Participation in and dissemination of research results: draft parliamentary report

June 10, 2002

Brussels, 7 June 2002

Report on the amended proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities and for the dissemination of research results for the implementation of the European Community framework programme 2002-2006 (COM(2001) 822 - C5-0017/2002 - 2001/0202(COD)). 29 May 2002. Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy. Rapporteur: Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl. Full text

[Draft amendments]

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

1. The Commission proposal

The Commission proposal concerns the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities and for the dissemination of research results for the implementation of the European Community framework programme 2002-2006. The overall impression of the approach taken by the Commission is positive, as it seeks to facilitate access to funding by simplifying the rules and increasing operational flexibility for recipients. Naturally, as a counterpart to this increased autonomy for research bodies, greater care will need to be taken to ensure that the specific targets of the projects funded are reached. This should include the circulation and dissemination of the results achieved.

A brief examination of the text shows at a glance that Article 1 of the proposal for a decision defines the terms used in the text, amongst which 'consortium', 'participant', 'international organisation', 'small and medium-sized enterprises', etc. However, it does not include the term 'university', which nevertheless appears in the title of the proposal. This omission remains throughout the text and begs the question of whether or not the Commission made this choice on a purely legal/linguistic basis. Given the contribution that universities can and must make in the field of research and, above all, the multifaceted role they can play in research, higher education and cooperation with society, especially in their own regions, this is a valid point.

2. The amendments tabled

The Committee on Culture is only indirectly involved in the procedures relating to the implementation of the 6th framework programme for research. It has therefore tabled several amendments essentially to stress both the importance of the interdisciplinary nature of research and the importance of disseminating the results not only amongst those involved in the work but, more generally, with a view to achieving the ambitious objective set out in the Lisbon strategy, namely that of establishing a society based on knowledge.

This twin-track mission in the public interest should involve all fields of research covered by the framework programme, particularly those areas where scientific progress has a greater impact on people's lives or where people's confidence in science and scientists needs to be strengthened.

Obviously, this task of informing the public should be carried out directly by the recipient bodies impartially, simply and without the use of propaganda. The Commission should be asked to ensure that this 'mission' is carried out properly, by encouraging the exchange of best practices and, if necessary, by drawing up blueprints for information campaigns, which clearly indicate the aim of the research, the results achieved, the tangible future benefits and the European added value of the research.

As regards the question of how the information should be disseminated, it may be recalled that according to Eurobarometer 55, some 62% of European citizens prefer to receive information on the EU via television. However, with regard to the dissemination of the results of the framework programme, it would be advisable to allow each body responsible for.research projects to decide on a case-by-case basis. The Commission could be asked to inform the recipient bodies of the resources it could provide with a view to encouraging dissemination of information which is, as far as possible, targeted to the type of public that information is trying to reach (e.g., university circuits, conferences and seminars, radio and TV programmes, press conferences, the Internet, etc.).

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4 of 9 Commission 7 Jun 2002

Women and science needs to go deeper, says Commission official

Brussels, 07 June 2002

The Lisbon goal of making the European Union the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010 is dependent on the strength of science, and science's strength can only be improved by ensuring that women play a greater role in it, according to Rainer Gerold of the European Commission.

Mr Gerold, Director of the Commission's science and society directorate, was speaking at the Spanish Presidency event on ' Women and science', held in Madrid on 5 June. He said that everyone, especially men, needed to address the lack of women in science, to encourage them more and make them feel appreciated and to ensure that they stay in the system.

'Science cannot remain in the exclusive domain of a scientific elite,' he said.

Both quantitative and qualitative areas need focus, according to Mr Gerold. Quantitative measures include ensuring that the low number of women choosing science is increased and importantly that they stay in the area. There is a 'leaky tube' situation at present, where many women abandon research at some point, leading to those skills being lost to the scientific community.

Qualitatively, ensuring that women feel more comfortable in a scientific environment is important. 'If it was just a question of numbers, the few female scientists would be treated the same as men and that way more women would want to join,' said Mr Gerold. One particular area where women suffer is a lack of encouragement and motivation in a scientific context. Increasing the number of women in science would also make science more relevant to society, Mr Gerold added.

The Commission's Science and society action plan has established four elements to deal with the problems relating to women and science. It has established a European platform for women in science which links existing networks, drawn up statistics relating to gender equality in science, supported mobility of women in the private sector and promoted gender equality in the candidate countries.

'[But] my principal concern is that we will not make progress unless everyone contributes,' said Mr Gerold. 'Men in particular must understand that a greater participation of women in science is a necessity which is in their in interests.'

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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