The European Research Area (ERA) was launched in 2000

The European Research Area (ERA) was launched in 2000, in the context of the Lisbon strategy, to address the fragmentation of the EU’s research and innovation system, which at the time consisted of the juxtaposition of the national R&I systems and an EU level funding programme.

It aims at building a common scientific and technological area for the EU. Creating a single market for research and innovation fostering free movement of researchers, scientific knowledge and innovation, and encouraging a more competitive European industry. This involves restructuring the European research landscape towards more cross-border cooperation, continent-wide competition, building of critical mass and coordination, and the improvement of national research policies and systems.

Since 2009, achieving the ERA has also become an explicit Treaty objective, as expressed in Article 179 TFEU.


The ERA: 20 years on

In order to ensure that a new ERA is fit for the challenges ahead of EU, the Commission proposes a new vision based on the following strategic objectives, which can only be achieved in partnership with Member States. The fourth objective consist of deepening the ERA in existing priorities, whereas the other three objectives will broaden the ERA towards new priorities.

Prioritising investments and reforms: to accelerate the green and digital transformation and to increase competitiveness as well as the speed and depth of the recovery.

Improving access to excellence: towards more excellence and stronger R&I systems across the whole of the EU where best practice is disseminated faster across Europe.

Translating R&I results into the economy: R&I policies should aim at boosting the resilience and competitiveness of our economies and societies.

Deepening the ERA: to further progress on the free circulation of knowledge in an upgraded, efficient and effective R&I system, in particular by moving from an approach of coordination towards deeper integration between national policies.

The ERA FABRIC project is to implement a new ERA Hubs concept across different geographies and structures in Europe, based on common compliance criteria. The process acts as an incentive for advanced ecosystems to seek recognition, and for less advanced ecosystems to reach the criteria facilitating support from European, national and regional level.

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