Organising and Funding Research at a European Level
It is difficult to organise research at a European level and the reasons for this are examined. Although an international collaborative activity, research is frequently perceived in nationalistic terms, primarily because it is viewed as leading directly to economic benefit. Despite this, a number of initiatives have been established at the European level since the 1950’s. Their history is somewhat erratic and is now dominated by the European Union’s Framework Programme.
Research infrastructures need to be considered at the European level and have been the reason behind many of the collaborative European developments in the past. They are essential for the development of research and are frequently beyond the capabilities of any single nation to finance them. Here, there is a clear case for a European approach. The problems of organising research at a European level arise from the complex structures which exist and the many conflicting interests. In addition, there is the paradox of science itself which is both collaborative and an intensely competitive activity. The case of the European Science Foundation demonstrates these difficulties in developing “European” research.
Finally, the proposal for a European Research Area is discussed with the conclusion that new structures are needed in Europe in order to support globally competitive basic research.
KeywordsMember Organisation European Level European Research Research Infrastructure European Economic Community
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