How and why should stakeholders from the Western Balkans actively participate in the ERA? - Information from DG RTD’s ERA Forum Team

POLICY ANSWERS aims at bringing stakeholders from the Western Balkans closer to the European Research Area and therefore asked the ERA Forum Team of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission to share relevant and up-to-date information on the opportunities and possible steps with the stakeholders. The information is not on an official position of the European Commission, but helpful to understand the governance mechanisms for the ERA.

Which steps do you recommend stakeholders (policy makers but also academia) from the Western Balkans to join ERA?

As countries associated to Horizon Europe, the Western Balkan countries are in fact part of the ERA. Horizon Europe offers opportunities for stakeholders from the Western Balkan to participate in joint research projects with European (and international) universities, research institutions, and businesses on equal footing, gain access to research and innovation networks, and exchange knowledge. Building strong relationships and networks with other European (and international) stakeholders is beneficial for mutual learning and potentially accessing other funding sources. It also fosters access to the latest research and innovation developments, thus helping to improve the performance of national R&I systems. Sufficient public and private sector investment in research and innovation as well as well organised national process to engage with stakeholders are crucial to underpin these endeavours.

Could you describe the process to join the ERA Forum?

In line with the Council Conclusions on the new ERA Governance of November 2021, the Commission has set up an open, online, voluntary stakeholder register to increase transparency in the identification of the ERA stakeholders that wish to be involved in the work of the ERA Forum and its possible sub-groups. However, only EU-level umbrella organisations can become “observes” to the ERA Forum according to the following categories: “universities and other higher education institutions”, “research and technology performing organisations”, “R&I-intensive businesses, including SMEs”, “individual researchers and innovators, including at early- and middle-stages of their carriers”, “research infrastructures”, “R&I-funding organisations” and “academies of sciences”.

What are the main benefits of joining the ERA Forum and other governance bodies and working groups related to ERA?

The ERA Forum is the main innovation under the new ERA. It ensures co-creation between the Member States, countries associated to Horizon Europe, EU-level stakeholder umbrella organisations – which is a novelty – and the Commission in developing and implementing policies that support the objectives of the ERA. The group provides an important platform to share expertise and experiences and to help shape the future of research and innovation in Europe. The ERA Forum is responsible for enhancing coordination towards the effective implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda by supporting all actors in the delivery of the ERA Actions. In that sense it is the “the engine room” of the ERA.

By actively engaging in the ERA Forum participants collectively develop and implement the new ERA, more precisely its joint actions of the ERA Policy Agenda. Participating means being able to influence Europe’s future R&I priorities. By working jointly on concrete actions, the Western Balkans are able enjoy another opportunity for mutual learning in partnership with EU Member States, other associated countries, and European R&I stakeholders with the ultimate aim to strengthen the R&I community across Europe and further improve national R&I systems and performances.


Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • General

Entry created by Admin on May 15, 2023
Modified on June 12, 2023