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European Networks

Norwegian researchers take note: the ERA-Net scheme is here to stay. The scheme comprises European networks between administrators and policymakers whose goal it is to realise a European Research Area some time in the future. FUGE is affiliated with three ERA-Nets, which implies among other things that more funding is available for Norwegian researchers.

The goal of the ERA-networks is to create a framework for better coordinated European research and policymaking in order to promote the establishment of a European Research Area (ERA).

The subject specific networks are intended to refine methods for collaboration between research-financing and policymaking institutions. This in turn should enhance the coordination of nationally financed R&D beyond the current level. The purpose is to promote better use of research resources in Europe, to strengthen Europe's role as a player on the international research arena and to contribute to the further development of ERA.

Wide-ranging activity

The ERA-Nets do not revolve around any prioritised research themes. Activities from any component of the entire research, innovation and technology sphere may be coordinated via an ERA-Net. Such activities may comprise all or parts of research programmes or similar initiatives which have been strategically planned and implemented on a national or regional level.

Moving toward ERA-Pluss

ERA-Nets are financed by the European Commission, usually for a 3-year period. Support from the EU may be used for coordinating measures, but costs associated with research activities must be covered by the respective partners in the individual ERA-Net.

A network can be planned in four stages: 1) Systematic exchange of information, 2) Strategic activities, 3) The implementation of joint activities, and 4) Multinational research.

All ERA-Nets must seek to implement the first two stages, while those that achieve all four stages announce research funding for transnational research collaboration in Europe. The EU's Seventh Framework Programme includes plans for a financing instrument called ERA-Pluss, aimed at funding research from those ERA-Nets that reach stage four and issue funding announcements for transnational research projects.


Funding under FUGE is incorporated into a joint European funding announcement for the funding of research projects, and Norwegian researchers are eligible to apply. Each country will finance its own national researchers.

ERA-Nets with FUGE participation:
At present, the Research Council of Norway participates in 31 ERA-Nets, of which FUGE takes part in 3:
" The ERA-Net for research and society (ERA-SAGE, Societal Aspects of Genomics)
" The ERA-Net for plant genomics (ERA-PG,
" The ERA-Net for systems biology (ERA-SysBio, Towards an European Research Area for Systems Biology)

ERA-PG: Seeking Structure

The production of plants and plant products is the largest industry in the world, and plant genomics may hold the key to new knowledge and lay the foundation for applied research in the future. At present, ERA-PG consists of 12 partners from 11 countries that are working together to develop a common European programme for plant genome research. The goal of the network is to structure plant genome research in Europe, thus helping to ensure better utilisation of available resources.

More information is available on the network's homepages:

ERA-SAGE: Policy Development

The goal of ERA-SAGE is to design an international learning arena for policy development and the administration of multidisciplinary research and community dialogue within the ELSA-field. ELSA is an abbreviation for "Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects", and involves research on ethical, legal and social aspects of modern technologies. The network has 11 partners form 9 countries, including Canada. The network was launched in June 2005, and a website is currently under construction.

ERA-SysBio: Higher Goals

Systems biology is often called "the new era" in functional genomics research. The goal is for systems biology to provide a deeper understanding of biology. This can be done by integrating fields such as biology, mathematics, information technology and statistics in order to develop models for biological systems.

ERA-SysBio has 13 partners from 12 countries, and was launched in January 2006.

Five of the SysBio partners have joined forces in a pilot project called SysMo. Go to

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