Brussels, 2 November 2006
16.10.2006 Type of Procedure: Consultation procedure
REPORT on the proposal for a Council decision on the specific programme 'People' implementing the 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013) of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities
[...] A researcher's career
The Commission proposal for the People programme takes account of positive experience with the Marie Curie initiatives, which have greatly stimulated growth at the highest level of research; and in these cases they have indeed turned out to be veritable laboratories of intellectual endeavour..
In the light of this encouraging experience it was only right to adjust the supporting structure, by making the changes that mature experience itself has suggested.
The objectives of the specific 'People' programme are very ambitious, seeking to improve and increase human resources in the European research and development sector.
The programme seeks to encourage talented individuals to opt for a career in research, encouraging European research workers to remain in Europe and attracting other research workers from all over the world. To achieve this, the research career needs to become a profession and to be respected and suitably remunerated as such. A researcher's pay is an important factor in enhancing the career's attraction. So there is a need to create the pay conditions for researchers that take account of the best international standards and give greater attention to the associated social security and insurance cover. This will help to ensure that research is independent.
To be valid, research needs to be as independent as possible and to have a structuring effect on the European Research Area, in which researchers should be able to move with total freedom to develop their abilities and improve their skills; they should also have an opportunity to meet and acquire further knowledge, upgrade their capabilities and interact with society in workshops, conferences and specialised exchanges, to disseminate the results of their research and act as very research laboratories themselves.
This should be made possible through a special network funded by the Marie Curie Actions.
The network should serve to encourage researchers' career development and their professional engagement on completion of their training.
Given that the objective of the 'People' programme is to encourage research careers it is necessary to assist research workers at each stage of their career, commencing with their early training.
The importance of female research workers should not be forgotten and special efforts should be made to encourage their research career prospects without forcing them to sacrifice their family lives. This requires special measures to make it possible to reconcile family life with a career and enable women to resume work after taking a legitimate career break.
The way in which researchers and their families are integrated into the host country is closely bound up with improvement of the European research market, which means that it is essential to support the European network of centres of mobility. This task involves easing the living conditions of workers in the host country and at the same time raising public awareness of the research worker and the role played by the Marie Curie Actions..
Achievement of the ambitious objectives of the specific 'People' programme is closely linked to one crucial factor, a consistent budget.
The Member States are committed to investing 3% of their GDP in the research sector; the EU should be showing the way forward, while ensuring that the overall development strategy is not penalised by a shortage of financial resources in its budget. It would indeed be paradoxical if the Member States increased their investment in research and the EU decided to cut back its own, thus frustrating the programme under way or its means of co-financing.
Investing in knowledge means, above all else, investing in young people, training them, and enabling them to compete internationally and face the challenge of the future. That challenge is called research. [...]
20.10.2006 Type of Procedure: Consultation procedure
REPORT on the proposal for a Council decision on the Specific Programme: "Capacities" implementing the 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013) of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities
[...] To become competitive and play a leading role at world level, the European Community needs a strong and coherent international science and technology policy.
Strategic partnerships with ENPI (European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument) and third countries in selected fields of science and by engaging their best scientists to work in and with Europe should be pursued in spirit of an open cooperation.
To this regard the thematic areas indicated in the FP7 document (Chapter I. Cooperation) are to be understood as priorities but not exclusive of other items that could emerge in the field of international cooperation (with Neighbour and third countries).
Scientific research within international scientific cooperation has a high potential in the search of excellence with a definite structural effect of strong cohesion.
The Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) from EIB to European investments funds with the involvement of national and regional banking system will be extremely important. The multiplying effect in "cascade" of risk sharing shall ensure the availability of venture capital for innovation and involve the local banking system into the ability of financial risk evaluation specifically for innovation.
To boost European competitiveness strategic partnership should be promoted between EUREKA and FP7 in synergy with JTIs, also to facilitate activities for high growth SMEs.