Brussels, 22 Sep 2004
Ramon Marimon, the principal author of the mid-term evaluation on the new instruments introduced under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), met with the new Research Commissioner, Louis Michel, on 21 September in order to discuss his report and the Commission's response. Before attending the meeting, Dr Marimon declared himself satisfied with the way in which the report has been received.
Many of the report's conclusions overlapped with the Commission's own views on the new instruments and several initiatives to correct weaknesses have therefore already been introduced or planned. There remain three areas where the report writers and the Commission are in disagreement however: how much choice participants in FP6 should have as to which instrument they use; whether or not durable integration should be a prerequisite for a Network of Excellence; and whether a two-step evaluation procedure should be introduced throughout the programme.
The differences of opinion over these issues that have arisen 'are what this sort of report is for,' said Dr Marimon. He added: 'The report has had an important impact on the discussion. We are happy it's been taken seriously - the report is forceful because we have the facts and the evidence to support it.'
Those attending the briefing by Dr Marimon used the opportunity to convey the difficulties that researchers in their country, region or sector have experienced thus far during FP6. The points raised included the 'new and additional barriers for small and medium sized enterprises', the appropriateness of Networks of Excellence, and the 'dramatic change to the financial arrangements'.
The report was prepared at the request of the Commission. 'The mandate of the expert panel carrying out the assessment was decided by the Council of Ministers,' Dr Marimon told CORDIS News before starting work on the study in November 2003. 'It is to assess how the instruments are doing their job in meeting the goals of the Sixth Framework Programme - structuring and developing the European Research Area.'
The report and the Commission's subsequent response will be discussed at the EU Competitiveness Council on 24 September.
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