The European Research Area is the European Commission’s vision of a Europe in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely. However, it has been noted recently that there is little quantitative evidence of progress towards this goal. A pair of recent pieces come to mind: One in Nature in which ESRC Chief Executive Paul Boyle presents results from a Elsevier SciVal study and a study published in Science by IMT researchers that shows R&D collaboration in Europe integrating at a slower pace that in the rest of the world.
The evolution of R&D collaboration can be analysed further by studying the community structure of the European patent co-inventor network as a function of time.
This visualization shows the community structure over the period 1990 until 2008. Over that period the structure changes relatively little, indicating minimal progress over those years and that the EU remains, largely, a system of National Innovation System

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