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Research policy

LERU signs up to European Research Area

Munich, 07/17/2012

For the past ten years, the League of European Research Universities, of which LMU is a founding member, has actively supported the establishment of a European Research Area (ERA)  – by contributing to public debate on the topic and by making its views known to European policymakers. Today, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, and Professor Bernd Huber, Chairman of LERU and President of LMU Munich, put their names to a Memorandum of Understanding on a number of matters concerning the reali-zation of ERA. In the document, the universities represented in LERU have agreed to pro-mote the implementation, by the end of 2013, of a series of measures in fields such as the structuring of research careers and doctoral training programs, mobility and gender issues.

The primary objective of the ERA project is to create an infrastructure which ensures that researchers, research institutions and commercial entities enjoy complete freedom of movement, and can cooperate and compete with one another across national frontiers in Europe. According to the timetable agreed by the EU Commission, which has been working on the concept since 2000, ERA should become a reality by the year 2014.

LERU Chairman and LMU President Professor Bernd Huber underlined the importance of the concept: “Freedom of interaction and exchange across interdisciplinary boundaries and na-tional borders is the life-blood of research and scholarship. That is why we need the Euro-pean Research Area. Only if we all work together can we dismantle the barriers that still ex-ist. LERU therefore strongly supports the Commission’s initiative.”

Since its foundation 10 years ago, LERU has taken an active part in the debate on the design of ERA. The organization has issued statements on specific facets of the further development of ERA and position papers on key aspects of the implementation of the concept, such as the removal of impediments to international research careers, the harmonization of doctoral training and the promotion of researcher mobility.

As well as formally approving the Memorandum of Understanding, LERU has signed a second declaration. On the occasion of the presentation by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU Com-missioner for Research, of a communiqué on the progress of the ERA project, entitled “A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth”, the European Commission and several organizations representing European universities issued an agreed statement entitled “On Working in Partnership in Achieving the European Research Area”. Joining LERU among the signatories were the European University Association (EUA), the European Association of Research and Technology Organizations (EARTO), NordForsk, which promotes Nordic research cooperation under the aegis of the Nordic Council of Ministers, and Science Europe, the Association of European Research Funding Organizations.

These documents, together with earlier LERU publications, are available for download on the LERU website at


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