strong educational and scientific knowledge basie is one of Europe's traditional key assets that has made it possible for our continent to become world class in several research fields. Despite these great achievements, the position of the European research and technological development (RTD) potential is currently being challenged by a rapidly... changing global competition, including the two main rivals, the US and Japan. The European Union (EU) is behind these countries as regards research and innovation output. Moreover, European research is faced with the
implications of globalisation of markets and industries, digitalisation and new technologies, as well as a need to address societal issues such as an ageing population or climate change.
At the same time, the European Union (EU) is facing the uneven distribution of RTD capacities and excellence within its own borders, especially the EU12 countries are lagging behind in this
In order to meet this twofold challenge the EU has to step up its efforts for the creation of a legitimate "European Research Area" that will make the EU more competitive on the international scene, and also encourage the less developed EU member states to invest more and better into research and innovation.
Research, development and innovation (R+D) are of great importance nowadays as regards the competetiveness and economic growth of any given country. In the European Union the Lisbon Strategy considers R+D as a crutial means to enhance european competetiveness. The EU is substansially lagging behind its main competitors (USA, Japan) in this doma...in, furthermore developing countries (China, India) have recently been making
great progress, thus posing additional challanges to our continent. The EU needs to assess the present situation as soon as possible and meet the latest challenges in the most efficient way. In order to achieve this objective, the concept of the European Research Area (ERA) has been elaborated with the aim of reorganising, regrouping and integrating existing structures. The open method of coordination (OMC) is playing an important role in the implementation of this common area. It constitutes an alternative policy-making merthod to pure „intergovernmentalism” and the
„community method”. The OMC in the field of research policy is coordinated by the Scientific and Research Committe (CREST), which provides a forum for member states to share their experience and reach their common goals.