Brussels, 18 Dec 2002
The European Parliament adopted two resolutions on research and technological development on 17 December containing calls for further participation by women in EU research programmes, and for the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to have a major role in the creation of the European Research Area (ERA).
The resolutions are based on two reports by French MEP Yves Piétrasanta in response to two Commission reports: a 2001 annual report on research activities in the EU and the JRC annual report 2001.
The MEP claims that the year 2001 was 'particularly significant', being the final year of the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) and the year in which the ERA was launched.
The report calls for the target for participation by women in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to be set at 50 per cent, and at the same time expresses regret that the goal of 40 per cent was not reached under FP5.
'The serious under-representation of women in research positions demonstrates that the EU is still far from being able to use its human resources properly and, hence, from attaining its stated objective of becoming the 'most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world', as set out in the Lisbon Strategy,' states the report.
Mr Piétrasanta's report also urges the Commission to push for and support increased funding for studies concerning women and gender, and support the creation of a European Gender Institute.
The creation of a European Research Area is dependent upon six pillars, according to the MEP's report: a Community patent, benchmarking of national research and innovation policies, mapping of scientific excellence in Europe, creation of national programme networks, improving researcher mobility and identifying barriers thereto, and establishing a scientific and technical reference system based on the JRC.
Indeed, the report claims that 'As a European research body, the JRC is involved in the establishment of the European Research Area, being able to provide a platform which offers genuine Community added value through its networking efforts and scientific collaboration.'
Mr Piétrasanta also claims that the JRC's role should be further enhanced: 'The JRC should be able to play a more important role for politicians and those running the EU via its task of providing scientific and technical support and bearing in mind that it is an operational instrument capable of performing basic research in its laboratories.'
To see the Yves Piétrasanta's report, please