The European Research Area (ERA) initiative was formally launched by Commissioner Busquin in 2000 as a means of furthering the Lisbon process in the research field. It starts from the premise that many of the problems faced by European research derive from its fragmented nature, with the bulk of resources flowing into national level programmes with limited levels of interchange between them, its officially stated objective is “to combine three related and complementary concepts:
Although the Framework Programmes are an important building block for the ERA, the ERA initiative goes a great deal wider in its scope. In particular it covers the various actions undertaken in the research field under the Open Method of Coordination aimed at advancing the Lisbon Agenda such as the strategy on researcher mobility and the mutual peer review process of Member States’ research policy mixes. Other European level initiatives in the research field such as the road mapping work on Europe’s need for research infrastructures undertaken by the European Scientific Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) can also be seen as contributing to the ERA initiative.
Following the adoption of the 7th Framework Programme the European Commission has published a Green Paper on the future development of the ERA (see http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/index_en.html). The Government Office for Science (formerly the Office of Science and Innovation) staged a stakeholder event on 13 July 2007 to help in the formulation of the UK Government's response to the Green Paper; the papers and documents deriving from this meeting are in the related documents section – this overview document provides: