Incoming Eureka chair says organisation must streamline operations to meet challenge of ERA

May 28, 2002

Brussels, May 2002

Eureka, the European network of market-orientated research and development, must streamline its organisation and priorities in order to benefit fully from the cooperative approach to research envisaged under the European research area (ERA), according to the incoming head of the Eureka chairmanship office, Gorm Bramsnaes.

Mr Bramsnaes said the Danish Chair of Eureka, which takes over at the beginning of July, aims to build on the work of the Greek Chair in developing opportunities for cooperation with the European system, particularly the European Commission's Sixth Framework programme for research (FP6), EU Structural Funds and the European Investment Bank.

Speaking to CORDIS News at the 13th Eureka Interparliamentary Conference in the Hellenic Parliament, Athens, he said: 'We want to test how one could maximise these things in cooperation with the EU system and maybe build on the new concepts.' The Danish Chair will continue 'trying to position Eureka within the ERA, hopefully in close cooperation with FP6,' he added.

Mr Bramsnaes, a senior executive officer in the Danish ministry of science, technology and innovation, said the new instruments envisaged under FP6, such as integrated projects and networks of excellence, will make research cooperation easier. He said Eureka, through its 'bottom-up' approach to innovation, could make a valuable contribution to this new approach and to the building of cooperation and exchange between the scientific and industrial communities.

But some changes will be needed if Eureka is to rise to the challenge, explained Mr Bramsnaes. 'We have to have stronger operations to cooperate with the EU system,' he said. 'In order to obtain our first main aim [of increasing cooperation with the ERA] we need to strengthen our organisation and make it more effective.'

The forthcoming Danish Chair believes that the key to Eureka's future effectiveness lies in improving continuity between chair years. Instead of introducing a completely new menu of priorities, the Danish Chair will continue to focus on many of the priorities of the current Hellenic Chair.

Mr Bramsnaes said a common agenda has been developed in collaboration with the future French and Dutch Chairs. This long-term approach aims to give priorities and initiatives a longer, more realistic time scale during which goals can be achieved.

The first key priority of the new plan is the positioning of Eureka within the ERA. This will include the identification of projects suitable for joint undertakings between Eureka and FP6, including the establishment of a collaboration pilot project in the area of biotechnology. It will also include further discussions within the new Eureka-Commission ERA group on areas for collaboration between FP6 integrated projects and Eureka cluster and umbrella projects, as well as the establishment of a 'Danish Event' by inviting Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and the European Parliament's ITRE committee to the Eureka inter-parliamentary conference in Copenhagen this June.

Measures to help achieve the second priority of streamlining Eureka's organisation and decision-making include improvements to decision-making procedures and revision of the structure of official meetings, holding parliamentary and ministerial conferences in alternate years rather than annually.

Action will also be taken to improve the quality of Eureka projects, said Mr Bramsnaes, through changes to assessment and evaluation procedures.

Dr Knud Larsen, the incoming chairman of the Eureka high level group during the forthcoming Danish Chair year, said the collaboration between the three successive chairmanships represents a major change in the organisation and decision-making process of Eureka. 'Continuity, efficiency and quality will be the guiding principles of the Danish Eureka chair year,' Dr Larsen writes in the Eureka News magazine.

For further information on Eureka, please consult the following web address:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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