Amended draft decision concerning the rules for participation in the 6th Framework Programme 2002-2006 and the dissemination of research results

July 16, 2002

Brussels, 15 July 2002

Amended proposal for a
DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
concerning the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities and for the dissemination of research results for the implementation of the European Community framework programme 2002-2006
Full Text

1. PURPOSE OF THE PROPOSAL

The purpose of the proposal is to lay down the rules for participation and the dissemination of results (EC programme) for the implementation of the sixth framework programme. These rules have been drawn up with a view to adapting the provisions concerning participation and dissemination to the characteristics of the new framework programme and to simplify and streamline the provisions and make them easier to understand.

It should be noted that the provisions concerning intellectual property have been considerably simplified in order to guarantee the smooth operation of projects which may involve a large number of participants and be carried out by partnerships which may change.

2. Background

­ The Commission adopted its initial proposal [COM(2001) 500 final] on 9 September 2001.

­ It adopted an amended proposal on 10 January 2002 [COM(2001) 822 final 2001/0202 (COD)] following the political agreement reached within the Council on the instruments of the 6th framework programme on 10 December 2001.

­ Following various informal tripartite contacts, the European Parliament adopted 32 amendments on first reading on 3 July 2002.

3. The Commission's opinion on the European Parliament's amendments

3.1 General assessment

All the changes made by the European Parliament are in line with the Commission's proposal and make useful clarifications for the implementation of the sixth framework programme. The Commission therefore accepts them all.

3.2 Examination of the amendments

- Legal designation of the proposal [Title]:

Parliament advocates adopting the proposal in the form of a regulation since it will potentially apply to all stakeholders in the scientific community and is therefore general in scope. The Commission can agree to this amendment

- Minimum number of participants [Article 5]:

Parliament proposes an identical minimum of at least three different legal entities established in three Member States or associated States of which at least two are Member States or associated candidate countries, for all the instruments with the exception of specific support actions and actions to promote human resources and mobility. The Commission considers that this will strengthen the transnational character of indirect actions and help ensure a critical mass of skills.

- Participation by legal entities from third countries [Article 6]:

With regard to participation by legal entities from industrialised third countries, it is also proposed to make their participation conditional on the conclusion of reciprocal arrangements which could take the form of a scientific and technological agreement. The Commission considers the amendments made represent a compromise which accurately reflects the importance which Parliament assigns to these aspects.

- Calls for proposals [Article 9]:

Parliament advocates the possibility of a two-stage procedure for project evaluation and also proposes that the calls for expressions of interest which the Commission might issue in order to identify and evaluate precise objectives and requirements in a given field shall not affect any decisions the Commission may subsequently take. The Commission agrees with the value of a two-stage evaluation and clarification concerning the calls for expressions of interest.

- Criteria for the evaluation and selection of research actions [Article 10]:

Parliament wishes to introduce certain optional criteria in the proposal, such as a reference to the role of women in research, synergy with training and societal implications. The Commission can agree to additional criteria provided they are not compulsory.

In addition, Parliament proposes removing the requirement for anonymity during the evaluation, unless otherwise stipulated in the call for proposals. On the other hand, emphasis is placed on the confidentiality of the evaluation process. The Commission considers that the amendment made is an acceptable compromise in the light of the principles underlying the evaluation procedure.

- Signature of the contract and consortium agreement [Article 12]:

In addition to specifying that the contract shall enter into force on signature by the Commission and the coordinator, Parliament wants to introduce an obligation on the participants to conclude a consortium agreement unless stipulated in the calls for proposals. Parliament also proposes specifying the main elements that have to appear in the consortium agreement. The Commission considers that the amendment reflects its desire for a flexible and simplified approach.

- Joint and several liability [Article 13]:

Parliament takes over the principles regarding the joint and several liability of the participants as described in the note verbale distributed by the Commission to the Council on the subject, providing for the financial liability of the participants in proportion to their participation within the limits of the contribution allocated to them. However, Parliament has removed any

explicit reference to financial solidarity between participants. The Commission considers that the amendment makes a useful clarification with regard to joint and several liability.

- Grant [Article 14]:

For the networks of excellence, Parliament clarifies how the Community financial contribution will be calculated, specifying that it will depend on the degree of integration and the number of researchers whom the participants propose to integrate, taking into account the specific features of the research area and joint activity programmes concerned.

Parliament also wishes to limit the cost of management activities concerning indirect actions to 7% of the Community financial contribution.

The Commission considers that these amendments clarify the procedures for financing indirect actions.

- Intellectual property rules [in particular Articles 18, 20 and 21]:

Parliament wishes to mention the principle of the non-transfer of the rights and obligations of the Commission and of the participants in connection with the provision by the Commission of useful information about knowledge arising from indirect actions to Member States or associated States which so request, for public policy purposes, provided that the participants concerned do not raise justified objections.

In addition, Parliament wishes to introduce in the provisions a reference to the consortium agreement and the time limit within which the Commission and the participants can object to the transfer of knowledge.

Parliament also proposes that a participant should be able to publish results of which it is not the owner in the case of collective and cooperative research actions (SMEs), provided that the Commission and the participants do not object.

The Commission considers that the proposed amendments are consistent with the concern for flexibility and simplification regarding the intellectual property rules.

4. CONCLUSION

In accordance with Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty the Commission amends its proposal as set out above.

Brussels, 11.07.2002 COM(2002) 413 final 2001/0202 (COD)

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