European Research Area (ERA)
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The Lisbon Treaty defines the European Research Area (ERA) as a unified research area open to the world and based on the Internal Market. The ERA enables free circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology.
The implementation of the European Research Area is also part of an Innovation Union Flagship Initiative, endorsed by the European Council. The European Union and its Member States are also called upon to strengthen their scientific and technological bases, their competitiveness and their capacity to address grand challenges collectively.
The initial political concept of the ERA was launched by the publication of the Communication Towards a European Research Area in 2000. The main objectives of this initiative were to boost Europe's competitiveness, to improve the coordination of research activitites on national and European level, to develop human resources, and to increase the attractiveness of European research to the best researchers from all over the world. The Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration was seen as the most important instrument for the implementation of the European Research Area.