Workshop 6: Widening Participation – A Challenge for an Efficient Research Area

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Central questions workshop 6: Widening Participation – A Challenge for an Efficient Research Area

  • What key factors are responsible for the research and innovation gap in Europe and how can this gap be reduced?
  • What contribution does the "Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation" programme section make to reducing the research and innovation gap? How should new measures in the next Framework Programme be designed to increase opportunities for participation by disadvantaged regions?
  • What contribution can the EU Member States make through bilateral or multilateral cooperation in addition to their cooperation under the Framework Programme?

This workshop was held in English.



  • Ralf Krauter, Scientific Journalist


  • Babett Gläser, Saxon State Ministry of Science and Arts


  • Andrea Conte, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville
  • Luisa Henriques, Counsellor for Research, Permanent Representation of the Republic of Portugal to the EU
  • Stefan Kaufmann, Member of the German Bundestag
  • Sergej Možina, Counsellor for Research, Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the EU
  • Mathias Rauch, Head of the Fraunhofer EU Office Brussels

Further information on the panellists (PDF)

Workshop description

The European Research Area (ERA) is aimed at improving the framework conditions in the areas of research and innovation and at strengthening the competitiveness of Europe based on an economy powered by knowledge-based innovation. The ERA as an open space for research and innovation is intended to enable the free circulation of scientific findings and technologies and a high academic mobility for scientists. Europe can only achieve the greatest possible synergies if national research and innovation systems are competitive and mutually compatible. As a result, the connectivity of less research and innovation intensive EU member states is crucial for the success of the ERA and the socio-economic and political viability of Europe as a whole. The participation in EU research framework programmes is an indicator for the performance of EU member states. Currently there are major differences between the member states both with regard to their involvement and their success in attracting funding. In Horizon 2020, the proportion of grants to the group of Member States having joined the EU in 2004, 2007 and 2013 respectively (so-called EU-13) remains on the low level of the 7th EU research framework programme. The programme area "Spreading excellence and widening participation" introduced for Horizon 2020 makes a contribution to strengthening participation of previously under-represented regions / member states. However, this alone is not sufficient and should be supplemented by further measures such as the involvement of EU structural and investment funds for innovation-focused activities. Overall, further efforts and concrete measures are required both from the European Commission and the member states in order to be able to significantly increase the competitiveness and excellence of national research systems.

The workshop "Widening Participation – A Challenge for an Efficient Research Area" provided an opportunity to discuss potential approaches to spreading excellence in the less research and innovation-intensive regions or member states and increase their opportunities to become involved in the EU framework programme for research and innovation. It is a cross-European goal to reduce this research and innovation divide and a long-term task to further promote cooperation in Europe. This requires individual member states to consider what they can contribute at a national level.