Report on the EU's R&D activities and the Joint Research Centre's annual report 2001

December 11, 2002

Brussels, 10 Dec 2002

FINAL A5-0428/2002 3 December 2002
REPORT 1. on the report from the Commission on research and technological development activities of the European Union - 2001 annual report and 2. on the report from the Commission on the JRC annual report 2001
Full text

[...] With regard to science policy, one of the questions to be resolved concerns the public doubts as to the validity of some kinds of technology. These questions must be tackled by promoting an active dialogue between scientists and the public and encouraging critical comprehension on the part of the latter. In this way, we can work together to develop a science policy that is citizen-friendly and responsible.

Similarly, simplifying the structure of the framework programme, with fewer management and advisory committees, would allow for more transparent management. Extending simplified procedures to bodies other than research institutes in the traditional sense will help bring research closer to citizens.

Implementation of the framework programmes:

Fourth framework programme: during 2001 a substantial number of fourth framework programme projects were completed.

Fifth framework programme: despite being somewhat behind time, not least because of the complexity of the procedures for tendering and awarding contracts once decisions have been taken, the current report (published in 2002 and dealing with 2001) is based on the year 2000. Some 4800 contracts for around 3.9 billion euro were signed during 2000 and distributed among 23 000 participants. SME participation improved, thanks in particular to the vital tool offered by the specific simplified procedures (CRAFT). The involvement of women is progressing well at all levels of research, although it is still inadequate. The average contribution to shared-cost actions is around 1.29m euro per project. 70% of participations involved shared-cost actions, of which 90% were RTD projects. The average project selection rate was over 28%, compared to 22% in 1999. The financial support was shared equally between research centres, institutes of higher education and industry.

Sixth framework programme: in 2001 the Commission published the draft decision on the sixth framework programme and the European Parliament debated the main points at first reading. This programme seems of particular significance, because for the first time account is taken of sustainable development and the effects of the environment on health. Parliament paid close attention to basic research, with the aim of continuing to develop inventive and independent research with a long-term perspective.

Joint Research Centre (JRC)

The JRC is one of the two Commission directorates-general placed under the authority of the Commissioner responsible for research, Mr Philippe Busquin. Its role is to provide scientific and technical support for the Commission's decision-making process through its own research activities and the pooling of skills from its vast scientific research network.

It employs 1869 persons, including 750 officials. In 2001 there were 57 trainees and 200 scientific bursary-holders at either post-graduate or post-doctoral level. The JRC's 2001 budget was 256.8 million euro, lower than the figure for 1999 (266 million). Some of its research activities are shared-cost actions under the framework programme, while others fall outside the programme.

In recent years the JRC's research has made an increasing contribution to the EU's main policies, for example during the BSE crisis or finding alternatives to animal testing for cosmetic products. The JRC embarked on a period of far-reaching changes in 2001, with its bodies being restructured and its activities regrouped.

Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) - Geel (B)
An institute which produces, certifies and sells reference materials and which develops methods of measurement, for example to detect BSE or trace GMO. The IRMM is working to establish global networks; it has certified standards for radioactive isotopes and is helping to train laboratories in the applicant countries.

Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) - Karlsruhe (D)
The ITU trains researchers using transuranian elements in research into nuclear waste incineration and alpha immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

Institute for Energy (IE) - Petten (NL)
The institute was established in 2001, taking over from its predecessor, the Institute for Advanced Materials. The new institute has three priorities: nuclear safety, non-nuclear energy and, by extension, nuclear medicine.

Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) - Ispra (I)
The institute is the product of a merger between the former Environment Institute and part of the former Space Applications Institute. The outcome is a multidisciplinary team capable of tackling the many facets of sustainable development strategy. Its tasks include model building and remote sensing, and it also works on water and clean air policies.

Institute for the Protection and the Security of the Citizen (IPSC) - Ispra (I)
The institute, set up in September 2001, is a product of the merger between the former Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety and part of the Space Applications Institute. It has the task of providing support for action taken by the EU in the area of the protection of citizens, and in particular IT security and measures to combat fraud, natural disasters and technological and economic risk and nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards.

Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) - Ispra (I)
In 2001 the institute tested several methods of analysis in the area of food safety and quality and concluded a cooperation agreement with industry on standardising GMO detection methods.

Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) - Seville (E)
In 2001 the emphasis was on the applicant countries. The IPTS carries out prospective studies on the environment, the information society and other areas. [...]

Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy - Rapporteur: Yves Piétrasanta

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