Brussels, 16 Oct 2003
In the absence of Dr. MITSOS, the meeting was chaired by Mr. RICHARDSON (European Commission, Deputy Director General, Research).
1. ADOPTION OF THE DRAFT AGENDA
The Committee adopted the agenda as set out in telex nº TX03562EN of 24 July 2003.
2. APPROVAL OF THE DRAFT SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS OF THE 288th MEETING
The Committee approved the summary conclusions as set out in doc. CREST 1203/1/03
3. INFORMATION FROM THE PRESIDENCY AND THE COMMISSION
a) Mr. FONTI (Italian Presidency) informed the Committee on the Work Programme of the Italian Presidency. Work in the research field will strongly focus on the 3 percent target and the open method of coordination, where an exchange of views has already taken place at the informal ministerial meeting of Competitiveness ministers in Rome in July 2003. Adoption of a Council Resolution would take place at 22 September "Competitiveness" Council.
Other research issues at the September Council include the presentation of the King Report on the comparison of the two European candidate sites for ITER, the bioethics of embryonic stem-cell research, and the EC-ESA Framework Agreement.
* The development of human resources and the improvement of researchers' career is an important topic for work after the September Council. It is likely that a resolution will be adopted by the Competitiveness Council in November, following an examination of the Commission's Communication.
In addition, the following activities organised by the Presidency will take place:
* Infrastructures - conference in Trieste, 20-21 November 2003
* Gender issues in science - conference in Rome, 5 December 2003
b) Ms. SPILIOTI (Greek delegation) informed the Committee on the work during the second half of the Greek Presidency, in particular: * The discussion on ITER set out in the Presidency conclusions, which has led to the setting up of an independent expert group chaired by Prof. King which would examine the merits of the two European candidate sites for ITER;
* The debate on European innovation and the defence equipment policy, which led to Council conclusions and the invitation to the Commission to explore the scope for supporting security-related RTD activities for peaceful purposes, within the legal boundaries enshrined in the Treaty;
* The adoption, in co-decision, of the Decision on a European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Platform (EDCTP) to combat the three poverty-related infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria);
* The conference held in Thessaloniki in June 2003 on RTD co-operation between the European Union and the Balkan countries.
Other topics treated under the Greek Presidency included biodiversity, European Union support for Sustainable Development in the Black Sea region, Euro-Mediterranean RTD co-operation (with a conference in Cairo, Egypt), a conference on GMES and a Foresight conference and discussions on European large-scale RTD infrastructures. International relations in the RTD sector were improved through the renewal of an association agreement with Israel, and the signing of S/T co-operation agreements with Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
c) Mr. ESCRITT (Commission services) informed the Committee on the implementation of FP 6, following the conclusion of the first calls for proposals. High interest (over 11.000 proposals) and the good quality of the proposals allied to a limited budget had resulted in the average success-rate of proposals not exceeding 20%. The average size of proposed projects has increased. Among the New Instruments, "Integrated Projects" has been the instrument of choice, while the scientific community has been more reluctant to embrace Networks of Excellence.
SME participation has been generally encouraging, although more needs to be done to reach the 15% target, and participation by acceding countries needs to be improved.
Research centres and universities have strongly participated, but large industry participation also needs to be improved. The new evaluation mechanisms have worked well. The Commission is in the process of evaluating the experiences from the first