Commission invites researchers to suggest cutting-edge research topics

March 22, 2002

Brussels, 21 March 2002

An opportunity for Europe's research community to help prepare the implementation of the future European research programmes

Which research project would you wish to propose under the future European research programmes? Which research topic do you want to address? Which instrument do you intend to use?

As the new generation of EU research programmes is expected to emerge at the end of this year, the Commission is inviting European researchers to express their interests for the scientific and technological priorities that will be put forward by these programmes. The Commission published today an invitation to submit expressions of interest. It is the first time the Commission is carrying out such a wide consultation of the research community prior to opening new research programmes. This gives researchers a unique opportunity to influence the content of the programmes and to ensure they will respond to current research topics and priorities.

The new Sixth Framework Programme 2002-2006 (FP6) will be decided by the Council and the Parliament within a few months. However, a wide consensus has emerged on its main orientations.

One of the new elements of FP6, which is essential for the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA), will be the use of new instruments for funding research, such as Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence. Integrated Projects will contribute to strengthening European competitiveness and help solve major societal problems by mobilising a critical mass of research and development resources and skills existing in Europe. Networks of Excellence will contribute to strengthening European scientific and technological excellence through a better integration of research capacities across Europe.

Without pre-empting the results of the legal process, the Commission is consulting the research community on its readiness to prepare research actions using the new instruments for topics within the priority scientific and technological areas of research. This is being done by way of an invitation to submit Expressions of Interest (EoI) published today. EoI can be submitted in relation to the following areas: genomics research, information society, nanotechnologies and new processes, aeronautics and space, food quality and safety, sustainable development, issues related to the knowledge-based society, and nuclear energy.

The researcher's ideas will help the Commission prepare the future work programmes and the first calls for proposals envisaged for autumn this year. It will also facilitate understanding by the research community of the potential of the new instruments. Respondents can improve their chances of having a particular topic included in an early call by ensuring that their ideas are at least submitted as an EoI.

However, the submission of EoI is by no means a condition to participate in FP6. EoI must not be seen as a pre-assessment of the scientific and technological quality of any subsequent proposal. Similarly it must be emphasised that this is not a pre-selection process for any consortium.

In order to ensure maximum transparency - and to encourage contacts across the research community - it is intended that an abstract of each EoI received together with contact information (subject to agreement of the submitter) will be made available at the web address given below by July 2002. The Commission assisted by independent experts will review all the EoIs received. An analysis of the assessment will also be published at the web address given below by September 2002. This report will serve as the principal feedback to those submitting EoI and the research community as a whole. It will also be used by the Commission when drawing up its proposals for the Work Programmes and topics to be included in the first calls for proposals. Assessments on individual EoIs will not be published or sent to the submitters.

Submissions of EoI are invited from those organisations or groups of organisations from the Member States, associated candidate countries and other associated states intending to form consortia (which may also include entities from third countries and international organisations) to respond to later calls for proposals with an Integrated Project or Network of Excellence.

EoI containing the information set out in the appropriate form must be sent by e-mail to arrive no later than 17.00-hrs Brussels time on 7 June 2002 to An acknowledgement of receipt will be sent by e-mail.

Expressions of Interest 2002 Indicative Timetable
20 March Launch Invitation to Submit an EoI
7 June Close of EoI Submissions at 17.00hrs Brussels time
June - July Assessment of EoI
September Publish Analysis of EoI

For additional information:

All information relevant to this call will be put at the following web address:
Help and information can be obtained from the appropriate desks (see annex).
Michel Claessens, Communication Unit, Research DG
Tel : +32-2-295.99.71; Fax: +32-2-295.82.20

Help and information desk addresses for the different thematic priorities

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