Towards European Science
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Towards European Science

Dynamics and Policy of an Evolving European Research Space

Edited by Linda Wedlin and Maria Nedeva

Since the concept of the European Research Area was launched at the beginning of this century, significant effort has been made to realise the vision of a coherent space for science and research in Europe. But what is such a space, and how is it developing? This timely book analyses the dynamics of change in policy and governance of science and research within Europe over the past decade. It widens the scope of traditional policy analysis by focusing attention on the interaction between policy rationales, new governance mechanisms, and the organisational dynamics of the scientific field. The contributors build a novel analytical framework to understand the European research space as one shifting from a fragmented space of ‘science in Europe’ to one that is labelled ‘European Science’, and the chapters explore dynamics of this shift through the lenses of political science, organisation theory, science policy and related analytical traditions.
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Chapter 3: European Research Area: an evolving policy agenda

Terttu Luukkonen


This chapter presents the concept of the European Research Area (ERA) with particular attention to its evolution during the ten years’ life time of ERA policy. The Treaty of Lisbon mentions the European Research Area, which gives it a strong legal backing and raises this policy area within the mandate of the EU. In effect, ERA stands for the whole of the Union research policy and reflects changes occasioned by the adoption of new issues on the political agenda. One of important changes in the ERA agenda has been a shift from the structuration of European research efforts, ‘policy for science’, towards emphasising the utilisation of science for answering societal challenges, ‘science for policy’. While earlier EU research funding tools were all Community-based, accompanying the increased emphasis on policy coordination, the ERA tools became a mixture of Community-based and intergovernmental tools. The paper also analyses how the question of excellence gained more prominence on ERA agenda as a result of the debate on the establishment of an ERC (European Research Council).

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