This is the final report of a study looking at the past and potential future of research institutes in Europe. In contrast to the universities, which are widely studied, the institutes are barely part of the EU policy discussion and the discussion about the European Research Area. The study therefore focuses on institutes in six fields, aiming to provide a broad spread of analysis that can improve understanding of the institutes and underpin policymaking in the institute sector. The overall aim of the study is to provide a basis for informing EU- and national-level policies about the role of research institutes in the development of the European Research Area (ERA). If the ERA is to become a reality, then aspects of Europe’s institute system will need to be tuned towards effectiveness and efficiency at the European level and not only, as at present, the national level. We therefore place particular emphasis on issues related to internationalisation and the international division of labour.