Commission to launch 6th EU Research Framework Programme at major conference

October 22, 2002

Brussels, 21 October 2002

From 11 to 13 November 2002, EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin will host a major conference in Brussels to launch the EU's 6 th Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006), worth €17.5 billion.

Over 6000 participants, including Nobel Prize laureates and top representatives from research, academia, business and public service, will gather to discuss how to maximise FP6 and turn it into a driving force for growth and competitiveness.

FP6 is a key part of the EU's strategy to create a true European Research Area, an Internal Market for science and knowledge. FP6 is set to play an instrumental part in the March 2002 Barcelona European Council's target to raise average EU research spending to 3% of European GDP.

Journalists are invited to attend the three-day event, which involves 25 plenary sessions and more than 100 workshops. The conference, to be opened by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, will feature 65 European and national research organisations presenting their activities, 150 EU-sponsored research project exhibition stands, a participants' forum and an extensive media programme.

"Past Framework Programmes have been designed and implemented with the main objective of funding research projects" said EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin.

"With FP6 this will change. The forthcoming Programme will be more than a funding scheme; it will be a key instrument in creating the European Research Area (ERA) and in promoting Europe's excellence in science. FP6 is designed to help focus and integrate research in Europe, structure the ERA and strengthen its foundations.

The key novelty of FP6 is the development of a new set of funding instruments, to bring about real "added value" at European level and achieve a critical mass, with the aim of creating lasting impact and research structures. The FP6 conference will gather all research players to discuss opportunities and pave the way for the successful start of the programme."

A new approach for a new Research Framework Programme

FP6 will streamline research and focus activities on a few areas of scientific endeavour and technological development. Its €17.5 billion budget, up from €14,9 billion in FP5 (1998-2002), represents an important financial incentive. However this is still not enough, especially when compared with overall EU research investment, both public and private.

This is why the focus is on the most promising areas of research that present true added value at European level, such as life sciences, genomics and biotechnology, information society technology, nanotechnologies and new materials, aeronautics and space, food quality and safety, sustainable development, clean energy and transport and governance in a knowledge-based society.

Other research issues to be addressed will include, inter alia, human resources and mobility, patenting and intellectual property rights, the role of European regions, SMEs and the likely impact of enlargement.

For further information on the event please visit:

DN: IP/02/1529 Date: 21/10/2002

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