UNICA and other university associations join forces to advance European Research Area

24 February 2022 | From UNICA

UNICA and other university associations join forces to advance European Research Area

Story highlights:
– Ten university associations work together to advance the European Research Area (ERA) in the context of the ERA Forum;
– EUA will represent the ten associations in the ERA Forum meetings.

A range of leading European university associations, including UNICA, have joined forces through an ‘ERA University associations group’ coordinated by the European University Association (EUA) to help advance the ERA in the context of the ERA Forum.

The ten associations involved in this open, inclusive and informal university association group include: AURORA, CESAER; Coimbra Group, ECIU, EUA, EuroTtech Universities Alliance, The Guild, UAS4EUROPE, UNICA, and YERUN.

Goal of the group

The joining of forces amongst the associations aims at coordinating the advice from the European university sector at the ERA Forum. This follows the publication of the Commission communication A new ERA for Research and Innovation from 30 September 2020, the Council recommendation ‘Pact for research and innovation in Europe’ and conclusions on ‘Future governance of the European Research Area’ from 26 November 2021.

Understanding the ERA Forum

The ERA Forum is a dedicated expert group established by the Commission in the context of a new ERA governance initiated in 2021. This ERA Forum is where the Commission and EU countries co-design and coordinate the implementation of the ERA actions, prepare future updates of the policy agenda and ensure the involvement of Associated Countries, relevant non-EU countries and stakeholders.

This new body was introduced in the conclusions of future of ERA, published on November 2021, the Council, along with twenty ‘ERA Actions’ in an ‘ERA Policy Agenda 2022-2024’.

The voices of European universities in the ERA Forum

In the conclusions, the Council defined that the ERA Forum should “ensure representative involvement at its relevant meetings of EU-level umbrella organisations or other appropriate representative organisations relevant at EU level” of seven types of stakeholders, including universities and other higher education institutions

The discussions with the Council and the Commission clarified that one individual from each of the seven types of stakeholders identified may be present at the meetings of the ERA Forum. The EUA will be representing the European university sector, voicing the positon of higher education institutions represented in the associations of networks of the informal ‘ERA University associations group’.

As a network that is very active in the context of the European reseach landscape and frequently promotes discussions on research policies, programmes and funding, mainly through the UNICA Research working group, UNICA is very proud to integrate this important group and represent the universities of European capitals. UNICA believes that the high-quality and collective input from different communities is essential to achieve an effective and resilient ERA and that this initiative is certainly a step to ensure that vision.

Next steps

A meeting of the ERA Forum is taking place in 25 February with one representative from the EUA representing the European university sector at the meeting. 

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