The scientific community and other interested groups and individuals are being asked to help redefine the research landscape in Europe. The European Commission has launched a public consultation to find out how the European research environment can be radically improved. The goal is to achieve the European Research Area (ERA) by 2014, creating a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation. This will enable researchers, research institutions and businesses to circulate, compete and co-operate across borders, increasing growth potential.

European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said, "The need to boost Europe's economy means that we have to get the very best out of our research. It is unacceptable that it is often more attractive and easier for our top scientists to cross the Atlantic than to move across the EU. We want the research community to tell us what they need, so we can work together to tear down barriers to growth and jobs."

The consultation runs until 30 November 2011 and some of the questions the European Commission wants to tackle include: are researchers looking for new opportunities, but finding themselves locked behind national borders, are scientists in need of new research infrastructures to perform and test ideas, and does the research community need more opportunities to share views, realise new projects and create new products and services?

The Commission will draw on input received on these and many other questions to finalise its proposal for an enhanced ERA Framework, to be published before the end of 2012. The Framework will optimise the coordination of research funding across Member State borders, improving the efficiency and the impact of European research.