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IP/09/1424

Brussels, 6 October 2009

European Research: experts call for a new renaissance

Today, the European Commission welcomed the first European Research Area Board (ERAB) annual report "Preparing Europe for a New Renaissance - A Strategic View of the European Research Area" . This report outlines how the European Research Area needs to develop by 2030 – for the sake of the EU, and of the world at large. Set up by the Commission to advise on the realisation of a European Research Area (ERA), this high-level advisory group, chaired by Prof. John Wood, is composed of 22 recognized members from the fields of science, academia and business.

Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for Science and Research said,: "I warmly welcome this first ERAB annual report, which provides a clear vision of what the European Research Area should aspire to . Its recommendations, some of which have already found their way into President Barroso’s political guidelines for the next Commission, will stimulate new discussions on how to address the challenges facing European research and usher in a new ‘Renaissance’. This Strategic View fully vindicates the trust I have placed in ERAB to advise me and the Commission on how we can facilitate the development of a true European Research Area."

In its first annual report, ERAB lays out a broad view of what is needed to accomplish a new "Renaissance" in European research. Based on the key challenges facing mankind today, ERAB invokes the memory of the revolution in thought, society and science during the Renaissance as an appropriate setting for the necessary changes in the way we think, work and research today. For this purpose, it identifies six main areas in which it considers action must be taken:

  • the creation of a united ERA

  • the solution of our Grand Challenges (climate change, energy supply, ageing societies, etc.)

  • the interaction of science and society

  • the collaboration of public and private sectors in open innovation

  • the encouragement of excellence, and

  • the promotion of cohesion

ERAB also highlights the need for an independent voice of research ultimately linked into the political process, and, amongst other tasks, gives independent advice,. This recommendation was recently echoed by Commission President Barroso who announced the creation of a Chief Scientific Officer who “has the power to deliver proactive, scientific advice throughout all stages of policy development and delivery.”

Moreover ERAB stresses the need to restore trust between science and society, with a new social contract based on the ‘3 Rs’ : " R igour in decision making, political or scientific; R espect for our fellow man, scientist and environment and R esponsibility for our own actions as scientist and citizens".

Finally, the report sets milestones by which to measure progress in the years ahead. Over the coming months, ERAB will be elaborating on these six points in its research, communications and meetings with key stakeholders of the ERA.

Background

ERAB, the successor of the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) which finished its mandate at the end of 2007. It was created by the Commission in 2008with the aim to provide independent and authoritative advice to the European Commission on European research and science policy, whose objective is to realise a European Research Area.

ERAB’s main tasks are:

  • to advise the Commission on the realisation of a European Research Area;

  • to deliver opinions on the realisation of a European Research Area at the request of the Commission or on the Board's own initiative;

  • to provide the Commission with an annual report on the current state of the European Research Area.

ERAB consists of 22 high-level professionals (see annex) from the fields of science, academia and business, appointed in a personal capacity for terms of office lasting four years.

For additional information on ERAB: http://ec.europa.eu/research/erab/

Previous IP: ERAB nomination: IP/08/565

List of ERAB members

Dr. Reinhold ACHATZ , Corporate Vice President, Siemens AG, Corporate Technology, Corporate Research and Technologies (DE)

Dr. Robert AYMAR , Former Director General of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)(CH); Scientific Counsellor to the Administrator of CEA (FR)

Dr. Lajos BALINT , Director of International Relations, National Information Infrastructure Development Institute (HU)

Dr. Jean J BOTTI , Chief Technical Officer, EADS (DE)

Dr. Adelheid EHMKE , President, European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS (BE)

Prof. Frank GANNON , Director General, Science Foundation Ireland (IRL)

Dr. Barbara HAERING , Chief Executive Officer, ECONCEPT Inc. (CH)

Prof. Sir David KING , Founding Director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment - University of Oxford (UK)

Dr. Leif KJAERGAARD , President of LEIF and FOOD SCIENCE, former Chief Technology Officer of Danisco A/S, (DK)

Prof. Marja MAKAROW , University of Helsinki (FI), and Chief Executive, European Science Foundation (FR)

Prof. Karol MUSIOL , Rector, Jagiellonian University, Krakow (PL)

Prof. Zaneta OZOLINA , Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia (LV)

Prof. Maria Cristina PEDICCHIO , Faculty of Sciences, Università di Trieste and President, Cluster in Biomedicine (CBM) (IT)

Prof. Alain POMPIDOU , Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) (FR)

Prof. Carlos Maria ROMEO-CASABONA , Director, Inter-University Chair in Law and the Human Genome, University of Deusto and University of the Basque Country (ES)

Dr. Unni STEINSMO , President, Chief Executive Officer, SINTEF (NO)

Prof. Lena Treschow TORELL , President, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (SE)

Dr. Jan VAN DEN BIESEN , Vice-president Public R&D Programs, Philips Research (NL)

Prof. Georg WINCKLER , Rector, University of Vienna, former President, European University Association (AT)

Prof. John WOOD , Imperial College London (UK)

Dr. Ingrid WÜNNING TSCHOL , Head of Science and Research, Robert Bosch Stiftung (DE)

Prof. Nüket YETIS , President, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TR)


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