Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap concerning the future of the European research area - Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap concerning the future of the European research area
CSC agrees with the need to revitalise ERA in order to leverage the potential of European R&I in enabling the ecological and digital transitions that Europe is facing. From CSC’s point of view the main building blocks of a successful ERA are sufficient and strategically directed research funding, state-of-the-art research infrastructures, availability and quality of research data as well as policies that promote competence development, diversity and mobility of researchers.
It is of utmost importance to ensure sufficient funding levels for R&I activities in the upcoming multiannual financial framework and to focus on excellence as the main criterion when allocating funds. Sufficient part of the funding must be directed towards new research infrastructures while making sure that the existing ones are leveraged to their full capacity. Different types of infrastructures must be developed in coherence. For example, the interactivity of computing and data infrastructures must be ensured and the linkage between EuroHPC and EOSC strengthened. As research becomes increasingly data-intensive, it is crucial to ensure the sustainability of the underlying infrastructures that enable multi-disciplinary research, to tackle grand challenges.
In addition to building data infrastructures, attention must be paid to developing data management practices that ensure the availability and quality of research data. Data management must be recognised as an integral part of the research process and developed based on the principles of open scholarship (see https://www.knowledge-exchange.info/projects/project/open-scholarship) as well as a comprehensive interoperability framework, where different levels of interoperability are developed in coherence. The European Interoperability Framework (https://ec.europa.eu/isa2/sites/isa/files/eif_brochure_final.pdf), developed by the European Commission, should serve as an inspiration and guideline. Considering that ERA is expected to emphasise health research in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, due attention must be paid to the need for cross-border exchange of health data and its secondary use for research purposes.
In order to ensure high-quality research, attention must be paid to competence development of researchers. This requires closer links between education and research and the related European bodies and policies (EHEA, ERA, EEA). Gender imbalances and other inequalities in academia must be addressed in order to ensure the diversity of research topics and approaches. Mobility of researchers must remain a priority as it can contribute to not only diversity but also competence development as it promotes circulation of knowledge, including on research infrastructures and data management practices.