Brussels, 26 Jun 2003
The work of the new European road transport research advisory council (ERTRAC) got underway on 25 June when all members came together for the first time in Brussels.
EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, who was present at the meeting, explained how the council brings together all stakeholders: companies, public authorities and users in order to 'optimise the sector's strengths at European level.'
ERTRAC's principle task will be to outline a strategic vision for the road transport sector with regard to research and development (R&D), and to design strategies and roadmaps to achieve this vision. The council will also be charged with stimulating road transport R&D by encouraging public and private investment; enhance collaboration between all actors in line with the principles of the European Research Area (ERA); encourage clustering; and ensure that Europe is viewed as an attractive location for researchers.
'ERTRAC will cover many topics,' said Mr Busquin. 'Regional issues, security, the environment, economic matters, increasing mobility and improving quality of life for Europe's citizens.' Working groups will focus on both vehicles and transport infrastructures.
At the last Competitiveness Council, the Commission proposed the concept of 'technology platforms', through which industry, the research community, regulators, and national authorities would be brought together to develop a long term strategic research agenda. Such groups have already been created in the transport sector for aeronautics and rail, which Mr Busquin said has led to more coordinated research within the EU. 'You have to first spend more in able to spend less later,' said the Commissioner.