YERUN is an active member of the ERA Forum, namely the group bringing together European Commission, EU Member States and ERA Stakeholders with the objective of advancing the European Research Area.
Building on its commitment ERA and its recommendations for the governance of the new ERA, YERUN will continue to be an active player in the ERA governance and will contribute to its implementation by actively working on the actions proposed in the ERA Policy Agenda 2022-2024.
With this objective in mind, YERUN presents hereby its commitments and activities in relation to the development of the proposed ERA actions.
Acknowledging that not all actions will remain equally high on the EU agenda in coming years, YERUN approaches its commitment to the ERA actions in the framework of its YERUN Strategy 2021-25. This enables both YERUN as a network and its member universities individually to actively contribute to the ERA Policy Agenda. While YERUN believes that all actions are important and necessary for a successful implementation of the ERA, the network’s contribution focuses on those where concrete experience is already available in YERUN. This shows how YERUN can actively contribute to the ERA implementation while also fulfilling the network’s strategic priorities.
Developing Talent while addressing ERA actions 3 and 4
In the context of the YERUN Strategy’s focus area 1 “Talent Development”, the network is deeply committed to Action 3 (Research assessment reform) and Action 4 (Attractive research careers). At European level, YERUN is closely involved in the reform of research assessment and is part of the core group of this EU initiative. At Member State level, several YERUN members are spearheading the modernisation of academic assessment in their national contexts. Nine out of YERUN’s twenty-two members are also included in the coalition on reforming research assessment. YERUN’s commitment will therefore remain very high in the coming years with a long-term perspective of engagement. Concretely, YERUN will:
- Further contribute to the implementation of the EU initiative on the reform of research assessment by supporting the mutual learning exercise and the development of recommendations  to facilitate the change and participate in the identification of barriers, challenges and progress of the reform across the countries represented in the network.
- Support YERUN members joining the coalition to design, pilot and implement new approaches to research assessment, with a particular focus on their further implementation in the context of academic assessment.
- Incorporate the principles of the Agreement on the Reform on Research Assessment  into the assessment of research activities or other research related actions launched by YERUN (e.g. the YERUN Research Mobility Awards and YERUN Open Science Awards are primarily based on qualitative assessment).
- Continue participating in the exchange of best practices, dialogue and mutual understanding among YERUN members on (transversal) skills, intersectoral mobility and talent circulation. Practices on researchers’ collaboration with other sectors, entrepreneurship, innovation, and development of transversal skills with a focus on employability, were collected as part of the YERUN Publication “Food for Careers”: YERUN inspirational practices on enhancing Graduate Employability (March 2020).
- Support the review of the European Charter & Code as well as the development of the European Framework of Researchers Careers and of the ERA Talent platform. YERUN will contribute with the expertise of its members.
- Ensure synergies between the development of academic careers and their assessment, so that activities in ERA Action 3 and Action 4 are connected.
Fostering an Open Culture of Excellence while addressing actions 1, 2, 7, 9, 14 and 17
In the framework of YERUN’s second strategic pillar, which focuses on fostering an “Open Culture of Excellence”, YERUN will actively engage in Action 1 (Open Science), Action 7 (Knowledge Valorisation) and Action 17 (Science management initiative). Concretely, YERUN will:
- Continue being an active promoter of Open Science, which is a priority area for the network since its establishment in 2016. YERUN’s support to all activities related to Open Science and, in particular, to the establishment of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), will remain high in the coming years. Considering that several YERUN members are also members of the EOSC Association, the network will continue to actively communicate on and promote the EOSC activities.
- Mainstream Open Science at research performing organisations by continuing with the annual launch of the YERUN Open Science Awards, an initiative that incentivises Open Science activities, strategies and exchange of practice at member universities.
- Foster a common understanding within the network on what knowledge valorisation means in the new ERA. This will be done through a recently created group of experts that will not only contribute to sharing views and experiences on knowledge valorisation policies and strategies, but also towards the implementation of the Guiding Principles for knowledge valorisation and their accompanying Codes of Practice (the current ones on IP management and standardization, and upcoming ones on citizen engagement and academia-industry collaboration).
- Provide expertise and recommendations on the way forward for the various activities proposed in Action 17 (recognition, upskilling, networking and capacity building) through our established working group of Research Support Offices.
- Explore how YERUN can concretely support research managers, especially on issues related to the connections between EU policies and research projects, and in the preparations and building of collaborations for European projects and research collaborations.
- Strengthen the already fruitful collaboration with EARMA, with whom YERUN shares several of its members, to jointly pursue the goals of this action.
In addition, YERUN will monitor Action 2 (Copyright and data legislation framework), Action 9 (Global Approach) and Action 14 (Citizen Science) by:
- Facilitating the exchange of views, experiences, and practices among Data Protection Officers from the YERUN institutions, thereby having a pool of experts that can provide potential feedback to the ongoing EU data legislation.
- Offering its expertise to further develop the values and principles for international cooperation and to contribute to the European Science Diplomacy Agenda.
- Fostering peer learning among its members and researchers on strategies, methodologies and approaches to bring science closer to citizens.
Strengthening our role of Responsible and Engaged Universities while addressing actions 5 and 13
Regarding our third and last priority area “Responsible and Engaged Institutions”, YERUN envisages an active contribution to Action 5 (Gender Equality and Inclusiveness) and Action 13 (Empowering Higher Education Institutions). Concretely, YERUN will:
- Bring together YERUN experts on gender and inclusiveness in research and academic institutions. Some YERUN members are already involved in EU projects on gender and inclusiveness in education and research (e.g. SPEAR) and all of them have put in place Gender Equality Plans. YERUN will contribute to the regular policy dialogues and Mutual Learning Exercise, to the development of a common concept and policy approach, providing a wider perspective of diversity and inclusiveness.
- Provide information on existing excellence initiatives in which YERUN members are involved, so as to provide a perspective from the universities themselves, in terms of what it entails for them to participate in such an initiative and the benefits and challenges that these initiatives have brought at international, national and regional and local levels. YERUN would be able to provide experts for the Mutual Learning Exercise for setting up excellence initiatives across Europe. As a network, YERUN is available to participate in the studies that will be organised.
- Connect Action 13 to Action 3 and Action 4 on the development of academic careers. YERUN has collected examples on different approaches that its member universities are taking or have taken on ensuring attractiveness of academic careers with strategies of recognition and by adopting a balanced approach on the various activities academics perform (teaching, research, management, etc.), on the collaborations with other sectors, and on ensuring fair and appropriate conditions.
- Provide experts for the envisaged Task Force on sustainable and joint support mechanism for European Universities alliances. YERUN has an internal group with representatives of the 7 European University alliances present in YERUN, with 2 members being coordinators of alliances (EDUC and YUFE).
- Create a new YERUN group (starting in September 2022) of experts from YERUN members on innovative teaching & learning that builds on the work that the network started during the pandemic. This group of experts will also inform YERUN’s input into the Connected Universities consultation group.
YERUN will remain active and supportive to continue the collaboration with other networks of universities and stakeholders to combine efforts and resources towards the full implementation of the ERA.