The breakdown of funds for the European Union's multibillion pound Fifth Framework research programme - due to kick off in February - has been agreed at a meeting of European research ministers. They approved the overall Ecu 14.96 billion (Pounds 10.5 billion) budget and allocated budgets to each of the programmes. Ecu 2.413 billion (Pounds 1.7 billion) will be spent on life sciences, Ecu 3.6 billion (Pounds 2.5 billion) on the information society programme, Ecu 2.705 billion (Pounds 1.9 billion) on competitive and sustainable growth, and Ecu 2.125 billion (Pounds 1.5 billion) on the energy and the environment programme. Ecu 475 million (Pounds 333 million) will be spent on international cooperation, Ecu 363 million (Pounds 255 million) on innovation and participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, and Ecu 1.280 million (Pounds 898 million) on improving human potential. Ecu 1.02 billion (Pounds 715 million) will go to the Joint Research Centre, which has seven research institutes across Europe, and Ecu 1.26 billion (Pounds 884 million) to Euratom - the EC's nuclear research programme.