France and the European Research Area
The European Research Area (ERA) has three objectives:
- facilitating the circulation of knowledge and movement of researchers;
- reinforcing the attractiveness of Europe’s Very Large Research Infrastructures (VLRI);
- identifying breakthrough innovations.
The ERA was set up to bring about the creation of a genuine "single market for knowledge, research and innovation" by strengthening cooperation between member States and linking their research programmes into a single integrated network.
The European Union’s main instrument for research funding, the European RD Framework Programme, is one of the operational tools used by the ERA.
The 2007-2013 period now drawing to an end falls under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), which has opened up all the programmes funded to international participation. In promoting dialogue between nations, the Framework Programme proposes specific instruments designed to strengthen the political dialogue between EU member States and third countries in the field of scientific cooperation, in particular on shared priorities (climate research, diseases, biodiversity, etc.).
The 8th Framework Programme, known as "Horizon 2020", covers the 2014-2020 period; its primary targets are scientific excellence, industrial leadership, and research aimed at tackling the major societal challenges ahead. Each of these priority targets has its own specific objectives that, once attained, will guarantee Europe’s global competitiveness over the long term whilst fully implementing the ERA and the Innovation Union.
The MAE operates at three levels in this area:
in conjunction with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) and through the action of the science departments of French representations abroad, the MAE encourages third countries to respond to Framework Programme calls for proposals by promoting exchanges of information and transfers of good practices.
alongside the MESR, the MAE engages in dialogue with the European Commission on ways and means of encouraging and reinforcing the opening of the Framework Programme to non-EU member States. The MAE informs and consults with members of the research community in France and gathers feedback on the effectiveness of schemes put in place by the European Commission.
As part of its task of assuring the spread of France’s scientific and technological reputation around the world, the MAE takes the steps necessary to ensure that the programmes and instruments for which it is responsible are incorporated into this outward-looking European dimension. The Ministry is an active partner in the ERA-NET (European Research Area Network) scheme, a series of coordination and cooperation projects at European level between regional and national research programmes, with international ramifications. International ("geographical") ERA-NETs target a third country or region of the world and are designed to bring national planning authorities into closer contact with international scientific cooperation.
Updated : April 2013
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