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Ministers to discuss European Research Area governance issues


Topics for debate include role of research organisations and countries associated to Horizon Europe

EU ministers responsible for research will meet on 28 September to discuss how best to govern the European Research Area, a suite of policies to align and integrate member states’ national R&D efforts.

The direction of an ongoing ERA revamp is of crucial importance to universities, as it lays the foundations for cross-border research in and beyond the EU, touching on topics from brain drain to data sharing. University associations have repeatedly raised concerns about being shut out of the redesign.

The Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, which runs from June to December, sent out some starter questions for the meeting on 17 September, including on the role of universities and other research organisations.

Debate prompts

“How often do you…engage with stakeholder organisations…and how should stakeholders at the EU level be involved more systematically [with ERA governance]?” the presidency asked ministries to mull, referring to discussions with groups such as university associations.

Ministers will also discuss how “political ownership” of the ERA can be strengthened, and how much non-EU countries should be allowed to steer the ERA. One prompt asks ministers whether non-EU countries associated to the bloc’s Horizon Europe R&D programme should have a different role.

At the same meeting, ministers will give their final approval to the EU’s ‘global approach to research and innovation’, designed to guide how the bloc forms and maintains its international links.