Council adopts FP6 rules for participation

November 12, 2002

Brussels, 11 Nov 2002

The Commission's proposals for the rules for participation in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) have been adopted by the Council of Ministers, just ahead of the FP6 launch conference in Brussels.

The document outlines the rules governing participation in an EU funded project, including funding mechanisms, the type of funding that might be foreseen for any selected project, the dissemination of results, the protection of intellectual property rights, principles for the evaluation of submitted proposals and the contract between the Commission and the project participants. The original proposal was submitted by the Commission on 11 September 2001 and amended following discussions in the European Parliament and the Research Council.

The Council agreement includes a unilateral statement by Portugal explaining its abstention from the vote on the rules for participation.

'Portugal can see no justification for the omission [...] of a provision safeguarding the specific nature of the new instruments,' reads the statement.

'Portugal has always argued that, in conception and implementation, networks of excellence and major integrated projects should be kept as open as possible, since there is a risk of using Community funding to strengthen what is already strong and works very well, whereas the aim should be to provide support where there is significant room for improvement in the quality of work and results.'

Portugal would also like to see a minimum of five participants for every EU funded project, as opposed to the three set out in the Commission proposal.

For further information on the Sixth Framework Programme, please visit:

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4 of 14 Commission 11 Nov 2002

'Bold declarations by Member States are not enough,' says Busquin on Lisbon objective

Brussels, 11 Nov 2002

Europe must invest more in research if it means to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010, and under-investment in research and human capital by the Member States is casting into doubt the objective set in Lisbon.

This blunt warning was issued by European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin after the publication of new EU science and technology (S&T) indicators on 8 November. The report, entitled 'science, technology and innovation - key figures 2002', provides a comprehensive overview of investment by Member States in the areas of research, education, training, human resources, high-tech capital goods, and computerised public services.

Mr Busquin said: 'Bold declarations are not enough; the commitments must also be put into action.' The results show that while some countries, most notably Denmark, Sweden and Finland, are performing well in terms of overall investment and investment growth, the EU's performance as a whole in these areas is lagging behind. Italy and Spain are told in the report that they 'urgently need to make an extra effort.'

There are also indicators to analyse the EU's performance in its transition to a knowledge-based economy, and these show that whilst Member States' performance in this area is improving more quickly than in the USA, the rate of growth is not sufficiently high to overtake the American economy by 2010.

A further area covered by the report is human resources, particularly with regard to S&T graduates and the overall number of researchers. Worryingly, the indicators show that whilst the EU produces more S&T graduates (including PhDs) than the USA and Japan, both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of its population, this superiority is not reflected in terms of numbers of researchers. As a proportion of its workforce, the European Union has fewer researchers than the USA or Japan, and a slower growth rate means that this gap is increasing.

One of the main challenges that the EU faces in trying to meet its objectives on competitiveness is achieving the target set in Barcelona in 2002 of raising research spending from 1.9 to 3 per cent of GDP. Mr Busquin has stressed repeatedly that this increase will have to come from the private sector, and has called on Member States to introduce measures aimed at stimulating the required investment.

To see a full copy of the report, please consult the following web address:

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