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Consultation on the ERA Framework. Opportunities and challenges ahead

The European Commission has recently completed the preliminary summary and analysis of feedback received as a result of a public consultation on the European Research Area (ERA) held over the course of two and a half months. The results of the public consultation (which garnered 590 responses to an on-line survey and 101 ad hoc position papers submitted by national and European research stakeholders) were presented at the ERA conference 2012, fostering efficiency, excellence and growth, which was organised on 30 January in Brussels. This feedback will be factored into the final ERA framework document, which will specify by June 2012 how the ERA’s completion can be achieved by 2014.

One of the major outcomes of the consultation relates to the preoccupation of the respondents with deficiencies in research careers and mobility. This most urgent priority is followed by problems relating to research infrastructures, knowledge transfer and cross-border collaboration, as well as women’s involvement in science. In position papers, cross-border collaboration and international cooperation, as well as open access to publications and data, have also received a prominent place. The full list of key messages is presented in the European Commission’s preliminary report: Areas of untapped potential for the development of the European Research Area, with a more detailed publication to follow soon.

In this context, it is also interesting to consult the latest edition of the Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS). This report provides a comparative snapshot on the current innovation performance of the 27 EU member states and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. The analysis focuses on three main dimensions: human resources; open, excellent and attractive research systems; and finance and support. An additional 25 different indicators are also considered for the EU27, Croatia, Iceland, FYR of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and, partly, 10 global competitors. Based on the analysis of country-specific innovation trends and innovation performance, all EU member states are divided into four categories: 

  • innovation leaders: Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden (above the EU27 average); 
  • innovation followers: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK (close to the EU27 average); 
  • moderate innovators: Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain (below the EU27 average); and 
  • modest innovators: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania (well below the EU27 average).

ERA Framework public consultation 

Innovation Union Scoreboard