Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap concerning a Pact for Research and Innovation - Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap concerning a Pact for Research and Innovation
CSC welcomes the idea of assembling the key values and principles of the European Research Area (ERA) in a single legal act and agrees that a Council Recommendation is the appropriate instrument for this purpose. The resulting ‘Pact for Research and Innovation’ will give a further boost to ERA and help it leverage the potential of European R&I in enabling Europe’s green and digital transition.
One of the aims of the Pact must be to develop collaborative, federated and interoperable research ecosystems that allow for sharing research infrastructures, data, tools, methods, skills and competences across borders and sectors. This requires efforts to strengthen collaboration and trust between Member States, institutions and research communities, as well as sustainable investments in European state-of-the-art research infrastructures that enable convergent use of data, computing and AI capacities. Such infrastructures must be cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable, building on top of existing infrastructures and leveraging work already done within the framework of European RIs and e-Infrastructures.
When considering the environmental sustainability of the digital infrastructures for research, their dual role in impacting the green transition must be acknowledged: on one hand, they are instrumental for conducting research that helps to fight climate change and protect the environment; on the other hand, their own power consumption and the resulting emissions are often very high. The Pact must look for ways to increase the positive impact and reduce the negative one.
CSC is pleased to note that openness, excellence and mobility of researchers are explicitly mentioned in the roadmap as key values and principles that the Pact aims to reaffirm. When it comes to openness, the interpretation must be as broad as possible and cover all aspects of open science and research. Multi-disciplinarity must be cherished and supported in every way. Open access to not only research data, but also tools and methods, must be ensured. Data management must be recognised as an integral part of the research process and developed based on the FAIR principles and the European Interoperability Framework. Publicly funded research data must always be available free of charge, even if it relates to an article published behind the paywall of a scientific publication. The EU must develop ways to increase sustainable open access to research publications.
Excellence must be supported by securing a sufficient level of investments for R&I in Europe as well as by promoting global academic cooperation based on reciprocity and jointly agreed global standards and practices for e.g. data management. Mobility of researchers must extend to the whole world in order to promote maximal knowledge circulation and diversity in academia. Diversity must be recognised as an important success factor, and it must be interpreted broadly to include not only gender equality but improved inclusion of all under-represented groups in order to ensure diversity of thought and, as a result, diversity of research fields, topics and approaches.
Finally, as higher education and research go hand in hand, CSC would like to see more connections between the European Research Area and the European Education Area. We believe, that aiming for more synergies between these areas, more excellence and impact can be created.