Centre for Science and Technology Studies Centre for Science and Technology Studies 2333AL Leiden Zuid Holland 31715273909

Knowledge ecosystems in the new ERA

A comprehensive analysis of the state of play, the design of monitoring mechanisms, and creation of a toolbox of support measures. 

This study specifically addresses the need for a strengthened European Research Area (ERA) through an enhancement of the Knowledge Ecosystems across Europe and their interconnections. By collecting strategic intelligence and piloting potential measures, the study will contribute to the implementation of the ERA Communication specifically in relation to four of its strategic priorities: ’Nourishing talents  for  excellence’,  ‘A  European  Framework  for  Research  Careers’,  ‘Strengthening  the public  science  system  through  synergies  with  the  European  Education  Area’,  and ‘Strengthening innovation ecosystems for knowledge circulation and valorisation’. The study will investigate the organisation and spread of ecosystems at the EU, national, regional  and  local  levels,  the  role  of  specific  actors  active  at  the  core  of  ecosystems  (in particular universities and research organisations), the circulation of knowledge by individual research  &  innovation  talents,  and  the  potential  legal  and  financial  measures  to  support research careers and cooperation. The policy questions underlying this study are:

  • How are Knowledge Ecosystems across the ERA organised?
  • How can Knowledge Ecosystems in ERA be strengthened, both at individual talent and institutional/organisational level?
  • How can the attractiveness of ecosystems for talents and for investments, supporting careers and cooperation, be addressed?

This project will be structured around main ‘thematic’ strands:

  • The ‘knowledge ecosystems’ level (WP 1, 2 & 3) aim at mapping and analysing the organisation and spread of ecosystems across EU, setting the basis also for future initiatives and analyses.
  • The ‘ecosystem actor’ level (WP 4 & 5) focuses on the institutional level and concretely on Higher Education Institutes. It thus covers the ecosystem actor level, without ignoring the many different interactions of ecosystem actors with each other – within and between their sectors (academia, business, wider society).
  • The level of the individual R&I talent (WP 6, 7, 8 & 9) will inform and prepare the implementation of several specific initiatives of the ERA Communication: a large-scale mapping of employment contracts and career development models; of social security and remuneration and of the brain drain problem; and the contribution to an observatory for recurrent monitoring of talent circulation and research careers.

CWTS will be involved in mapping and analysing the knowledge ecosystems and their actors across the ERA (WP1), developing an observatory to monitor progress on the institutional transformation agenda (WP5), defining a European competence framework for R&I talents (WP6), mapping of practices in ERA regarding employment contracts, social security coverage, remuneration, and career development models (WP7) and mapping brain drain and contributing to appropriate solutions which should enable evidence-based and sustainable policies towards balanced brain circulation between Knowledge ecosystems (WP8).




February 2021 until March 2022 (28/03/2022)


AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology, Cecoforma, IDEA Consult, INCENTIM, Catholic University of Leuven, Old Continent, Technopolis Group, ULB Solvay, and WIFO, Austrian Institute of Economic Research

CWTS Staff

Rodrigo Costas, Inge van der Weijden, Alfredo Yegros, Jonathan Dudek, Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner, Maia Francisco



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