalyst for national public funding towards European R&D projects makes it a key stakeholder in the integration of the ERA and it recently published its own input for the ERA roadmap.
The Competitiveness Council also calls for the synchronisation of future ERA reforms with other underlying changes in European research: its internationalisation and the development of joint programming. Eurostars, one of the first and most successful joint programmes, is a good example of how joint efforts between the EU and the governments represented in EUREKA can improve the coordination of national research.
The Council encouraged the strengthening of the internationalisation of research activities outside of Europe, calling for a strategic redefinition of internationalisation as ‘a specific priority of the ERA.’ EUREKA, pioneering the field, holds association agreements with the Republic of Korea, Canada and South Africa, allowing companies and research entities from those countries to participate in publicly-supported cooperative R&D projects with European counterparts.