Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (593)

Neale Richmond


593. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the plans in place for a European research area forum for transition; the priorities of the research area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7006/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

The European Research Area (ERA), which was launched in 2000, aims to achieve a single research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely. There have been many significant achievements over the last 20 years, however progress has slowed in recent years. Member States agree that a renewed commitment is required at national level to reinvigorate the ERA and ensure we maximise the economic and social impact of our investment in research and innovation.

The ERA Forum for Transition will enable the Commission and Member States to work together to agree an approach to implement the ERA priorities. The ERA Forum had its first meeting on the 4 February 2021 and agreed an ambitious work programme for the rest of the year to ensure the effective implementation of the ERA priorities. Officials from my Department are participating in the Forum.

The four ERA priorities agreed by the EU-27 in December 2020 are:

- Ensuring the framework conditions to deepen the ERA are in place, such as promoting attractive careers for researchers, facilitating data sharing and maximising potential synergies between EU and national systems;

- Leveraging the significant contribution that research and innovation can make to achieving our wider policy objectives by embedding research and innovation policy in other areas such as climate change, health, digital and industrial policy;

- Increasing the visibility and relevance of research and innovation for society and encouraging the public to engage in science; and

- Promoting inclusiveness in the broadest sense such as reducing fragmentation and disparities between Member States and ensuring a renewed focus on gender equality.