Brussels, 16 Dec 2004
Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik called on the participants of Technology Platforms to sign up to a voluntary code of practice on openness and transparency on 15 December.
Technology Platforms unite stakeholders from industry, the research community, public authorities, the financial community, regulators, consumers and civil society around a specific technological challenge.
There are currently 22 such platforms, in sectors such as aeronautics, hydrogen, nano-electronics, medicine and steel.
'Platforms therefore represent a powerful mobilising force. They can build the necessary scale of effort to achieve the major advances in research and development. Europe's growth and competitiveness depend on them,' said Mr Potocnik.
When successful, the platforms can also champion the balance between growth and competitiveness on the one hand, and environmental and social sustainability on the other, he added.
One of the conditions for their success is openness, claimed the Commissioner. Technology Platforms should have clear rules for access by stakeholders, both existing and new. 'Platforms will founder if allowed to drift into 'closed shops',' he said, inviting those present to work towards a voluntary code of good practice.
Mr Potocnik also spoke of the future for Technology Platforms. He referred to them as 'building blocks' for the shaping of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research: 'The 'bottom-up' nature of platforms and the dynamic process by which strategic research agendas are defined provide a solid basis for identifying thematic priorities for collaborative research in FP7,' he said.
The research priorities identified by the platforms are likely to be addressed, except for in a minority of cases, through the framework programme's collaborative research instruments. The exceptions to the rule will be when EU funding is not the optimal form of support for the research in question, or when the strategic research agenda can only be implemented through a long term public-private partnership. 'The Commission recognises that the particular needs of these platforms will also have to be addressed in its proposal for the Seventh Framework Programme,' the Commissioner added. These 'needs' are likely to be addressed through 'technology initiatives', and the Commission is currently 'working hard on the criteria to evolve technology platforms into technology initiatives,' said Mr Potocnik.
Referring to the Commission's role in relation to Technology Platforms, Mr Potocnik said that while their development will be facilitated in every way possible, 'we do not wish to hinder the independence of platforms.'
For further information on Technology Platforms, please visit:
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