Since 2008, the European Research Area [ERA] has facilitated the circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology in the European Union. In February 2014, the Council of the European Union [EU] reaffirmed its support to ERA as a key factor to create growth and jobs.
Over the years, ERA has been reinforced with focus on 5 priorities: more effective national research systems; optimal transnational co-operation and competition; an open labor market for researchers; gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research; and optimal circulation, access to and transfer of scientific knowledge including via digital ERA.
The conclusions of the EU Council published in February 2014 give a positive review of the work done so far toward the completion of ERA and underline aspects that should be improved.
Overall, cross-national cooperation is greatly encouraged. In the 28 member states of the European Union, research systems diverge and the EU Council encourages taking into account this diversity and considering it as an asset. At the same time it advises the national authorities to accelerate reforms regarding research, development and innovation to boost the competitiveness at European and international levels.
The conclusions of the EU Council highlight the launch of Horizon 2020 as an opportunity for excellence in European Research, with new opportunities regarding mobility, gender equality, open access publication, digital resources, and knowledge transfer between public and private sectors.