European Research Area

The aim of the European Research Area (ERA) is to create an open labour market for researchers where researchers can move and interact freely, benefit from world-class infrastructures and work with excellent networks of research institutions.

It was created in 2000, is composed of all research and development activities, programmes and policies in the European Union that involve an international perspective, ie cross national boundaries. Together, they enable researchers, research institutions and businesses to circulate, compete and co-operate freely across borders.

Its key aims are to:

  • enable researchers to move and interact seamlessly, benefit from world-class infrastructures and work with excellent networks of research institutions
  • share, teach, value and use knowledge effectively for social, business and policy purposes
  • optimise and open European, national and regional research programmes in order to support the best research throughout Europe and coordinate these programmes to address major challenges together
  • develop strong links with partners around the world so that Europe benefits from the worldwide progress of knowledge, contributes to global development and takes a leading role in international initiatives to solve global issues.

The key initiatives within the ERA focused on researchers are:

  • The European Charter for Researchers and a Code of Conduct for the recruitment of researchers
  • HR Excellence in Research and the human resources strategy for researchers (HRS4R)
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions
  • Innovation Union
  • European Research Council.

The European Commission publishes updates on progress in creating the European Research Area. The latest report was published in 2013.

European partnership for researchers

The aim of the European partnership for researchers (EP4R) set up in 2008 is to create a framework within the European Research Area for joint priority actions for different Member States concerning:

  • the systematic opening up of recruitment of researchers, including advertising vacancies on the EURXESS job portal and portability of grants
  • pensions and social security for mobile researchers, including the establishment of a pan-European pension scheme for researchers
  • attractive employment and working conditions
  • improving training and skills, including creating national skills agendas and strengthening links between universities and businesses.

ERA Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility

The ERA Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility (ERA SGHRM) supports the implementation and the monitoring of progress of the Innovation Union, as well as the implementation of the ERA Communication “A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth” (July 2012) with regard to researchers’ careers and mobility at EU and at national level, including the European Charter and Code, Innovative Doctoral Training and EURAXESS activities, as well as to the attractiveness of Europe to researchers in general.

The ERA SGHRM is composed of Member State representatives. The representatives will provide information on the overall plans devised at national level for the implementation of the European partnership for researchers. They also regularly form working groups on topics relating to researcher careers, including ‘Human Resources issues, including the HRS4R’  and the ’Professional Development of Researchers’.  A list of SGHRM Working Group reports are published on the EURAXESS website.