BRUSSELS is always looking for big ideas by which it can justify its existence to a doubting public and one of the latest of these is the concept of a European Research Area. This idea is that Europe - with its patchwork of nations and national research units - should coordinate its academics and researchers, making sure that they do not duplicate their efforts, rather dovetailing them with a single European goal in mind.

It is because of this policy that the European Commission's Directorate General for Research recently decided to ...

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