31 Dec 2006   |   20 pages   |  

The 5th Freedom: Research in Europe

In April 2007 Janez Potocnik, EU Science and Research Commissioner, launched a grass roots campaign to reform Europe’s research structures. The overall aim: to push for better planning, more money and greater flexibility in scientific research.

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Potocnik dubbed this the Fifth Freedom of the European Union.That is, he wants to add a single European Research Area to the single markets created for the movement of goods, services, capital and people. The Commissioner kicked off the debate with the publication of a Green Paper soliciting public comment on proposals including coordination of national R&D budgets to avoid duplication and achieve economies of scale, new career structures and employment terms to allow researchers to move between institutions in different countries, and more funding for big science projects.