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Universities call for meaningful involvement in ERA governance

‘Structured’ involvement in governance of European Research Area is needed, Cesaer group says

A group of universities has urged the EU to ensure that in the future higher education institutions have a consistent role to play in the governance of the European Research Area initiative for facilitating the free movement of knowledge and research.

Universities “must be involved in the future governance of the ERA in a structured way and not in an incidental or ad hoc fashion”, the Cesaer group of science and technology universities said in an 8 October position paper, in which it also called for a “reinforced” ERA boosted by “investigator-driven frontier research”.

Cesaer stressed its members’ “genuine” willingness to participate in implementing the ERA. The incoming Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU should “endorse and promote multi-level governance for the ERA”, including at an institutional level, the group said.

It suggested the adoption of a ‘trusted partner principle’ through which “trustworthy” institutions could take on duties in exchange for rights. It said that “key stakeholder organisations [in the ERA] should be those who pledge to commit to specific contributions” to the initiative.

In plans for the ERA published in September, the European Commission said it wants the initiative to support researchers’ careers, research commercialisation and a broader spread of excellence.