On 13 October 2023, the ALLEA Working Group on the European Research Area (ERA) convened a hybrid meeting in Tirana, hosted by the Academy of Sciences of Albania. The working group expressed its eagerness to actively participate in shaping the next ERA Policy Agenda and the forthcoming EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP10), thereby highlighting its commitment to the ERA’s advancement and to creating opportunities for European and national policymakers to engage with the insights and perspectives of European Academies.
Professor Skënder Gjinushi, President of the Academy of Sciences of Albania, officially welcomed the working group members who were present and stressed the vital importance of research collaboration within the European Union (EU), while calling for the expansion of the number of states participating in the ERA beyond the bloc. Professor Arben Merkoçi, Chair of the ALLEA Working Group on the ERA, and representing the host academy, opened the meeting, which involved representatives from 17 European academies.
The meeting kicked off with an engaging discussion concerning the future of the ERA. Key topics debated included the European Commission’s proposal for the next ERA Policy Agenda within the Expert Group on the ERA Forum for Transition, in which ALLEA is participating as a stakeholder organisation. The working group generally welcomed the efforts by the European Commission and the Member States in the ERA Forum to deepen research collaboration in the ERA, as well as the move to streamline actions and reduce complexity. It also highlighted the importance of effective communication and emphasised expanding stakeholder engagement and contextualising actions within a broader political narrative.
Another central issue discussed was the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP10). Based on the position it had recently submitted to the European Commission, the working group agreed that the central action points in the ERA Forum should also be reflected in the guiding principles for FP10. These principles should include: widening participation, open science, global scientific collaboration, research integrity, academic freedom, a healthy and effective science-policy interface, sustainable research careers, and responsible use of generative AI in research.
About the ALLEA Working Group on the European Research Area
The ALLEA Working Group on the ERA aims to contribute to the further development of the ERA, its political framework, implementation and monitoring. The breadth of expertise and geographical representation of the group’s membership aptly reflects the heterogeneity of the ERA itself. Chaired by Professor Arben Merkoçi of the Academy of Sciences of Albania, the working group engages with European institutions, particularly the European Commission, and collaborates with like-minded umbrella organisations from the European research and innovation landscape.