Careers and mobility, international co-operation, research infrastructures, joint programming and knowledge sharing are today's main concerns of European research actors, according to a report just published by the European Commission. The report draws on over 1000 responses to a public consultation on the Green Paper "The European Research Area: New Perspectives" published in April 2007. The responses show strong overall support to further consolidate the European Research Area through new and more ambitious actions at all levels in the EU – regional, national and transnational.
Respondents also draw attention to crucial interactions between research, education and innovation. Virtually all of the responses from Member States emphasise the need to consider the role of industry in ERA and its links to wider innovation and education policy. Industry itself regrets that the Green Paper focused more on challenges to public research systems and not enough on the central roles of private R&D within ERA and of the linkages between research and innovation.Respondents endorse the use of a variety of instruments to promote ERA – financial incentives, increased EU budget, co-ordination and guidelines. While there is little demand for binding legislation, there is significant support for considering legislative action to improve the careers and mobility of researchers, as well as for a new non-binding legal framework for pan-European research infrastructures.