Brussels, 26 Sep 2005
Proposal for a
COUNCIL DECISION concerning the Specific Programme to be carried out by means of direct actions by the Joint Research Centre under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013)
EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM (EC TREATY)
1. CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSALS
The proposals for five specific programmes follow the Commission's proposal for a 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013) adopted on 6 April 20051. A structure was presented in terms of four main specific programmes - "Cooperation", "Ideas", "People" and "Capacities" - each corresponding to a major objective of European research policy; a further specific programme is for the direct actions of the Joint Research Centre. The Commission will be presenting proposals for the "Rules for Participation and Dissemination" that apply to the 7th Framework Programme.
The policy context and objectives are those set out in the Communication "Building the ERA of knowledge for growth"2. To meet these objectives and implement in full the specific programmes will require a doubling of the budget as proposed by the Commission.
Research, technology, education and innovation are a significant way of creating jobs in a long term and sustainable manner. They are also the key to economic growth, competitiveness, health, quality of life and the environment. The research Framework Programme, alongside Community programmes in the areas of education and innovation, is aimed to progress towards the knowledge economy and society. The specific programmes of the 7th Framework Programme are designed to address, in combination with the necessary national and private efforts, major weaknesses in the level, quality and impact of European research. The dissemination and transfer of knowledge is a key added value of European research actions, and measures will be taken to increase the use of results by industry, policy- makers and society.
Europe must invest more in research and a new emphasis is needed if the European Union is to progress towards the objective of investing 3% of its GDP in research by 2010. The 7th Framework Programme will contribute to this, both through direct financing but also by leveraging additional public and private investments in research.
Europe needs more researchers in order to increase and improve its research efforts. Alongside other actions, such as the European Charter for Researchers and national policy measures, the 7th Framework Programme is designed to stimulate more people to embark upon and pursue research careers, and once again attract leading research talent to Europe.
Financial support at a European level offers opportunities to increase the excellence and effectiveness of research which cannot be achieved at national level. The specific programmes of the 7th Framework Programme represent further consolidation of the European Research Area, achieving critical mass and structures in new areas of research and by new means, and further supporting the free movement of ideas, knowledge and researchers.
Throughout the implementation of the specific programmes the potential for European level actions to strengthen excellence in research will be exploited to the maximum, notably through EU wide competitions backed with rigorous and independent evaluation of proposals.
This implies identifying and supporting existing excellence wherever it exists across the European Union as well as creating capacities for future research excellence.
The impact of the specific programmes will be enhanced through complementarities with other Community policies and programmes, and in particular the Structural Funds, the education programmes, and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.
2. PRIOR CONSULTATION
The preparation of the specific programme proposals has taken account of the views expressed by the EU Institutions, in particular the European Parliament and European Council, as well as other stakeholders including researchers and users of research. This includes the ongoing discussions and inputs in relation to the proposal for the 7th Framework Programme decisions, the extensive consultations and inputs collected during the preparation of that proposal, and further work in identifying future research priorities such as that being undertaken by European Technology Platforms.
The Specific Programme proposal draws from the in-depth impact assessment undertaken for the 7th Framework Programme proposal3 which demonstrated the strong and specific added value of each of the specific programme proposed. In addition, the proposals take account of the outcome of the five year assessment of the Framework Programme4.
3. LEGAL ASPECTS
The proposal for the specific programmes is based on Title XVIII of the Treaty, Articles 163 to 173, and in particular Article 166(3) concerning implementation of the Framework Programme through specific programmes.
4. BUDGETARY IMPLEMENTATION
The legislative financial statements attached to each proposed Decision set out the budgetary implications and the human and administrative resources.
The Commission intends to set up an executive agency which will be entrusted with certain tasks required to implement the "Cooperation", "People" and "Capacities" Specific Programmes. This approach will also be taken for the implementation of the "Ideas" programme (see Section 7.2 below).
5. A COHERENT AND FLEXIBLE IMPLEMENTATION
5.1. Adapting to new needs and opportunities
It is vital that the implementation of the specific programmes is sufficiently flexible to remain at the forefront of scientific and technological developments and respond to emerging