Draft conclusions of CREST meeting (scientific and technical research), 8 February 2002

March 11, 2002

Brussels, 8 March 2002

Scientific and Technical Research Committee ­ CREST Secretariat. Draft summary conclusions of the 281st meeting of the Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST) held in Brussels on 8 February 2002. Note to CREST delegations. Brussels, 5 March 2002 (document CREST 1201/02). Full text

.... 3. INFORMATION FROM THE PRESIDENCY AND THE COMMISSION

3.1 INFORMATION FROM THE PRESIDENCY

(a) Mr. ROYO (Spanish Presidency) informed the Committee about the programme of the Spanish Presidency in the research sector. The main priority will be the adoption of the 6th EC RTD Framework Programme (FP 6) as well as the completion of discussions on the implementing measures (specific programmes, rules of participation, etc.).

The Council's common position on FP 6 was formally adopted on 28 January and transmitted to the European Parliament for its second reading on 4 February.

The provisional timetable for the second reading by the European Parliament foresees a vote in ITRE in April and a vote in the Plenary session on either 13-16 May or 29- 30 May. This could possibly lead to agreement and adoption of the FP 6 "package", including the implementing measures, by the Council in June.

For the Research Council of 11 March, the main item will be an orientation debate on key aspects of the specific programmes (e.g. management) and the rules of participation.

(b) Mr. DE HERMENEGILDO Y SALINAS (Spanish Presidency) informed the Committee about arrangements for the CREST visit to the Canary Islands (La Palma and Tenerife).

He also reported on the outcome of the informal seminar of Research and Industry ministers in S'Agaró, Girona, on 1 and 2 February. A Presidency paper on the results of this meeting was distributed to delegations.

The Committee's attention was also drawn to the information contained on the Presidency website ( http://www.ue2002.es/ ) concerning other RTD-related seminarsand conferences organised by the Spanish Presidency.

3.2. INFORMATION FROM THE COMMISSION

(a) Sixth Framework Programme:

Mr. ESCRITT (Commission services) informed the Committee of work being undertaken by the Commission to facilitate the early adoption of the FP 6 "package" and its implementation:

* the Commission has endorsed the Council's Common Position with certain limitations (relating to the ethical issue - see declaration of the Commission to the minutes of the Research Council on 10.12.2001) and has submitted modified proposals on the specific programmes as well as on the rules of participation.

* consultations are ongoing on implementation aspects of FP 6, namely:
= Personal representatives of Research Ministers of the candidate countries were invited on 7 February,
= delegates from Member States met on 8 February to discuss the future role of national contact points,
= an FP 6 Contracts Working Group meeting was held with Member States and all Associated countries on 15 January with a further meeting planned for mid-March.

* Information meetings are being organised with the scientific and industrial user communities; a recent meeting in London on 22 January attracted 500 participants;

* the "calls for expression of interest" to be launched in April are consultations with the potential stakeholders; there is no relationship with formal calls for proposals, which will occur after the adoption of the 6th Framework Programme;

* the Commission has created an interservice working group on contracts and the new instruments;

* regarding the new instruments, Mr KARAPIPERIS (Commission services) informed the Committee that a Commission services working paper on "Integrated Projects" is available on the Commission's homepage; a similar paper concerning "Networks of Excellence" will follow shortly.

DG Research has plans for a series of seminars for "information multipliers" on the application of the new instruments in the priority thematic areas of FP 6.

Participation will be by invitation only. CREST delegations were asked to propose names of persons to be invited (maximum of 4 per seminar).

The provisional dates and topics for the seminars are as follows:
11 March: priority 6 and Euratom (non-fusion)
14 March: priority 4
18 March: priority 1
19 March: priority 5
20 March: priority 7
22 March: priority 3

(b) European Research Area (ERA):

The Commission also informed the Committee about the second EURAB meeting which took place in December 2001, and which created 6 working groups to produce reports on: - enlargement and ERA;
- evaluation;
- emerging priorities and the long-term outlook for ERA;
- improving innovation;
- increasing the attractiveness of careers in science/technology and engineering.

(c) Lisbon strategy

In response to questions from delegations, the Chairman, Dr. Mitsos, informed the Committee that the Commission communication "The Lisbon Strategy - Making Change Happen" (doc.5654/02 - COM(2002) 14 final) is now available and will be submitted to the Barcelona European Council. It is not intended to discuss the research aspects of this communication at the Research Council of 11 March.

4. CREST OPINION ON THE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL CONTENT OF THE SPECIFIC PROGRAMMES: "8th PRIORITY"

Mr. MONARD (B delegation) was appointed "rapporteur".

The Committee will concentrate on the scientific and technological content of the 8th priority in respect of "policy support and anticipating scientific and technological needs". It is not intended to include in the Opinion horizontal research activities for SMEs and specific measures in support of international co-operation.

Delegations are invited to send their written contributions to the "rapporteur" and to the CREST Secretariat by e-mail. A draft Opinion will be prepared for discussion and, if possible, adoption at the next CREST meeting at Tenerife (26- March). If necessary, a written procedure for final adoption will be used.

5. COMMISSION 2001 ANNUAL REPORT ON RTD ACTIVITIES OF THE EU - doc. 12426/01 RECH 188

Mr. DAMIANI (Commission services) gave a short presentation of the Commission's Communication.

Delegations welcomed the document as being generally useful and rich in content. The following observations and suggestions were made:

* comparability of data should be improved in order to facilitate comparison of the "success rate" across different specific programmes and from one year to another;

* some parts of the statistical annex should be better explained in order to improve overall readability;

* a clear cut off-date should be introduced to clarify the exact period covered by the report;

* to allow for meaningful analysis, the information relating to the participation of the candidate countries should be at the same level of detail as the rest of the report;

* information on COST and INTAS should be added, taking into account the new philosophy behind the European Research Area (ERA);

* to facilitate dissemination and exploitation, the report and the statistical annex should be available on a CD-ROM.

6. COMMISSION COMMUNICATION ON THE INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION OF THE ERA - doc. 10373/01 RECH 88 ATO 54

Mr. BELLEMIN (Commission services) gave a short presentation of the Commission communication concerning the international dimension of the European Research Area.

In order to replace the former INCO programme committee, the Commission decided to set up a "Forum", including representatives from the Member States and the "user community", and using the experience gained from RTD co-operation with Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean partners. The new Community policy for S/T co-operation was illustrated considering the example of EU/Latin American countries: a policy dialogue involving representatives of the different Commission services, as well as from the Member States and Latin American/Caribbean countries, has resulted in the drawing-up of an Action Plan to be submitted to European and Third countries Ministers, in Brasilia, next March.

Delegations made the following observations:

* according to some delegations, the functioning and mandate of the forum, and its relation to the programme committees needs further clarification; ASEM has not been a particularly successful example of EU co-ordination, with only one or two sectors producing results;

* additional information would be welcome on INTAS, COST and Eureka;

* the document contains some inaccuracies/omissions, e.g. GR and P do have bilateral RTD relations with third countries (GR with 21 countries, P with 20 countries);

* candidate countries associated with the Framework Programme should no longer be included under the "international dimension", as they are not treated as such in the FP 6 proposal.

7. COMMISSION ACTION PLAN ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY - Doc.14973/01 RECH 174

Mr. GEROLD (Commission services) informed the Committee on work undertaken to implement the Action Plan. 38 individual actions have been specified, and the Commission attaches importance to integrating the science and society dimension into the new instruments in all parts of the Framework Programme (there should be an information/public awareness activity in each project). Another priority initiative is the setting-up of a "regular high-level scientific event" in Europe following the highly successful "American Association for the Advancement of Science" (AAAS) model in the USA. The first such event will take place in November in the Heyzel stadium in Brussels under the title "European research at the crossroads".

Delegations welcomed the progress achieved and expressed strong interest in this matter; the following observations were made:

* 38 actions might lead to a dispersion of effort, therefore more focussing on a limited number of key priorities might be necessary;

* CREST should be informed about the "European science week" initiative, and might contribute to more effective co-ordination;

* Information about science for journalists (Alpha-Galileo) remains a key priority;

* Action 13 (supporting the Bologna process of co-ordinating university curricula in Europe) needs to take proper account of national differences;

The Belgian delegation informed the Committee about the state of play concerning a possible common European initiative to increase the quality and quantity of science-oriented content in the electronic media.

This initiative was first presented to the Research Council of 10 December 2001.

The Committee agreed to debate the Action Plan in more detail at its next meeting at Tenerife.

It would provide input about national priorities and activities in the "science and society" field, with a view to developing effective networking and co-ordination. Delegations were invited to send written comments on the Action Plan.

8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

(a) CREST Evaluation Network: information from the "rapporteur"

Mr. KEKKONEN, the CREST "rapporteur" on evaluation, informed the Committee on the coming 5-year evaluation of Community RTD policy. All delegations that have not yet done so are invited to nominate participants for the CREST Evaluation Network.

(b) Summary sheets

The Chairman reminded delegations that the revised "Summary sheets" on the national RTD policy should be returned by the 15 February.

(c) Results of the "System Evaluation of Industry-Integrating Research Assistance" of the (German) Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) - information from the German delegation

An executive summary of the report (in English) was distributed to the Committee, the complete report will soon be available (in German only) on the website of the German Ministry of Economics and Technology ( http://www.bmwi.de/Homepage )

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