The European Union officially launched its Pounds 10.4 billion Fifth Framework Programme for research this week at a conference in Essen, Germany.
More than 4,000 delegates from universities and research organisations across Europe were expected to attend the two-day conference to hear about research programmes and how to apply for funding.
Addressing the conference, research commissioner Edith Cresson was expected to emphasise the need for more research by, for and on women as part of FP5. She was expected to call for at least 40 per cent of researchers on Marie Curie fellowships, which are mostly aimed at post docs under 35, to be female, with a similar percentage of women on consultative and evaluation committees, as well as on the new European research forum.
Plans for faster communications systems between European universities were also expected to be outlined. National research and education networks are linked by Trans European Network 155, allowing information to be exchanged at up to 155 megabytes per second. It is hoped this can be raised to 622 megabytes.