In January 2000, the European Commission determined to establish the European Research Area (ERA), which acknowledged the need to introduce a European dimension to careers. This statement was followed in March 2000 by the creation of the Lisbon agenda, a political strategy that goes beyond research policy.
The Council of Ministers agreed that the European Union should make 'Europe the most dynamic and competitive knowledge economy in the world by 2010' (Lisbon Council Conclusions, 2000). This was followed by a further statement in Barcelona 2002, that Europe must raise its investment in research to 3% of European GDP by 2010 (Barcelona Council Conclusions, 2002).
Each of these objectives recognised the importance of the researcher and resulted in political objectives specifically related to the role of the researchers and the need to improve their conditions and career opportunities.
The European Research Area communication and Lisbon objectives fed into a communication from the European Commission in June 2001: ‘A Mobility Strategy for the ERA', whose principle aim was to ‘present a strategy to create a favourable environment for the mobility of researchers in the ERA, in order to develop, attract and retain human resources in research and to promote innovation'.
This was further supported by the Commission's Communication entitled ‘Researchers in the European Research Area: one profession, multiple careers' in July 2003, which provided detailed propositions to ensure the recruitment and retention of researchers in the ERA, including the development of the 'European Charter and Code for the recruitment of researchers'.
The Lisbon objectives were reinforced in a 2004 Council of Ministers' meeting, stating that ‘Human resources are critical for research and development and priority must be given to training, retention and mobility of researchers' Presidency Conclusions European Council, March 2004 (pdf).
The ‘High Level Group', chaired by William Kok, in their November 2004 report entitled ‘Facing the challenge - the Lisbon Strategy for growth and employment (pdf)' (November 2004) also emphasised the need to increase the attractiveness of working conditions in research in Europe.
European Research Area initiatives
European Research Area initiatives for more information on specific activities related to the European Research Area.
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