Brussels, 25 Oct 2005
REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION
Annual Report on research and technological development activities of the European Union in 2004
2. COMMUNITY RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
2.1. Implementation of the 6th Framework Programme
The implementation of the Sixth Framework programme (FP6) has been successful. It was launched in 2002 with a budget of 17,500 million euro for the period 2002-06, which was later increased with the enlargement of the Union to 19,200 million euro. Particular efforts were also made to encourage participation by the new Member States.
In 2004 almost 16,000 proposals were received with more than 84,400 participants. Almost 2,000 of these proposals were retained for funding (involving some 13,700 participants).
In total nearly 2,100 contracts were signed in 2004 with a total EC contribution of more than 4,200 million euro.
Under the heading of `Integrating and Strengthening the ERA', more than 7,300 proposals were submitted of which almost 1,100 were selected for funding involving over 11,400 participations. The majority of these (some 4,200 proposals) were in the seven thematic
"The Commission shall ensure that these programmes are carried out and shall submit an annual report thereon to the Council". "At the beginning of each year the Commission shall send a report to the European Parliament and the Council. The report shall include information on research and technological development activities and the dissemination of results during the previous year, and the work programme for the current year." Decision No 1513/2002/EC of June 2002. Article 4 "In the context of the annual report to be submitted by the Commission pursuant to Article 173 of the Treaty, the Commission shall report in detail on progress with implementing the sixth framework programme, and in particular progress towards achieving its objectives and meeting its priorities...; information on financial aspects and the use of instruments shall also be included. priorities of the 6th Framework Programme, and a significant number in the horizontal activities involving SMEs and the specific measures in support of international cooperation.
The new activities in FP6 on SSP (Scientific Support to Policy) and NEST (New and Emerging Science and Technology) have also proved to be successful with over 120 proposals selected for funding.
Under the heading `Structuring the ERA' over 8 500 proposals were received in 2004, of which the vast majority (around 7,900 proposals) under the Human Resources and Mobility actions. More than 800 proposals were selected for funding, of which 90 % were for human resources and mobility; the others were for funding actions for Research and Innovation, Research Infrastructures and Science and Society.
From the proposals submitted in 2004, the new instruments integrated projects and networks of excellence accounted for some 900 proposals, of which some 150 were retained for funding. During 2004, 165 contracts for integrated projects were signed and 76 for networks of excellence.
The work programmes for the Specific Programmes of the 6th Framework Programme have been updated several times. By the end of 2004 the EC 'Integrating and strengthening the ERA' programme had been updated 14 times, the EC 'Structuring the ERA' programme eight times, and the work programme for the Euratom `Fission and Fusion' programme twice. Each update generates the content for new calls for proposals and by the end of 2004 over 120 calls for proposals had been published under FP6.
A review of the effectiveness of the instruments of the 6th Framework Programme started at the end of 2003 by an independent high level panel led by Professor R. Marimón. The report of the panel4 was submitted by the end of June 2004. The panel which assessed the new instruments (networks of excellence and integrated projects) endorsed the objectives addressed by these instruments, but proposed some adjustments in their implementation. The Commission gave an official reply to the report at the end of August 2004 and continued carrying out corrective measures as well as introducing an action plan for rationalisation and acceleration to improve the implementation of the framework programme.
A Five-Year Assessment for 1999-2003 was carried out by the panel of high-level experts chaired by Dr E. Ormala. The panel underlined the importance of the framework programmes in developing Europe's knowledge base and correcting the shortcomings in the European research landscape, particularly the networking of researchers and activities. The Panel's recommendations concerned both the 6th Framework Programme and future framework programmes, in particular the endorsement of a substantial increase in funds for research and the creation of the European Research Council and technology platforms. This evaluation was supported by a series of ex-post impact studies. The impact study concerning the 5th Framework Programme concluded that it had promoted research of strategic importance which would not have taken place without EU support.