Europe promises a whiff of freedom

October 5, 2001

The EU's Framework 6 will give more autonomy to managers of research projects and harmonise intellectual property rules, Keith Nuthall reports

The European Commission has proposed the detailed formal regulations that state how the Framework 6 Programme of research will operate, what kind of projects will be eligible for funding and how grants will be allocated.

The programme will allow new countries and organisations to participate and will grant project managers new freedom to decide how money is spent.

A commission memorandum says the rules are supposed to give project managers more leeway to open studies to new participants and to take up fresh lines of inquiry.

Managers will have greater autonomy, "with participants carrying out their tasks in largely self-determined conditions and internal arrangements best suited to completing projects successfully".

The proposals also harmonise intellectual property rules for all Framework participants.

The rules allow researchers from Eastern European countries the same rights and obligations regarding the Framework programme as those from the European Union. They also allow European scientific cooperation organisations, such as the particle physics lab Cern and the European Space Agency, the right to participate on the same footing as any national organisation.

For the first time, the rules specify how organisations from countries such as Russia, Ukraine and central Asian republics can take part.

• The EU's information society commissioner, Erkki Liikanen, has said that the development of sophisticated electronic devices embedded in everyday objects will be a priority of the Framework 6 Programme.

He told an information society technologies awareness day in Brussels that the aim was to assist a "radical shift from the current PC-based systems and from the keyboard, mouse and screen towards almost invisible technology of natural and effortless use".

He said the European Commission wanted a "massive research effort" under the 2002-06 programme to "build networking and computing technologies that have enough bandwidth and performance for interconnecting such components".

He added that money would also be spent on interfaces using natural senses, such as touch, smell, speech and gesture, for "easy and effective interaction with knowledge-based applications and services."

A full copy of the proposed rules can be found at:
Search by document number 2001 and 0500.


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