ERA for Green transformation


Part 1: Building an R&I ERA on Hydrogen

The objective of the action is to accelerate the development of the hydrogen economy in the EU through reinforced cooperation.

The Council conclusions of 1 December 2020 invites the Commission and interested Member States to carry out an agenda process for a green Hydrogen R&I ERA pilot action. In this context, Germany together with other Member States has initiated a bottom-up agenda process towards joint R&I activities, to prepare a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda. The Commission is actively participating in this process, including by providing input to the SRIA.

The ‘Agenda Process on the ERA pilot on Green Hydrogen’ was built around three thematic workshops throughout 2021 to identify urgent research and innovation questions for Green Hydrogen competitiveness, and was published on 18 March 2022. DG R&I will support this green Hydrogen ERA pilot with a portfolio of actions at EU level, in synergy with and complementing MS actions in the SRIA, as well as in alignment with the Hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe (COM(2020) 301, Brussels 8,7.2020) and with the Commission staff working document (2022) 15 final on R&I to support the implementation of the Hydrogen Strategy.

A detailed roadmap of actionable activities will follow, based on the outcome of the conference on “Green Hydrogen for a Sustainable European Future” organised by Germany with the support of ERA countries participating to this action that will take place on 16 and 17 May in Berlin, to identify a number of concrete actions and activities for 2022-2023-2024, implementing the SRIA.

Part 2: Revamping the SET plan

The Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan was launched in 2007 as a first step to establish an energy technology policy for Europe. It has played a central role in implementing the Research, Innovation & Competitiveness dimension of the Energy Union, and in guiding national research efforts in the National Energy and Climate Plans. However, since the last SET Plan update in 2015, the EU energy agenda has changed considerably, requiring a review of the objectives, governance, scope, and activities of the SET Plan. The work in the SET Plan itself has extended to go beyond pure technology development, looking also on cross cutting issues like circularity and sustainability, education and skills for new technologies, citizens’ needs and behaviour.

The revision of the SET Plan aims at better supporting the European Green Deal objectives, making the SET Plan compatible with the ‘fit for 55’ package, the 2050 decarbonisation goal, the REPowerEU initiative, as well as with the new European Research Area Policy Agenda, while ensuring continued support to longer term research on new clean energy sources. Connecting Member States’ and Commission’s activities in improving the sustainable energy value chain, through research and deployment activities, will be essential for making the EU less dependent from energy imports, while contributing to a new clean economy and ensuring affordable clean energy for all.

The objectives of the revision of the SET Plan are the following:

- To push the initiative and the overall European research and innovation forward in fostering emerging technologies for reaching the EU’s 2050 targets, with balanced acceleration of the rollout of technologies expected to bring impact by 2030.

- To build momentum and support stronger MS involvement in updating their R&I energy roadmaps to meet the ambitious goal of the EGD.

- To strengthen the synergies between EU, national and regional funding sources and push deployment of clean energy technologies.

- To refocus, revisit and regroup the multitude of targets in the different working groups, and concentrate on a set of overarching strategic objectives and targets in a more mission-oriented approach.

- To rethink the SET Plan governance in order to align it to the new objectives.

Part 3: ERA4FutureWork

A Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) on R&I for the future of work, based on a gap analysis and a focused policy dialogue.

Human capital is a key resource of the 21st century. Economic, ecological, digital, demographic, and social transformations will drive not one but multiple futures of work.

New technologies will reshape millions of jobs in the EU. Some jobs risk being lost to these changes; others will be transformed and entirely new ones will be created, benefitting from complementarities between human workers and supporting technologies. As a result, the skills workers need will also be changing at an unprecedented speed.

At the same time, new forms of employment such as those created by the platform/gig economy are on the rise. They can create opportunities for personal growth, flexibility, or a higher income, but also increase risks associated with an unfair working environment, discrimination, lack of social protection and a difficult work-life balance. Occupational structures are shifting, often leading to polarisation in employment and wages, increasing inequalities.

Research and innovation is essential for providing a sound analytical underpinning for designing future-proof policies that fully grasp the new opportunities offered by technology, whilst successfully tackling emerging challenges.

Currently, although addressed to some extent in the European Semester, there is no convening space for EU policy makers and stakeholders to anticipate these changes, to inform policies (at EU, national, regional, and local levels) or to discuss prioritisation of research and innovation funding for the future of work.

The proposed activities under the action are:

  1. Improving the evidence base to support policymaking for R&I for the future of work.
  2. Setting up an ERA4FutureWork R&I funding & investment policy dialogue for strengthening Europe’s collective capacity in R&I for the future of work, based on the created evidence base and subsequent gap analysis (at national, regional, local and EU levels, involving social partners and, where appropriate covering transnational aspects). This policy dialogue would lead to a common understanding on future opportunities and challenges for employment in Europe and on priority areas for (joint) R&I investment at EU or national level.