New leap forward for ERA

On 31 July in Brussels, NordForsk – along with the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), the European University Association (EUA), the League of European Research Universities (LERU), and Scienec Europe – signed a memorandum of understanding in which the stakeholders commit to strengthening coordination between EU research institutions and working to harmonise Europe’s research policy.
New leap forward for ERA

Gunnel Gustfsson, Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN and Guðrún Nordal

The new memorandum of understanding represents an important step forward in realising the EU’s objective for forming the European Research Area (ERA): to streamline and optimise European research activities.

NordForsk makes important commitments

The signed document “Memorandum of understanding between the European Commission and NordForsk” includes provisions stating that NordForsk will adapt to the EU's open labour market for career researchers as defined in the European Framework for Research Careers, will provide a foundation for enhancing mobility among researchers in Europe, will strengthen its contribution towards transnational thematic research programmes, and will implement a more wide-ranging “open access” strategy to further increase access to research results across national borders. NordForsk plans to implement these measures by the end of 2013. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN sees the signing of the memorandum of understanding as an important milestone, but believes its success will depend on closer cooperation between the stakeholder organisations and member states as well as close monitoring of the initiative.

“Real change!”

The motivation behind the establishment of the ERA is recognition of the fact that Europe is falling increasingly behind the USA and Japan in the sphere of research. The lack of a collective European research platform means that European research activities are more fragmented and less competitive. Máire GEOGHEGAN-QUINN applauded the stakeholder organisations for their willingness to support the realisation of the ERA. Excellence in research and efficient research infrastructure are critical factors for Europe’s economic growth and welfare. If the stakeholder organisations can work together to realise the ERA, the initiative could represent a very real contribution to addressing the major social and economic challenges currently facing Europe as well as to strengthening overall European competitiveness.

Link to video of the signing ceremony


Written by: Marius Hagen

Photo: Terje Heiestad