ERA Hubs – What, Why, and How?

In November 2021, the Council adopted conclusions on the governance of the European Research Area (ERA) and a Pact for research and innovation (R&I) in Europe. These documents defined the priorities and policy agenda for the ERA in the coming years. The ERA Policy Agenda identified a catalogue of ERA actions for the period 2022-2024. One of those actions focused on ‘building up R&I ecosystems to improve regional/national excellence and competitiveness’. The main outcome associated to this action is the definition and piloting of the ERA Hubs: a concept that is intended to foster the emergence and development of competitive R&I ecosystems across the EU and to ensure the flow of talent and investments across territories. Following a place-based approach, the ERA Hubs are expected to promote the development of vibrant ecosystems as a key factor sustaining growth and resilience at local and regional level. The COOPERATE project is set to define and test the ERA Hubs concept through co-creation arenas gathering quadruple helix actors from diverse ecosystems. The aim is to foster mutual understanding and cooperation around commonly defined lines of action. The involvement and active participation of stakeholders in these co-creation processes is considered key to ensure that the ecosystem and its actors are committed and work towards shared objectives. A platform to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange across regions, sectors and disciplines will also be developed during the project. This platform will focus on knowledge production and circulation, talent mobility and absorption, as well as a better uptake and exploitation of research results. With a strong human-centred focus and an eye on societal needs, the approach will also improve the coordination of structures involved in knowledge production within and across regional ecosystems, hence reinforcing the European Research Area.The piloting phase will test the approach in three ecosystems across Europe to refine and consolidate the framework. These experiences will be the basis to develop policy recommendations for the future upscale of the ERA Hubs as a key European flagship initiative to promote excellent conditions for R&I at regional and local level.

*The COOPERATE project is funded by Horizon Europe, the European Commission´s Framework Programme for R&I, under the WIDERA Work Programme (HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-ERA-01-30).