The government is intent on raising the proportion of European funding flowing into British laboratories with an initiative spearheaded by a special conference.
More than 400 UK scientists questioned European Commission officials at a meeting set up to help them improve their chances of benefiting from the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
The event was staged yesterday by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with support from the natural environment and biotechnology and biological sciences research councils and the Food Standards Agency.
EC science heads talked people through the process of putting together the international collaborations necessary to win a share of the £17.5 billion available for applied research.
Howard Dalton, Defra's chief scientific adviser, said: "We're trying to encourage as many people in the UK to get aware of what's available."
British science has done well from Europe. While the UK contributed about 20 per cent of the funding for FP5, 63 per cent of the successful proposals included British researchers and 26 per cent had a British coordinator.
FP6 targets a number of research fields, three of which are of particular interest to Defra. These include biosciences, genomics and biotechnology for health, for which £1.44 billion is available; food quality and safety (£685 million); and sustainable development, global change and eco-systems (£1.36 billion).
Information on applying for FP6 funding can be found on research council websites.
* The House of Commons science and technology select committee is launching an inquiry into the extent to which the UK is taking advantage of the framework programme.