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On 29 and 30 May 2013, the Council of the European Union adopted Conclusions on Enhancing and Focusing EU International Cooperation in Research and Innovation. The new Conclusions build on previous initiatives about the development of the European Research Area (ERA), such as those laid out in the ‘ERA Communication’ of 17 July 2012, and highlight the global nature of science and the importance of international scientific and technological cooperation.
The concept of the ERA was launched in 2000 in order to create a 'common market' or space in Europe in which researchers, technology and scientific knowledge can circulate freely. The new Conclusions reaffirm the need for further developing the ERA and in this context stress the importance of international cooperation in research and innovation. The document also recognises the importance of facilitating cooperation between researchers around the world, in particular through the EU’s next Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development - Horizon 2020.
The European Commission and the EU member states are encouraged to “identify priorities for international cooperation on the basis of Horizon 2020 and the results of FP7 projects”, and to develop and promote common approaches to research integrity, peer review, gender equality, researcher careers, fair and equitable treatment of intellectual property and other issues important to ensure a 'level playing field' globally. These common principles are expected to facilitate international cooperation in research and innovation. The Council also recognises the benefits of cooperating not only with industrialised countries and emerging economies, but also with the enlargement and neighbourhood countries and developing countries.
The Commission is expected to present the first roadmaps for international cooperation in research and innovation (linked to the Horizon 2020 work programmes), by the end of 2013.