European Research Area
A unified research area open to the world, based on the Internal market and on the 27 national research systems of the Member States funded from national tax revenues. The Lisbon Treaty at the article 179 defines the area as a space"in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely and through which the Union and its Member States strengthen their scientific and technological bases, their competitiveness and their capacity to collectively address grand challenges". The development of the ERA should overcome the fragmentation of research in Europe along national and institutional barriers. The ERA priorities, as mentioned in the Communication of the European Commission COM(2012) 392 final and to be reached by 2014, are: more effective national research systems, optimal transnational cooperation and competition, an open labour market for researchers, gender equality and gender mainstream in research, optimal circulation, access to and transfer of scientific knowledge including via digital ERA. ERA activities, programmes and policies are designed and operated at regional, national and European level. Examples of progression in building ERA come from: European Commission initiatives, as the European Research Council, ERA-NETs and Marie Curie Actions; Member State initiatives, as the sitting up of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), Joint Programming and European Partnership for Researchers. European Institute for Technology and Competitive and Innovation Framework programme also play a relevant role as instruments at European level.