Press Release No. 49 | November 23, 2023

“National Action Plan for the European Research Area Has Potential to Create Genuine Added Value”

DFG supports the broad positioning of the planned Forum.EU and the federal government’s commitment to a research-friendly regulatory framework at EU level

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) welcomes the adoption of the “National Action Plan for the European Research Area” by the federal government on 15 November. Developed under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Action Plan defines guidelines and fields of action that set out how Germany will seek to contribute to the common European objectives to be achieved by 2027 as formulated in the “Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe”. It also provides for the establishment of a “German Forum for European Research and Innovation Policy” (Forum.EU) so as to promote coherence between regional, national and European research policy.

“The planned involvement of a large number of stakeholders in Forum.EU, including the various federal and state government departments in particular, has the potential to create genuine added value,” said DFG President Professor Dr. Katja Becker, “since a lot of the issues that are key for research in the European Research Area are not only the responsibility of the research ministry but also of other ministries and departments, including a wide range of regulations in the area of data and digitalisation. In future, Forum.EU will enable the concerns of research in Germany relating to research-related issues to be put forward even more effectively at EU level.”

In particular, the DFG supports the federal government’s commitment to a more research-friendly organisation of numerous framework conditions at EU level as envisaged in the Action Plan, for example with regard to the conditions that apply to data usage. Prior to the development of the “National Action Plan”, the DFG advocated such an approach in a BMBF consultation with the research organisations and other stakeholders. Under the “Future Research and Innovation Strategy”, too, the DFG sought to be actively involved in the process of making the European regulatory framework as research and innovation-friendly as possible.

“For this reason, we would be delighted if in future the federal government were to ensure that the National Action Plan includes other policy areas where a commitment to research-friendly regulations at EU level can likewise be crucial,” said Becker. “This applies in particular to animal research, genetic research and research on and with any kind of biological material from other countries. The increasingly rigorous legal requirements and administrative procedures in this area are jeopardising the competitiveness of German research in some cases, thereby encouraging research activities to be relocated to non-EU countries.”

The DFG has long been in favour of a European Research Area that establishes the necessary framework conditions for the best research worldwide, based on a sensible dovetailing of national and European legislation and with the appropriate involvement of the research community. A new framework for this was created by the Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe in 2021. The EU Commission, EU member states, associated states and research organisations contribute to the realisation of the Pact’s priorities through the European Research Area Policy Agenda (ERA Policy Agenda). In this way, the DFG is involved in shaping and implementing individual measures under the ERA Policy Agenda. The National Action Plan for the European Research Area supports implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda at national level.

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