The Guild’s response to the Competitiveness Council on ERA Governance
Responding to the Competitiveness Council meeting of 28 September, The Guild reaffirms its support for the draft Council Conclusions in three key areas. The Guild also joins 15 higher education networks in urging the Commission and the member states to include stakeholders in the co-creation and implementation of ERA governance.
1. The Guild strongly agrees with the majority of voices we heard that argued for full participation in the ERA Forum for closely aligned Third Countries, based on shared values and the deep connectedness of the R&I systems. This will typically be expressed in association to Horizon Europe, but this is not sufficient: suspending ERA participation every seven years when association is being re-negotiated would provoke chronic instability and uncertainty within the ERA Forum. It would undermine an essential purpose of ERA, to build long-term and trusting collaboration among European and national research and innovation systems. The Guild fully concurs with the view expressed in the Council, that Europe’s technological sovereignty depends on collaboration, including outside the EU/EEA.
2. As highlighted by almost every member state, effective stakeholder representation at the national and EU levels is essential for the buy-in and implementation of the ERA. The Guild therefore urges member states to accept the Presidency proposal, that R&I stakeholders have appropriate representation in the ERA Forum. Similarly, in line with the Presidency proposal, The Guild suggests that the membership of the ERA Forum sub-groups is open to any R&I organisation with the demonstrated expertise and capacities to contribute effectively to the thematic discussions.
3. The Guild welcomes the consensus among member states that unnecessary bureaucracy in the implementation of ERA must be avoided. At the same time, we emphasize the importance of transparency and accountability amongst all actors, to ensure that the outcomes are verifiable and measurable. It is important that all member states commit to realising the European Research Area, and that they follow up on this commitment.
Together with 15 other higher education networks, The Guild is also issuing a joint letter to reiterate to the member states and the European Commission the added value of including European R&I stakeholders in the ERA governance system, especially in both its co-creation and implementation. The signatories strongly support the proposal of the Slovenian Presidency that R&I stakeholders would have an appropriate representation in the ERA Forum.
4 October 2021