VERA – Forward Visions on the European Research Area

VERA is funded by the European Union's FP7 programme for research,
technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 290705

Project Structure

As shown in the graphical presentation (see below), the VERA workplan comprises six supporting workpackages which are interlinked through well defined interfaces. VERA is conceptualised as a continuously progressing communication process engaging a growing number of actors in the strategic conversation on ERA. Accordingly, the communication strategy set up by Workpackage 6 that coordinates the physical and web-based stakeholder engagement in all WPs is the backbone of the project. WP6 activities will make sure that relevant users and stakeholders are engaged in an appropriate manner and international perspectives are integrated as required. Workpackage 1 will take stock of forward looking activities on research and innovation inside and outside of Europe and assess their usefulness for policy making and implications for ERA. 

Workpackage 2 further investigates trends and drivers in the evolution of ERA through a semantic analysis of European and international discourse on ERA and STI governance as well as interviews with outstanding thinkers inside and outside the ERA that will provide fresh and challenging perspectives beyond the mainstream discourse. WP2 concludes with an interactive stakeholder workshop where the factors to be taken into account in the scenario building will be selected. 

The decision on the ERA key factors forms Milestone 1 of the VERA project.

Workpackage 3 is dedicated to developing scenarios of different trajectories for the governance of ERA through a series of two interactive workshops each with tailored stakeholder and expert participation. The scenarios will embrace not only gradual evolution but also possible radical and systemic transformation. They will be documented in a visual format suited to foster strategic debate in different contexts. 

Workpackage 4 will assess the scenarios with respect to the ERA Vision 2020 and in particular discuss the consequences of different ERA scenarios for the capability of ERA to make Europe more innovative and more capable of solving the challenges ahead. This will be done on different levels and for different sectors. 

The assessment will lead to a decision on the key strategic debates to be set up in WP5 (Milestone 2

Finally, Workpackage 5 is dedicated to spelling out implications for EU level research and innovation policy. In addition it will offer support to different processes and actors in translating the collective anticipatory intelligence emerging from WP1-4 into their own specific decision making context and deliberative structures. In particular, WP5 will support activities for joint action of all sorts, including – among many different options that might emerge in the process – the pooling ERA resources around certain societal challenges through joint programming initiatives. For this purpose a series workshops focussing on different strategic aspects are foreseen. 

Workpackage 7 oversees the project management and financial reporting as well as the quality control through the internal board and external reviewers. Both Milestones will be reviewed by three external advisors.