Positive effect: These programs have significantly increased collaboration between research institutions across the EU, promoting a more integrated European Research Area (ERA). They have contributed to the creation of research and innovation capacities in less developed regions, thereby helping to reduce regional disparities. They promoted excellence and strengthened the EU’s overall competitiveness on the global research stage. They facilitated the mobility of researchers, enabling the exchange of knowledge and best practices across borders. Challenges: Despite progress, there are still significant differences in research and innovation capacity between the EU-15 and the newer Member States. The administrative burden associated with applying for and managing these programs can be a barrier, especially for smaller institutions. There is sometimes an uneven distribution of funding, with more established institutions often securing a greater share of resources. Further initiatives to increase European integration Simplifying application and reporting processes to facilitate the participation of all institutions, especially smaller and less experienced ones. Establishing central support offices to assist institutions in the application process and in the management of funded projects. Increase targeted investment in areas that are still lagging behind. Implement mechanisms to ensure a more equitable distribution of funding across regions. Creating regional research hubs that can promote local collaboration and act as hubs in a larger EU-wide network. Encourage and fund cross-border partnerships between institutions in different Member States, promoting a more integrated research community. Invest in training programs for researchers and administrators in disadvantaged regions to develop their capacity to participate successfully in EU programmes. Establish mentoring programs where established institutions can guide the less experienced in the preparation and management of research projects. Develop regional innovation ecosystems that will connect academia, industry and regional government bodies to turn research into social and economic benefits. Increase funding for mobility grants to enable more researchers to work and collaborate in different regions of the EU. Implementing specific measures to ensure inclusion, such as supporting female researchers and researchers from diverse backgrounds. Regularly evaluate the impact of programs to identify areas of success and areas in need of improvement. Establish strong feedback mechanisms to collect information from participating institutions and researchers, in order to continuously improve the programs.

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