On Wednesday 6 April, the ALLEA Working Group European Research Area (ERA) met in Stockholm for its first in-person meeting. Representatives of European Academies gathered at the premises of the Royal Swedish Academy as well as remotely to discuss the most pressing issues regarding “a new ERA for Research and Innovation”.
The meeting was opened with a warm welcome and introduction by the Working Group Chair, Professor Kerstin Sahlin (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences & Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities). This was followed by a statement from Professor Volodymyr Radchenko, member of the Working Group who joined the meeting remotely from Kiev on behalf of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. In his statement, Professor Radchenko thanked the European Academies for their ongoing support to Ukrainian researchers fleeing the war and lauded them for taking a clear stance in condemning the Russian invasion, while also calling for more support of researchers and research infrastructures within Ukraine*.
After Professor Radchenko’s moving intervention, ALLEA Board Member Maarten Prak (KNAW) stressed how academic cooperation has always been crucial in the creation of a shared (European) culture and identity, yet he also highlighted that the current war clearly shows that there is still a long way to go in overcoming major obstacles and challenges. This proves how important it is to further build and strengthen a European Research Area which works to promote peace, research integrity, academic freedom, and equal opportunities for all.
ALLEA participates in the ongoing ERA Forum Experts Group meetings as a stakeholder representing the European Academies of Sciences and Humanities. The ERA Forum is co-chaired by the European Commission and EU Member States. Associated countries and representatives of seven types of stakeholders are invited to join the meetings. The Forum has been established to implement and coordinate the objectives of the ERA, particularly by implementing the jointly developed ERA Policy Agenda.
The group generally welcomed the initiative for a stronger ERA and expressed their appreciation that the research community is actively involved in the process of drafting and commenting new policies. Among others, they stressed the importance to focus on excellence, young researchers’ mobility and career development, stopping the brain drain in some central and eastern European countries, international cooperation beyond Europe, research assessment and evaluation, and the opportunities for open science and its potentially dangerous impact on young researchers, the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, as well as research integrity.
In the months to come, the outcomes of this meeting will further inform ALLEA’s feedback to the European Commission. The results of this process are expected towards the end of the year.
ALLEA is very grateful to the Working Group members for their active participation, and we also wish to thank the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy for Letters, History and Antiquities for hosting this meeting and the following dinner. Everyone expressed their excitement of meeting in person again and look forward to shaping the development of a new ERA for Research and Innovation on behalf of the European Academies.
For more information visit the webpage of ALLEA’s Working Group European Research Area (ERA)
*See ALLEA’s European Fund for Displaced Scientists and the response by the scientific community in support of Ukraine for more information on how Ukrainian research and researchers are being supported in and outside Ukraine.