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What is ERA

The origin of the concept of creating a European Research Area (ERA) dates back to 2000 and was again stimulated in 2007 to work towards the overall goal of optimising research programmes by making national and regional research more coherent. The most recent development, the “ERA Vision 2020” was adopted in 2008 and endorses the “Fifth Freedom” and states that the “European Research Area is firmly rooted in society and responsive to its needs and ambitions in pursue of sustainable development”.

An important task of ERA activities in specific fields is to build pan-European networks between organisations and persons involved in those areas, to organise these networks and to transfer results to the broadest possible user groups. Due to this,ERA activities can be seen as an enabler for the effort to build a Single Information Space in Europe for the Environment. In order to understand the European Research Area “ICT for environmental sustainability” it is necessary to take the different actors and initiatives (including research programmes, projects and actions) into account. Results from the scientific surveys and the networking events within the ICT-ENSURE project show that the importance of inter-disciplinary exchange and communication between different user groups has been repeatedly stressed. The integration of information sources and to facilitate access to and exchange of information between actor groups is one of the main challenges for ICT in the context of environmental sustainability.