Busquin expects the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to act as major catalyst in the mobilisation of cohesive European research

December 18, 2002

Brussels, 17 Dec 2002

The European Commission has published the first calls for the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). Potential participants, such as research centres, universities and enterprises are asked to come forward for the first round of calls (49 calls in all) and benefit from the five billion euro budget that has been allocated under this first set of calls.

As the EU's main instrument for funding research in Europe, FP6 aims to foster cohesion among Member States in order to address major scientific, industrial and societal challenges. By doing so, the necessary resources are to be made available for building up the 'critical mass' required for success in the competitive international environment and making the 'European Research Area' a reality.

EU Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin, expressed enthusiasm for the publication of calls for proposals, identifying the Framework Programme as a 'major catalyst in mobilising the European scientific and industrial communities, as well as Member and Associated States, including the candidate countries.'

Mr Busquin also emphasised the importance of taking immediate action and using the instruments that the European research players have at their disposal: 'It is time to start working on the new priorities and with the new instruments. European research players have already sent in 12,000 expressions of interest - promising ideas that helped us shape the work programmes. But now it is for real'.

The first budget allocation in the call for proposals focuses on the seven FP6 thematic priority areas in specific programme 1:

- Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health
- Information society technologies
- Nanotechnologies, multifunctional materials and new production processes
- Aeronautics and space
- Food quality and safety
- Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems (including energy and transport research)
- Citizens and governance in a knowledge-based society

Calls have however also been published for the specific programme 2.

Some 70 per cent of this research funding is to be allocated through two new instruments: Networks of Excellence is a long-term and more global vision which aims at bringing together research centres and universities, while Integrated Projects offer an immediate solution and more market focused.

The budget will set aside at least 15 per cent for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

460 million euro will also be allocated to policy-oriented research, special activities involving SMEs, special international cooperation activities, and support for the coordination of national activities. 990 million euro will be set-aside for human resources and mobility, infrastructures and the science/society dialogue. 69 million euro will be allotted to nuclear research.

The calls cover the following areas:

- Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health
Integration of genomics and biotechnology into more established biomedical and biotechnological platforms in order to advance our understanding of life, improving health and combating disease.

- Information Society technologies
Further development of an already evolving knowledge based society, in particular: medium and long term research on the future generation of technologies (e.g. wireless systems), integrating computers and networks into everyday environment, placing the individual at the centre.

- Nanotechnologies and nanosciences
Promotion of a scientific base for the transition of European production industry from resource-based towards knowledge-based, more environment-friendly approaches. One call in this area focuses on SMEs.

- Aeronautics and space
Addresses the four main challenges of the sector: competitiveness, environmental impact, safety and capacity of the air transport system. Calls in the space sector include: navigation and positioning by satellite for the Galileo programme, Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES) and satellite telecommunications.

- Food quality and safety
Emphasis upon the food chain, consumer needs and food-related health issues, in particular farm production systems. Calls will also focus on new technologies such as genomics. Issues addressed include understanding the complex interactions between food intake, metabolism and disease in humans. Calls will also include research on food safety issues such as the impact of food borne disease on human health.

- Sustainable Energy Systems
Development of integrated demonstration actions in the areas of the cost-effective supply of renewable energies which should lead to large-scale integration into energy supplies, eco-buildings and alternative motor fuels. Medium to long term research actions will focus on significantly reducing the costs of new and renewable energy sources and new energy carriers, whilst also reducing the environmental impact of conventional energy sources through the development of CO2 capture and sequestration technologies.

- Sustainable surface transport
Focuses on pollution reduction in the automotive and shipping sector, increased safety for road transport, trains and ships. Aims to put in place safer structures and innovative maintenance procedures aimed at avoiding major maritime disasters. Improved technical know how in order to enhance competitiveness of the European shipbuilding industry.

- Global change and ecosystems
Research will focus on renewable energy, transport, and sustainable management of Europe's land and marine resources. This will be complemented by the development of advanced methods for risk assessment and methods of appraising environmental quality, including relevant pre-normative research on measurements and testing.

- Citizens and governance
This priority will be the focal point for research for social sciences and humanities.

- Policy support
Support for the formulation and implementation of EU policies, which are 'demand-driven' and based on concrete aspects of evolving EU policy needs. The initial priorities are: sustainable management of Europe's natural resources; providing health, security and opportunity to the people of Europe; supporting the economic potential and cohesion of a larger and more integrated European Union.

- SMEs
Actions that may be pursued across the whole science and technology field covered by EU research policy will take the form of 'cooperative' and 'collective' research activities.

- International cooperation
FP6 addresses specific measures in support of international cooperation (INCO) with third countries in the Mediterranean, Western Balkans, Russia and the Community of Independent States, and developing countries. Issues included are safety and security of economic and social development, in particular environmental conservation, human health and relevant public health policy, food security and promotion of development policies with a view to sustainable economic growth, political and population stability.

- Support for the coordination of activities
The ERA-NET scheme aims at coordinating research activities carried out at national and regional level.

- Human resources and mobility
The aim is to make the most of the potential offered by all population sectors, in particular women and young researchers. Calls concern fellowships, return and reintegration grants, chairs, conferences, awards, training courses and networks.

- Infrastructures
Focuses on large-scale research installations, databases, integrated small research facilities, communication networks, networks of computing facilities, as well as centres of competence. Calls address transnational access to individual research infrastructures, integrating activities through networks of research infrastructures. A major and innovative objective is to provide Europe with a Grid-empowered telematics infrastructure able to deeply change the way in which research is performed. Grid technology is driving the latest advances in distributed computing.

- Science and society
Research in this field will support the Commission's Science and Society Action Plan. The calls cover a showcase of activities for the European Science Week. The calls also cover the Descartes Prize.

- Research and training in the nuclear field
EURATOM research and training will play a key role in promoting the sustainable use of nuclear energy. Research on fusion energy will help launch the construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in the next few years. Research will also address the management of radioactive waste, radiation protection, and nuclear safety.

For further information on the calls, please visit:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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