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University group sets out European Research Area priorities

Image: Jonas Bengtsson [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Cesaer wants to help EU tackle academic freedom, research investments and more

Cesaer, an association of European science and technology universities, has set out its priorities among the 20 potential priority actions for the European Research Area policy package that are being considered by EU member state governments.

In a position paper published on 24 June, Cesaer said it was engaging with all 20 of the potential priorities, but highlighted 12 that were of particular importance to the group.

These included the reform of research assessment, making research careers more attractive, academic freedom, gender equality and R&D investment.

Cesaer offered the EU its assistance on taking the actions forward. Its president, Rik Van de Walle, said: “Academics and their institutions are agents of the great changes and transformations needed to help tackle tremendous local and global challenges. Achieving an ERA in which scientific knowledge and technology and their bearers circulate freely…is a key enabler for our community to assume our societal responsibilities.”

Help with surveys and monitoring

Among the support actions offered, Cesaer said it could help to design surveys and monitoring systems, and provide advice on several topics.

On academic freedom, it offered to “support the design and development of a monitoring system” on freedom, research integrity and institutional autonomy.

With regard to R&D investments, it offered to “participate in policy and technical discussions guiding the planning, monitoring and reporting on targets, and analysis thereof, related to the achievement of sustainable funding levels and ensuring a balance between competitive and non-competitive funding streams on all geographical levels”.

Governments have been asked to state by the end of June which of the potential ERA priority actions they want to take forward and how, with discussion of those preferences expected in September. Proposed priorities must receive the backing of at least half of the 27 EU member states to be taken forward in the near term.