The EU needs to make a stronger commitment to research, development and innovation, and engage further in cooperation with other regions in order to strengthen its competitiveness and contribute to the solutions of global problems. This is the message from the latest report by the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) on the EU’s international research cooperation policies. EURAB is an independent, advisory committee set up by the European Commission in 2001 to provide advice on the design and implementation of EU research policy. EURAB is made up of 45 top experts from EU countries and beyond. Its members are nominated in a personal capacity and come from a wide range of academic and industrial backgrounds,as well as representing other societal interests.
In the report, EURAB puts forward five recommendations which are to ensure the EU’s role as a world leader in research and development:
EURAB's report on international research cooperation
The European Commission needs a proactive and systematic international policy in science and technology that would enhance its competitiveness as a global actor and provide for a European contribution to global problems. The EU should also develop large, visible projects that would attract attention in the emerging centres of economic power, i.e. Brazil, China and India.
The Commission should define its priorities on and establish a long-term policy framework to promote international cooperation in science and technology. Europe should attract the best researchers in the world and invest in scientific infrastructure. To reach this goal, cross-border mobility should be facilitated.
The Commission should differentiate clearly between target countries (advanced industrial countries, emerging economies and developing countries) to define its own interests while at the same time select the right kinds of instruments to promote international cooperation.
The Commission should establish an efficient division of labour and cooperation among its services. At present, the report argues, there seems to be limited coordination in the Commission among various international R&D programmes, with third countries having separate cooperative actions with, for example, DG Relex, DG Agro and DG Environment. The report calls for a ‘single address’ in the EU for external research funding.