Accessibility Tools

The European Research Area (ERA) reflects the European Commission and EU member states’ ambition to create a single, borderless market for research, innovation and technology across the EU. It was first launched in 2000 and a process to revitalise it began in 2018.

ERA’s objective is to help EU member states work together more effectively, by strongly aligning their research policies and programmes. Accordingly, the free circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology will enable better cross-border cooperation, building of critical mass and continent-wide competition.

Learn more about the European Research Area

EUA has been a formal partner in shaping ERA since 2012 and has provided input to its renewal process. Currently, EUA represents the European university sector and coordinates the efforts of 11 university associations in the ERA Forum for Transition, which was established in March 2022. The university sector has constructively contributed to this process and provided extensive input to the development of the first ERA Policy Agenda, for the period 2022-2024. This Agenda sets out voluntary “ERA Actions” to contribute to the priority areas defined in the Council Recommendation on a Pact for Research and Innovation Europe.

Given the importance of ERA for the European research and innovation landscape and the EUA’s long-standing commitment to its advancement, the Association committed to all the 18 ERA Actions included in the Policy Agenda, namely:

• ERA Action 1 on Open Science and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)
• ERA Action 2 on the copyright and data legislative framework
• ERA Action 3 on the reform of research assessment
• ERA Action 4 on promoting attractive and sustainable research careers
• ERA Action 5 on gender equality and inclusiveness
• ERA Action 6 on academic freedom
• ERA Action 7 on knowledge valorisation
• ERA Action 8 on research infrastructures
• ERA Action 9 on international cooperation
• ERA Action 10 on EU R&I missions and partnerships
• ERA Action 11 on the green energy transformation
• ERA Action 12 on the green and digital transition
• ERA Action 13 on empowering Higher Education Institutions
• ERA Action 14 on citizen science
• ERA Action 16 on improving access to excellence
• ERA Action 17 on research management
• ERA Action 19 on the ERA monitoring mechanism
• ERA Action 20 on R&I investments and reforms

EUA is engaged in the activities related to the implementation of the above ERA Actions and continues to represent the interests of the university sector within the ERA Forum. The Association is also committed to contributing to the ongoing discussions on the next ERA Policy Agenda for the period 2025-2027, which is co-created with R&I stakeholders at both European and national levels. In 2023, EUA works to improve the understanding of ERA across universities and foster their engagement with the ERA at national level through the series of webinar “A new ERA for universities”.   

The inclusion of stakeholders in the co-creation of the new ERA through sectorial representation in the ERA Forum for Transition was warmly welcomed by EUA. Over the last few years, EUA had been a strong advocate for the need to build a comprehensive dialogue between the European Commission, EU member states, associated countries and the main research and innovation actors, including universities, to foster the implementation of the new ERA. In October 2021, together with other European research and innovation organisations, the Association published an open letter calling EU institutions to include European research and innovation stakeholders in the governance of the new ERA.

Previously, the EUA has been a strong supporter of the objectives to renew ERA, strongly welcoming the process in 2020. In its initial response, the Association welcomed the Commission’s ambition to broaden and deepen the new ERA, as well as the aim to find synergies with the European Education Area. Later in the same year, EUA further expanded its position on the new ERA, with an input focusing on specific thematic areas of importance to the university sector.

More related content

Follow EUA