Brussels, 14 May 2004
The European Commission has published a document detailing 32 new ERA-NET projects. The ERA (European Research Area) -NET scheme supports the coordination of national research programmes. Those selected for initial funding focus on topics as diverse as geosciences, population ageing, transport and wood research.
ERA-NET was introduced under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The scheme's participants are programme managers working at national ministries and funding agencies rather than universities or enterprises, and Commission funding is used for coordination activities rather than research itself.
The Commission funding is designed to help overcome the barriers to the cross-border coordination of national research programmes, which can be cultural, political or administrative. The scheme has been welcomed by national actors, who recognise that national funding alone does not enable researchers to do as much as they would like, and who are often frustrated to see their research duplicated in other countries.
The European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) ERA-NET brings together 15 European research funding organisations to represent and fund European ocean drilling studies at an international level. The long term aim is to develop a Europe-wide strategy encompassing planning, funding and research. It will eventually provide a structure through which joint drilling programmes can be managed and coordinated, and which can disseminate results to the marine scientist community.
The project will create a database pooling all existing information on drilling proposals by European scientists. It is expected that this information sharing will be the catalyst for a steady growth in collaboration.
The ERA-AGE network will see collaboration between ministries, agencies and research councils. The expected result of a step-by-step approach to coordination is a cooperation agreement for the co-funding of research programmes on ageing. The agreement will introduce common evaluation and dissemination mechanisms.
ERA-NET TRANSPORT builds on the work of the European Platform for Cooperation and Coordination of Transport Research (EPTR). The consortium has already identified four areas of research where further cooperation would be advantageous: road safety; freight and logistics; policy monitoring; and intelligent transport systems. The new ERA-NET's ultimate ambition is to establish an instrument for common research programmes on topics with shared priority among all members, with joint calls and shared evaluation systems.
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