Draft conclusions of CREST Committee on 24 May 2002 on scientific and techical research

June 25, 2002

Brussels, 24 June 2002

Draft summary conclusions of the 283rd meeting of the Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST), held in Brussels on 24 May 2002. Note to CREST delegations. European Union Scientific and Technical Research Committee - CREST Secretariat. Brussels, 20 June 2002 (document CREST 1204/02). Full text

1. ADOPTION OF THE DRAFT AGENDA The Committee adopted the agenda as set out in telex nº T2294EN of 14 May 2002.

2. APPROVAL OF THE DRAFT SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS OF THE 281 st MEETING

The Committee approved the summary conclusions as set out in doc. CREST 1203/1/02 REV 1.

3. INFORMATION FROM THE PRESIDENCY AND THE COMMISSION

3.1 INFORMATION FROM THE SPANISH PRESIDENCY

Messrs. ROYO and DE HERMENEGILDO (Spanish Presidency) informed the Committee about the state of the co-decision procedures on the sixth EC RTD framework programme and the Art.167-rules for participation of undertakings, research centres and universities.

3.2 INFORMATION FROM THE COMMISSION

Mr. ESCRITT (Commission services) informed the Committee on the following points:

- Invitations for expression of interest have been opened with a deadline of 7 June. They are expected to provide valuable input from the scientific and industrial user community on their intention to respond to later calls for proposals concerning Integrated Projects or Networks of Excellence.

- Preparatory work is being undertaken by the Commission services on the future work programmes and first calls for proposals, in expectation of the adoption of the required legal instruments;

- The Economic and Social Committee is finalising its opinion on the Specific Programmes.

Answering a question of the United Kingdom and German delegations on the status of EURAB recommendations on evaluation of proposals which were communicated to CREST delegations, the Chairman, Dr. MITSOS, confirmed that this was still a draft.

A first exchange of views on evaluation should take place at the next meeting of CREST, on the basis of the work done so far by the Commission services. The EURAB recommendations would serve as an additional valuable input.

Answering a question from the United Kingdom delegation, the Commission confirmed that the expert group working on the model contract would have its next meeting on 28 May.

With regard to possible changes in costing models, the Commission explained that certain changes would be necessary following recommendations by the Court of Auditors, which were currently being studied, and that delegations would be fully informed about these changes.

4. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COMMISSION ACTION PLAN ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Mr. AHLÉN (Swedish delegation) apologized on behalf of the rapporteur, who was prevented by urgent internal duties to attend the meeting, and asked for more guidance on the work expected of the rapporteur.

Mr. GEROLD (Commission services), informed the Committee about the work undertaken since the appointment of the rapporteur, Ms. SAMUELSSON. The Commission submitted a first list containing expressions of interest by delegations for taking the leadership or participating in the work on different points of the Commission Action Plan. Delegations took the floor with additional offers and suggestions.

The result of this discussion is reproduced in Annex I.

Discussions on this issue will continue at the next CREST meeting in July on the basis of an updated table. Delegations were invited to send further inputs.

Mr.VANHELLEMONT (Belgian delegation) informed the Committee on the results of the "kick-off" meeting of the "Science, Technology and Innovation in the Media" (STIM) initiative launched on 23 May 2002 by the Flemish government together with nine interested Member States and associated countries as well as representatives from three public media companies, with support from the Commission. This can be considered a pilot project for future work in implementation of the Science and Society Action Plan. The meeting discussed the ATHENA study on the feasibility of a pan-European television channel for science, produced on behalf of the Commission, and which came to the conclusion that other alternatives than such a dedicated channel should rather be pursued. The meeting produced an interesting list of possible alternatives and national best practices, and led to the formulation of an action plan. Belgium (the government of Flanders) has accepted to continue in its leadership role, supported by Denmark and the Netherlands.

The next meeting is foreseen to take place in Copenhagen on 10 September. Additional participants, both from governments and the media, are welcome.

5. PRESENTATION OF THE RESULTS OF THE FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR AN INTEGRATED INFORMATION SYSTEM ON NATIONAL RTD POLICIES

The Committee listened to a presentation by Ms. Helen BAIRD and Mr. Forbes GIBB (SOLON consultants) of a feasibility study and pilot scheme for an integrated information system on national RTD policies, undertaken on behalf of the Commission. The core of the design is the "value-added hub" concept, the preferred option among those presented, with sources of information being provided by national authorities to a focal point responsible for putting them into a unified and user friendly format for greater ease of access and processing.

Ms. DE LA TORRE (Commission services) provided additional explanations.

Delegations expressed general interest and support for the initiative, while making the following remarks:

- Coordination/interaction with existing services (Cordis, Eurostat, OECD etc.) would have to be assured;

- Costs to both the Community and the Member States and associated states would have to be clarified;

- As a consequence of the federal structure of certain states, it might be worthwhile to include the regional level as well.

6. OPENING UP OF NATIONAL RTD PROGRAMMES

6.1. Ms. DE LA TORRE (Commission services) gave a short presentation of the state of work on the basis of the written contributions sent in so far by delegations.

Delegations made the following additional comments:

The Swedish delegation underlined the importance of the bottom-up approach; the Swedish government would not want to take the lead in this field, but leave decisions to the competent programme managers.

The French, Irish and Italian delegations underlined their interest in the proposed priorities, in particular with regard to marine sciences. Ireland indicated its readiness to facilitate a kick-off- meeting in November and pointed out that there was a global conference on marine science scheduled to take place in November. Italy also stated interest in chemistry and astrophysics.

The Belgian delegation warned against too many topics and suggested a focus on information exchange. Belgium would want to contribute actively to transport research and social sciences, marine sciences and health topics.

The German delegation, while stressing its interest, remarked that Germany had no national programme coordinators. ERA-Net should be the focus of further reflection, while a meeting of programme managers could come later.

The Austrian delegation proposed to take the lead in the field "sustainable enterprise and sustainable land-use".

The Netherlands' delegation stressed the role of intermediary organisations, such as Eurocore and Eurohorcs.

The Greek delegation found marine sciences and plant genomics most important.

The Norwegian delegation stated its interest in complexity, plant genomics and marine science.

The Chairman concluded that the Commission would support kick-off meetings in areas where a delegation takes the lead and a sufficient number of Member States/Associated States participate. Work would first proceed with the area of marine science where the Irish delegation offered to take the lead. Delegations were invited to send further inputs within the coming two weeks.

6.2. Ms. DE LA TORRE (Commission services) informed the Committee on the state of play with regard to the ERA-Net scheme, on the basis of the working document that the Commission services has made available on the web.

Delegations generally welcomed the direction taken by ERA-Net.

7. CREST WORK PROGRAMME FOR THE 2 nd HALF OF 2002

The Committee adopted the Work Programme for the second half of 2002 as set out in Annex II.

8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

The Netherlands delegation raised the question concerning the state of play with regard to future Community support for COST and suggested dealing with the matter in CREST. The Danish delegation informed the Committee about plans to host a COST ministerial meeting in Copenhagen during the Danish Presidency, subject to sufficient progress being made with the ongoing reform efforts by the CSO (COST Senior Officials). It was noted that to deal with the future of COST in CREST would therefore be counter-productive at this stage.

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