Plans for single EU research area
The European Union has embarked on a fresh effort to achieve a unified European Research Area that will allow scientists to move their research grants across frontiers.
Launched today by research commissioner Marie Geoghegan-Quinn, the “concrete” proposals will create a single market for research and innovation across EU countries.
The goal is to help researchers, institutions conducting research and businesses to move, compete and co-operate across borders, and to achieve this by 2014.
"We cannot continue with a situation where research funding is not always allocated competitively, where positions are not always filled on merit, where researchers can rarely take their grants or have access to research programmes across borders, and where large parts of Europe are not even in the game,” the commissioner said today.
Institutions on the ground have been slow to embrace the European Research Area given the potential loss of researchers and grant support.
The EU believes, as does Ms Geoghegan-Quinn, that a freer movement of researchers across frontiers will actually strengthen a member state’s research base, will increase competitiveness and support cross-frontier collaboration.
As part of today’s launch the commission has also signed a joint statement and memorandums of understanding with research organisations and research funding bodies.
The commission has called on member states to:
*remove barriers to cross-frontier research careers
*develop joint research agendas that will build collaboration
*increase funding for research and invest in the facilities needed to support research
In a separate announcement the Commission has also introduced measures to improve open access to research results to provide ready access to scientific data produced in Europe.
There is a powerful international effort to encourage open publishing with free access to results. This contrasts with the current high costs of accessing research reports published by the leading journals.
Open access means scientists will have better access to articles and data resulting from publicly funded research. They can then build on existing results to advance new research, according to the commission.
The commission proposes to make open access a general principal of the new research budget Horizon 2020, with all research funded under the programme either available immediately under one approach or within six months under another.
These measures are meant to compliment the move towards the European Research Area, it said. The goal was to have 60 per cent of European publically-funded research articles to be available under open access by 2016.