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18.2.5.  Coordination of research in the European Union

    Several scientific bodies assist the Commission and the Council in the coordination of research activities in the European Research Area (ERA). The Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST) is an advisory body on the enhanced governance of the European Research Area, which assists the Commission and the Council in the R & D field by identifying strategic priorities, establishing mutual consistency between national and European policies, and helping to formulate EU strategy with regard to international cooperation [Council Resolution]. The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) advises the Commission on ethical subjects related to research and new technologies, such as the legal protection of biotechnological inventions or the cloning of human beings [Directive 98/44].

    In fact, in order to implement Article 181 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU (ex Article 165 TEC), which requires the Union and the Member States to coordinate their research and technological development activities, the coordination of national and European policies is based as far as possible on European scientific networks, notably CREST. One of the main purposes of this coordination is to help determine the priorities for future R & D activities of the Union bringing European added-value in compliance with subsidiarity, and help improve the use made of the resources available in the European Union. These scientific networks help knit the scientific fabric of the European Union.

    By a decision founded on the EC and Euratom Treaties, the Commission set up a consultative committee referred to as the European Research Area Board [Decision 2008/111]. The tasks of the Board are: (a) to advise the Commission on the realisation of a European Research Area; (b) to deliver opinions on the realisation of a European Research Area, at the request of the Commission, or on the Board's own initiative; and (c) to provide the Commission with an annual report on the current state of the European Research Area. The Board comprises 22 members representing the scientific community, the industry and civil society. The members of the Board are appointed by the Commission on the basis of criteria, such as experience in the design and implementation of research policy and excellence in research and/or research management.

    In the framework of the Lisbon strategy (2001-2010) and following the model of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) aims to contribute to the development of the Union’s and the Member States’ innovation capacity, by involving higher education, research and innovation activities at the highest standards [Regulation 294/2008, last amended by Regulation 1292/2013, see section 13.4.1]. The EIT is financed through the 'Horizon 2020' programme [Regulation 1291/2013]. In the context of the knowledge triangle of research, innovation and education, the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) under the EIT should strongly contribute to addressing the objectives of Horizon 2020, including the societal challenges, notably by integrating research, innovation and education. The EIT should foster entrepreneurship in its higher education, research and innovation activities.

    The ''Europe 2020'' strategy [see section 7.3] has set the target of investing 3% of EU's GDP in R & D, in particular by improving the conditions for R & D investment by the private sector and by launching ''European Innovation Partnerships'' between the EU and national levels. The Flagship Initiative: "Innovation Union" aims to re-focus R & D and innovation policy on the challenges facing European society such as energy security, transport, climate change and resource efficiency, health and ageing, environmentally-friendly production methods and land management, while ensuring that innovative ideas can be turned into products and services that create growth and jobs [COM/2010/2020].

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    Your roadmap in the maze of the European Union.

    Based on the book of Nicholas Moussis:
    Access to European Union law, economics, policies
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    Translated into 14 languages


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