Brussels, 01 Dec 2004
Ministers had four principal demands when discussing the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research at the recent Competitiveness Council, according to Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Maria van der Hoeven.
Ms van der Hoeven was in the European Parliament, along with her colleague Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Minister for Economic Affairs, to present the results of the 25 and 26 November meeting.
Ministers hope to settle FP7 by the end of April 2005, said Ms van der Hoeven. They welcomed the improvements that the Commission has made to FP6 following the Marimon report, mainly in the area of improved guidance, and outlined four elements that must be addressed in FP7. These relate to the instruments, industry, public-private partnerships and collaboration with other funding programmes.
Ministers demanded the continuation of collaborative research and of the new elements that were introduced in FP6. They agreed that these activities should form the key part of FP7. The Council also asked that FP7 be made more attractive to industry than its predecessors. Particular emphasis was put on the attractiveness of the framework programmes to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), whose requirements will only be met if a bottom-up approach is adopted, said Ministers.
Participants also stipulated that cooperation between public and private entities must be closer, said Ms van der Hoeven. This can be forged not only through collaborative projects, but also through Technology Platforms, she elaborated.
Finally, the Council agreed on the need for closer links between FP7 and other European research funding initiatives, such as Eureka and COST.
Ms van der Hoeven also underlined the Dutch Presidency's desire to increase researcher mobility and improve conditions for researchers. 'Whatever your approach is, research has to be carried out by human beings,' said the minister. She claimed that a conference organised by the Dutch Presidency on brain drain had formed the groundwork for recommendations on this subject to be published shortly by the Commission.