Top European research organisations join forces with EU Commission

October 28, 2003

Brussels, October 2003

The European Commission and seven of the foremost European scientific research organisations, which constitute EIROforum, will today sign a "statement of intent" to develop the European Research Area. In a common resolve to explore synergies and conduct joint activities, EIROforum and the Commission have pledged to engage in consultation with one another, arrange for exchanges and secondment of experts, and to build on this collaboration by concluding further bilateral agreements. The "Statement of Intent" will be signed by European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and the Directors-General of the EIROforum organisations: Mr Jerôme Paméla (European Fusion Development Agreement), present EIROforum Chairman, Mrs Catherine Cesarsky (European Southern Observatory), Mr Colin Carlile (Institut Laue-Langevin), Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain (European Space Agency), Mr Fotis Kafatos (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), Mr Luciano Maiani (Centre Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), and Mr Bill Stirling (European Synchroton Radiation Facility).

"This "Statement of Intent" marks a new step towards the creation of the European Research Area," says Commissioner Busquin. "With Europe's best scientists working together in world-class research infrastructures to spearhead Europe's performance in priority areas such as space applications, nuclear research and biology, EIROforum organisations, in collaboration with the European Commission, will play a decisive role in promoting the quality and consistency of European research. This is a concrete example of the European Research Area in action, for a more competitive EU and better quality of life for our citizens."

A press conference will take place today, Monday, October 2003, at 19:15 at Crowne Plaza Europa Hotel, 107 Rue de la Loi, 1040 Brussels.

What is EIROForum?

A number of top research infrastructures and laboratories used by an extensive network of scientists have set up a co-ordination and collaboration Council (EIROforum). The primary goal of EIROforum is to play an active and constructive role in promoting the quality and impact of European research. It is also contributing to the creation of the European Research Area, a true internal market for knowledge and science. In particular, the group is the basis for effective, high-level co-operation. It will mobilise its substantial combined expertise in basic research and in the management of large international infrastructures, facilities and programmes.

Best brains and top labs

EIROForum encourages and facilitates the sharing of research results, innovation and technology transfer, and higher education. It also aims to combat the "brain drain" by providing training possibilities for young scientists in an international environment with state-of-the-art equipment, and attracting world-class scientists from overseas. It looks into new promising research fields, in particular with a view to the creation of new large-scale research infrastructures. It co-operates with the EU, Member States and other organisations to foster EU excellence in the scientific field.

From nuclear fusion to high-speed computing

The European Commission already collaborates on a large scale with the individual members of EIROforum. The Commission has co-funded research (for instance work in CERN on the "Grid" networks for high-speed computing and the fusion programme in EFDA), and is exploring strategic synergies (for instance the development of a European space policy in conjunction with ESA).

Who are the members of EIROforum?

EIROforum is a collaboration of seven European Intergovernmental scientific Research Organisations:

CERN - European Organisation for Nuclear Research

EFDA - European Fusion Development Agreement

EMBL - European Molecular Biology Laboratory

ESA - European Space Agency

ESO - European Southern Observatory

ESRF - European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

ILL - Institut Laue-Langevin

Feeding into the European Research Area

These organisations have a key role to play in the future of the European Research Area. As world leaders within their respective fields of science, the seven member organisations of the EIROforum constitute the vanguard of European science. The European Research Area (ERA) project was launched at the European Council at Lisbon in March 2000 in the context of making Europe's economy the leading knowledge-based powerhouse in the world. Two years later, the European Council meeting in Barcelona set the goal of attaining a level of 3% of GDP for research and development (R&D) investment in the EU by 2010 to achieve the objectives set out at Lisbon.

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DN: IP/03/1453 Date: /10/2003

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