Press release - LERU and ERA : Let’s make progress !
17 July 2012
Today, LERU and the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the further realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). According to this MoU, LERU will encourage its members to carry out, by the end of 2013, a number of actions, dealing with open recruitment, research careers, gender, mobility, doctoral trainingopen access, knowledge transfer, e-science and scientific cooperation.
Prof Bernd Huber, Chairman, and Prof. Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General, signing on behalf of LERU, emphasized that the creation and realisation of the ERA has always been at the centre of LERU’s attention.
Exactly 10 years ago, in August 2002, LERU published its first ever document, which was a note on the creation of the ERA and the role of research-intensive universities. Five years later, LERU produced an extensive position paper on the future of the ERA, and in 2009 LERU did another note for the incoming Commissioner, Mrs Geoghegan Quinn, on the further development of the ERA.
In each of those documents, LERU expressed its strong support of the concept of a powerful ERA and has acted accordingly.
Over the past ten years, LERU members have developed strategies on different key issues, necessary for the realisation of the ERA. Just to mention a few of them : research careers, doctoral training, knowledge transfer, open access, mobility and, just recently, gender. These strategies are written out in several LERU position and advice papers, and, taking into account LERU’s motto “Leading by Example”, the LERU universities have tried to realise them over the past few years.
And although they have made a significant progress on all of them, it is clear that LERU is not there yet, on all issues with all members.
That is why LERU strongly welcomed the Commissioner’s initiative to join forces in the further realisation of the ERA and worked hard on the content of and the support for the Memorandum of Understanding.
This Memorandum will be the guiding document for LERU’s ERA actions and initiatives in the near future. LERU will encourage its members to carry out the action points contained in it and report on the progress achieved by the end of next year.
During the signing ceremony, Prof Bernd Huber referred in his statement among other things to one specific action : “LERU is prepared to explore the possibility of developing, in a cost-effective way, research cooperation with universities in other EU member states, taking advantage of research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation.”
Together with other stakeholder organisations and the European Commission, LERU also signed today a Joint Statement “on working in partnership in achieving the European Research Area”, and this on the occasion of the presentation of the ERA Communication “A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth” by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn.
Video recording of the signing ceremony
Video recording of the press conference
The documents in relation with the event will all be available at the ERA Portal website: http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/consultation/era_communication_en.htm
---- ENDS ------
Notes for editors
The Memorandum of Understanding and the Joint Statement and all other LERU publications are freely available online at http://www.leru.org
The League of European Research Universities (LERU) is as an association of leading research-intensive universities that share the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research. Founded in 2002, LERU advocates education through an awareness of the frontiers of human understanding; the creation of new knowledge through basic research, which is the ultimate source of innovation in society; and the promotion of research across a broad front in partnership with industry and society at large.
Pictures: Veerle Van Kerckhove