Our world is changing. We face mounting challenges: of global warming, scarce water, energy shortages and healthcare,to name a few. Their solution will require new ideas, discoveries, talents and innovations – the fruits of research. To achieve them, we must start by changing the way we do research. We must reorganize, to create a truly open European Research Area marked by free movement of people and ideas. We must rethink the way science interacts with politics and society, so our governance is based on best-available evidence. We must rewrite the social contract between the researcher and society, so that freedom of thought is balanced by responsibility for action. We must open our markets, our companies and our knowledge institutions so they work together more productively. Above all, we must create an environment in which the best ideas thrive, the brightest people prosper, and our excellence is rewarded – while at the same time improving the cohesion of our society.
In 2008, the European Commission established the European Research Area Board (ERAB) as the new consultative body responsible for advising the EU on the realisation of ERA. As such, it plays an important role in giving strategic recommendations on the way ahead for ERA. Since its establishment it has worked on a Strategic View of the ERA for 2030. This view is based on the conviction that ERA is strongly embedded in society, responding to the challenges ahead by asking for a revision of the social contract between society and researchers, recommending the opening of European markets, companies and knowledge institutions. The vision identifies six broad areas where action is needed in order to have these big demands, which ask for a fundamental change in the way we think, work and research, become reality:
The Spanish presidency strongly supports the development of ERA and the role of research in future by putting strong emphasis on ERA firmly rooted in society and answering societal demands and on the governance of the stakeholders of ERA.
The “ERAB Stakeholder Conference under the Spanish Presidency” on 6th and 7th of May 2010 in Seville, organised by the Spanish presidency and ERAB, aims to foster further pan-European reflection and debate on science and technology and their relationship with the whole spectrum of society and culture. The objective of the conference is to bring together the most important public and private stakeholders of ERA to discuss the further development and adaptation of ERA and steps for implementation of the ERAB Strategic View for 2030.
The Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, set a challenge to the ERAB Conference in her speech. She asked the Conference to provide her with ten concrete proposals on how research, innovation and science can contribute to addressing society's Grand Challenges, to prepare Europe's post-crisis smart, green economy and society. The ERAB welcomed the challenge. Based on the feedback from the conference delegates and own discussions the ERAB came up with 10 key recommendations.
The aim of the ERAB Conference was to discuss widely with public and private stakeholders the implementation of the Strategic view on European Research Area (ERA). The European Research Area Board (ERAB) welcomes more comments. You may email us RTD-ERAB@ec.europa.eu