MPG supports a Europe that is strong in research

January 29, 2013

The Max Planck Society, together with eight other leading research organisations in Western Europe, has put forward a white paper outlining measures to strengthen the European Research Area.

The 13-page document entitled “Teaming for excellence – Building high quality research across Europe through partnership” describes how European regions with the potential to develop the structures necessary to engage in outstanding scientific work can be teamed with leading research institutions in order to jointly establish centers of excellence. These centers should focus on specific subject areas suited to the region to allow the potential offered by cutting edge science to optimally benefit regional participants in the field of science and the regional economy. “Science is the engine of innovation. And where research is conducted under conditions of excellence, the entire region profits,” emphasised Max Planck President Peter Gruss. At the same time, the teaming concept can provide momentum for the EU as a whole. “Europe’s prosperity is critically dependent on the powers of EU member states to innovate. In view of the intensifying international competition for scientific excellence, it is of central importance not just that we maintain our cutting edge, but that this edge is broadened,” added Professor Gruss.

In addition to citing best practice examples to illustrate the potential of the teaming concept, the white paper also highlights how such a programme could be established within the EU’s multi-year funding framework for 2014-2020. For example, in addition to funds from Horizon 2020, the EU seven-year research framework programme commencing in 2014, resources drawn from the EU Structural Fund could also be used to specifically develop regional infrastructures, provided the regions concerned were to incorporate such financing in their operational programmes. General conditions would include the requirement for the partnership to be sustainably funded, science-driven and capable of delivering a win-win result for those involved.

The white paper is aimed at the political decision-makers who are currently engaged in EU-level negotiations to determine the future form of the Horizon 2020 research framework programme. It was signed by the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the following research organisations: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), Institut Pasteur, League of European Research Universities (LERU), Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and the Max Planck Society.

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