Statement by Alliance4Life on the Future of ERA
Alliance4Life responded to the European Commission´s initiative and highlighted the following three priorities formulated as recommendations on the new European Research Area (ERA) paradigm with the aim to respond to new global challenges.
1. Excellent science as a cornerstone of the ERA
Alliance4Life considers the primary focus on excellence in research to be a key for the future ERA paradigm. This means research independence from political interventions and unconscious biases, and full support of talents, bold research ideas, and a bottom-up approach. Therefore, Alliance4Life proposes to strengthen the support of research schemes that foster excellence, such as European Research Council (ERC) or Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) schemes. In the Central and Eastern European Member States, outcomes of these schemes also provide an important and independent benchmark, not only for individual, but also institutional performance in terms of top talent attraction, support, and retention. Therefore, Alliance4Life recommends to expand these schemes, which are necessary for enabling and promoting leadership in scientific research.
2. Concertation of R&I capacities for an effective ERA
As a result of project schemes such as European Structural and Investment Funds and Horizon 2020 Teaming projects, R&I remains shattered as new research institutes are established along the existing entities. Institutional financing is often diluted at national levels. Concertation of capacities is needed in the entire ERA, in order to achieve the sustainability of the recent investments in R&I for the foreseeable future. Alliance4Life sees the necessity to recognise excellent research capacities in each country of the EU and support the quality. This concertation of capacities is necessary not only at national levels, but also across borders and trans-nationally.
3. Research Infrastructures as a driving force of ERA
While being driven by technological developments and, at the same time, being the source of technological innovation, Research Infrastructures are vital for the future ERA that should be based on the values of complementarity and collaboration. Both the European Commission and national governments should consider strengthening support of the existing institutions that demonstrate their potential. This recommendation concerns the financing of Research Infrastructures, including funding their technology driven upgrades from national sources and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). The recognition of eligibility of the ESIF for this purpose would mean an important asset for advancement of the ERA.