EUR 13 million scheme to boost Candidate Countries' participation in EU research

April 7, 2003

Brussels, 4 April 2003

The Commission today launched €13 million worth of "specific support actions" to stimulate, encourage and facilitate the participation of the 13 Associated Candidate Countries in the EU's €17.5 billion 6 th Research Framework Programme (FP6) (2002-2006). The call for project proposals is open until 26 June 2003. Candidate countries enjoy the same rights and obligations as EU Member States. They can be project leaders and even create research consortia made up exclusively of partners from Candidate Countries. Research is therefore the first area in which EU enlargement has become a reality. Candidate Countries associated with FP6 and eligible to apply for funding are Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey.

"In October 2002, when signing the agreement with Candidate Countries for their participation in the new EU research programme, I promised we would encourage candidate country partners to contribute their skills and expertise to EU research," said European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. "The €13 million scheme fulfils that commitment. As demonstrated by the recent Science and Technology Eurobarometer in the Candidate Countries, there is great scientific potential there, with highly educated and skilled researchers. But the difficult transition period they are experiencing requires additional EU support to help them maximise their potential and contribute to the European Research Area."

Specific support measures (€9 million)

Through this call for proposals the Commission intends to select one or more organisations in each associated candidate country, to:

  • establish a virtual network, involving all national contact persons for exchanging best practices and training for preparing project proposals

  • assist SMEs in partner search, consortia agreements and project development.
The aim of any future activities to be financed is also to promote Candidate Countries' competencies and network their high quality research centres with scientific establishments in the EU Member States. These may consist of information and awareness events to promote participation in FP6, training schemes and/or initiatives to assist Candidate Countries' researchers in taking part in international conferences and with project development.

Specific actions for thematic priorities (€4 million)

The Commission will also finance specific actions in the following FP6 priority thematic areas:

  • nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials, and new production processes and devices

  • aeronautics and space

  • food quality and safety

  • sustainable energy systems

  • sustainable surface transport
Two other thematic priority areas: "Information society technologies" and "Citizens and governance in knowledge-based society" have already launched similar actions. The thematic priority areas of "Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health" and "Global change and ecosystems" are planning to launch special actions for the Candidate Countries in July 2003.

Stimulate, encourage and facilitate

The projects will have to stimulate, encourage and facilitate Candidate Countries' participation in the new funding instruments, integrated projects and networks of excellence, introduced by FP6. These may take the form of conferences and brokerage events between researchers from Candidate Countries and EU Member States, or evaluation of policies and forward studies in a given research field. Development of detailed databases to facilitate partner search is also encouraged.

The call for project proposals is available at:

For further information please visit:

DN: IP/03/498 Date: 04/04/2003

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