Brussels, 12 Nov 2002
As part of the new Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), EU funding for research on sustainable development will be channelled towards projects on energy, transport and environmental research, the Commission has said.
Speaking at the FP6 launch conference in Brussels on 11 November, Pablo Fernandez Ruiz, Director of DG Research's Energy unit, said that the Commission had chosen priorities that would 'provide a fertile ground for research activities' on sustainable development.
During his presentation, Mr Ruiz said that 'scientific research is the mainstay of any policy on sustainable development,' and he indicated that for initiatives on energy, the Commission would seek a balance between short to mid term and mid to long term projects.
Under the environmental research section of activities, Mr Ruiz stressed that fighting climate change was a key target, but warned that instant results would not be possible. Certain research areas will be made priorities under FP6, including water, biodiversity, desertification, land management and the mechanisms of greenhouse pollutants.
The main objective of the Commission's research into transport is to find systems that offer 'near zero emissions and near zero accidents,' said Mr Ruiz. Key transport themes will look at reducing congestion, intelligent transport systems, new vehicle concepts and fuels, revitalising railways, and sea and inland waterways.
The final subsection aims to identify diverse and environmentally friendly sources of energy, and enable a move away from unsustainable solutions. Underlying objectives, according to Mr Ruiz, will be focussed towards reducing greenhouse gases, ensuring the security of energy supplies and having a competitive internal market for energy within the EU.
Short term energy projects will look at clean fuels, methods for saving energy, eco-buildings, and alternative motor fuels such as bio fuels. Long term issues will include new sources of energy such as hydrogen, the use of fuel cells, the transport and storage of energy, biomass, and cleaner fossil fuel systems.
Mr Ruiz also covered Euratom-funded activities on nuclear energy, saying that the EU's objective should be to fully exploit the potential of the technology. He said that Europe's policies on nuclear fuel must be decided after consultation with citizens, and he highlighted the need to conduct research into management of nuclear waste and radiation. Further research into nuclear fusion technology should also be a priority, Mr Ruiz said.
For further information on the Commission's policies on sustainable development, please consult the following web address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/ws sd/index_en.html