Report on the state of research in applicant countries and measures needed to ensure their full participation in the framework programme

October 21, 2002

Brussels, 18 Oct 2002

FINAL A5-0349/2002 10 October 2002
REPORT on the state of research in applicant countries and measures needed to ensure their full participation in the framework programme
Full text

[...] Questionnaire on the state of research in candidate countries

In order to obtain up-to-date, first-hand information on the benefits CCs have obtained from their participation in FP5 and the problems they encountered, but also on the ways in which they feel that their participation can be enhanced, a questionnaire was addressed to them via their missions in Brussels. The questionnaire contained a total of 24 questions equally divided between general and specific questions related to FP5 and to FP6.

The answers to the questionnaire contained important elements in common, which can be summarised as follows:

Benefits from participation in FP5 include: international cooperation links; access to modern infrastructures and state-of-the-art know-how; acquisition of project management skills;

Benefits were derived from various FP5 programmes, especially from the Information Society, Growth and Quality of life programmes, and the Human Potential activity;

SMEs proved to be more flexible and appear to have benefited more than large enterprises; difficulties were encountered however with the transfer of research results to industrial use;

Most CCs have defined their RTD policy priorities taking into account those of the framework programme, but no major reorientation of their research policy was necessary to facilitate their participation;

The information obtained from Commission services was generally adequate, although not always timely and in some cases deficient in the details; information on project evaluation was not always consistent among different DGs; the usefulness of a single information point with full information about the status of projects (such as the service provided by CORDIS, with possible improvements) is generally acknowledged, as is the need for better advertising (for the purpose of partner search) of upcoming projects by their coordinators;

The National Contact Point system has played an essential role in information provision and "Information Days" organised in the countries themselves, with participation of Commission officials, were extremely useful; information meetings in Brussels were less useful, due to inadequate financial means for travel and participation of those concerned;

Participation in FP5 from areas of S&T, in which CCs have not been traditionally strong, was hampered by ageing staff, lack of adequate research teams and facilities, unfamiliar procedures and work programmes not fitting country needs;

FP6 priorities seem to correspond quite well to the national priorities of CCs, although some find that the thematic priorities of FP6 are not broad enough or include areas (e.g. aeronautics) that are not of strategic importance to their countries;

CCs are well-informed about the new financing instruments and welcome some of their aspects (e.g. flexibility and simplification), but are concerned that CC research entities may be disadvantaged when competing for participation in networks of excellence or integrated projects; they would therefore wish unanimously that some of the familiar and tested FP5 financing mechanisms be maintained;

Benefits from the Human Potential activity were limited by the absence of incentives for scientists to return and by the unavailability for institutions from CCs of the host fellowship scheme aimed at helping develop the research capacity of less-favoured regions of the Community; provisions in FP6 show significant improvements: the scope of all human potential activities has been broadened to place CCs on an equal footing with Member States, especially as regards the transfer of knowledge host scheme and reintegration grants;

There is a real problem of brain drain, both external (out of the country) and internal (to other sectors); low salaries in particular make a research career in CCs non-competitive; the stabilisation of indigenous human capital is bound to be a long-term process;

The legal framework for intellectual property rights is sufficient in all CCs, but awareness among those concerned is rather low and practical experience is still lacking;

Adequate research infrastructures are a prerequisite for deriving optimal benefits from the framework programme; structural funds will have to be used for the improvement and modernisation or replacement of obsolete and ageing infrastructures in CCs;

All CCs appear to be satisfied with the FP5 financial participation scheme and welcome the rebate granted to them. [...]

Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy - Rapporteur: Jürgen Zimmerling

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