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"European Research Area" - zaproszenie do opiniowania
Poniżej przedstawiamy ogłoszony przez Komisję Europejsk± na pocz±tku paĽdziernika
br. kolejny dokument zwi±zany z tworzeniem Europejskiego Obszaru Badawczego
(European Research Area – ERA). Stanowi on rozwinięcie i konkretyzację
– w rezultacie konsultacji międzynarodowych – koncepcji zawartych w opublikowanym
w styczniu br. dokumencie KE "Towards a European Research Area"
proponuj±cym strategiczne kierunki działań zmierzaj±cych do zdynamizowania
sfery badań naukowych i rozwoju technicznego w Europie. Serdecznie zapraszamy
wszystkich zainteresowanych do podzielenia się z Komitetem Badań Naukowych
opini± na temat tego dokumentu i nadsyłanie swoich uwag na adres firstname.lastname@example.org.
do 10 listopada br.
COM (2000) 612 final
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN
PARLIAMENT, THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE
Making a reality of The European Research Area: Guidelines for EU
research activities (2002-2006)
A NEW HORIZON
The European Research Area project offers a new horizon for scientific
and technological activity and for research policy in Europe.
The aim is to create conditions making it possible to increase the impact
of European research efforts by strengthening the coherence of research
activities and policies conducted in Europe.
Another objective is to lay the foundations for a new contract between
European citizens and science and technology by putting research back at
the heart of society and subjecting its applications to informed political
debate, as befits their social implications.
In the early 1980s voices were raised at national and European level
warning against the risk of Europe falling behind the United States in
the major fields of the third industrial revolution.
Nearly 20 years on, research is proving to be a central component of
the new economy and knowledge-based society developing worldwide. More
than ever before it is one of the basic driving forces behind economic
and social progress and a key factor in business competitiveness, employment
and the quality of life. Science and technology are also central to the
However, Europe is still suffering from structural weaknesses where
research is concerned. In 1999 the EU invested EUR 70 billion less than
the United States in research and development. It now lags behind the US
and Japan in terms of research spending as a proportion of GDP (1.8% compared
with 2.7% and 3.1% respectively), but also in terms of the number of researchers,
the number of patents and high-technology exports per capita.
Research will need to play an even stronger and more central role in
the workings of Europe's economy and society. This will necessitate stepping
up public and private sector research efforts in the EU, and in addition
the co-ordination of Member States' research efforts, and co-cordination
between the research conducted at national and EU level.
In addition, Europe's citizens need to be given the means to fully regain
the enthusiasm for the adventure of knowledge that they have displayed
at other times in their history, and create a climate of well-justified
confidence in technological progress.
The European Research Area project
Against this background, in January 2000 the Commission proposed the
creation of a European Research Area.
At the Lisbon European Council on 23-24 March the Heads of State and
Government fully endorsed this project as a central component of the establishment
of a European knowledge-based society.
In order to carry it through in the context of an "open method of co-ordination"
they set a series of objectives and an implementation timetable.
Following on from the Conclusions of the European Council, the Resolution
adopted at the Research Council on 15 June 2000 calls upon the Member States
and the Commission to take the necessary steps to make a start on realising
Meanwhile, the European Parliament had strongly supported the project
in a Resolution adopted on 18 May 2000.
The idea of a European Research Area has also been welcomed by
the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, as
well as by the candidate countries, which are already associated with the
EU's Research Framework Programme and will be fully associated with this
initiative dynamically supporting the process of enlargement.
It has been warmly welcomed by the scientific community and industry;
several hundred companies, research bodies and individual researchers have
sent in their comments, either spontaneously or in response to a wide-ranging
consultation. The results of this have been placed on the Internet-site
“Towards a European Research Area” where they can be consulted.
Making a reality of the European Research Area will necessarily
be the product of a joint effort by the EU, its Member States and research
The globalisation of the economy and communications, the acceleration
of scientific and technological progress and its many social implications
make the European Research Area an objective which cannot be postponed.
It will require first of all a number of initiatives, notably on legal
and regulatory issues, and in particular measures to remove the obstacles
to the free movement of researchers, knowledge and technologies in Europe
in different areas: scientific careers, social protection and intellectual
property systems, and provisions concerning the transfer of knowledge and
dissemination of results.
In the months ahead the Commission will be putting forward analyses
and, where appropriate, proposals in these various areas, on the basis
of evaluations carried out in conjunction with the Member States.
Alongside initiatives of this kind, financial measures in support of
EU research will have an important role to play. This Communication concerns
more specifically these support measures and the shape that they should
take in the future.
However, this Communication does not contain any indication of a financial
character, nor regarding the necessary human resources, as such indications
should be provided when the formal proposals for the future Framework Programme
and its specific programmes are presented.
Reassessing EU research support measures
Given the objectives of the European Research Area project, there
is a need to reassess the shape and content of EU research activities.
Future measures in support of EU research will have to take into account
European needs in this area in all their various aspects: the need for
competitiveness as well as to live up to the citizen's expectations; the
need to promote excellence as well as for balanced and coherent technological
development in the EU as a whole; and needs relating more particularly
to the definition, implementation and follow-up of EU policies.
But also, and above all, they must be designed to exert a more "structuring"
effect on European research than is the case at present.
Supplementing the European intergovernmental scientific co-operation
initiatives launched since the 1950s, the EU's Framework Programmes have
made a significant contribution to strengthening European research capabilities.
The collaboration networks and the forms of co-operation to which they
have given rise (250,000 transnational co-operational links between 1995
and 1999) represent a considerable achievement.
Generally, however, these Framework Programmes have up to now to a large
extent been additional to 15 series of national programmes conducted independently
of one another.
In order to be able to play a more structuring role in support of the
realisation of the European Research Area, they need to be more
closely linked with national activities and European intergovernmental
co-operation initiatives. Their funding should be combined to a greater
extent with other public and private sector funding.
The European Research Area project requires the full application
of the principle, enshrined in the Treaty, of complementarity between EU
research activities and Member States' research activities.
New instruments and new methods of intervention need to be conceived
and used for this purpose, specifically designed to help correct the structural
weaknesses of European research.
The purpose of this paper is to propose guidelines for future measures
in support of EU research, and more specifically the research Framework
Programme, for the period 2002-2006. In addition, this paper contains the
Commissions’s mid-term review of the 5th research Framework
Programme. In this respect, it also constitutes the mid-term Communication
provided for in Articles 6 of the Decisions n°182/1999/EC and n° 1999/64/
Euratom on the Fifth Framework Programme.
Presenting these guidelines will set in motion a process resulting in
an in-depth discussion of the mechanisms envisaged, as well as a debate
BROAD LINES AND OBJECTIVES
Future measures in support of EU research should be designed with reference
to the broad lines of the European Research Area.
The latter needs to be realised if the EU is to attain in full the objectives
of research and technological development policy as set out in the Treaty:
strengthen the scientific and technological bases of Community industry
and encourage it to become more competitive at international level; promote
the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other EU policies.
This implies action in a number of areas, the first of which (various
forms of support for research activities in their strict sense) should
account for a substantial proportion of EU efforts.
The following objectives, presented in a thematic order that does not prejudge
either the structure of the future Framework Programme or how it will implement
the four categories of activities provided for in Title XVII of the Treaty,
would be pursued in these various areas:
Improving the performance of European research, in particular through
the networking and coordinated implementation of national programmes; networking
centres and areas of excellence in the public (in particular university)
and private sectors in the Member States; carrying out large-scale targeted
research projects, particularly in the field of industrial research.
Strengthening technological innovation capacities in the EU, in particular
by supporting research for and in SMEs, dissemination, transfer and take-up
of knowledge and technologies, exploitation of research results and setting-up
of technology businesses;
Strengthening the European research infrastructure by implementing
a European policy in this area, taking into account questions concerning
access, operation and construction, and also covering the question of large-capacity
electronic networks for research.
In support of the development of a knowledge-based economy, strengthening
Europe's human resources in science, technology and innovation, in particular
by increasing transfrontier mobility, developing European careers, increasing
the participation of women in research and making the scientific professions
more attractive to young people and Europe more attractive to researchers
from third countries.
Research and innovation, "start-ups" and SMEs:
Establishing, on a European scale, a new contract between science
and society by strengthening the link between research activities and policies
and the needs of society, taking greater account of the needs relating
to the application of the precautionary principle and the sustainable development
principle, as well as the social and ethical consequences of scientific
and technological progres
Science, society and citizens:
2. THREE ASPECTS TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT
Three specific aspects should be taken into account with regard to measures
taken in these areas:
To attain these objectives it will in particular be necessary to include
cooperation agreements or specific conventions in certain areas (for example,
the fight against major illnesses, particularly in the developing countries,
or advanced materials).
These three aspects should be taken into account in particular by efforts
to implement joint measures with those of the European Research Area,
or measures complementing activities in its main fields, in the spheres
of action of:
Firstly, the overall coherence of European scientific and technological
cooperation. The objective here is to increase the impact of European
cooperation initiatives through:
better coordination of the activities of the various organisations and
between those activities and EU activities;
more systematic use of the possibilities for joint or converging measures.
Secondly, the regional dimension. EU measures should be designed
in such a way as to encourage:
full use of the dynamic and potential of the regions by networking their
capacities and activities with regard to research, innovation and technology
transfer, especially where they are confronted with common problems;
the taking into account of regional, geographical or economic specificities
in the carrying-out of research activities in Europe.
Thirdly, the international dimension. With its mission to fully
integrate the countries applying for accessions, the European Research
Area is also outward-looking. The following objectives should be pursued:
implement cooperation enabling European researchers and industry to have
access to knowledge and technologies produced elsewhere in the world;
mobilise the EU’s scientific and technological capacities for the benefit
of the international community and its relations with its partner countries
in areas in which Europe has recognised expertise.
European intergovernmental scientific cooperation structures and organisations:
of a general nature, such as the European Science Foundation, COST and
of a specialised nature, such as in particular ESA, EMBL, ESRF and CERN;
the Structural Funds, regional initiatives and European Investment Bank
the programmes of economic and technical assistance to the Central and
Eastern European countries and Mediterranean third countries, and the other
financial instruments of international cooperation.
SELECTION CRITERIA AND PRIORITIES
European research efforts should be focused on a more limited number of
priorities which should be the subject to a political choice on the basis
of objective assessment criteria.
There are two aspects to the question of selecting and justifying EU
First and foremost, public funding itself requires justification. Public
authorities can legitimately support research activities where the results
generated are of “public benefit” in addition to the direct benefit for
whoever is carrying out the research.
This is the case with basic research, but also with many examples of
Public funding is legitimate and necessary where research in question
may make a contribution to, or is essential for, the implementation of
public policies. This is also true where it helps to resolve problems confronting
society and increases European competitiveness, by encouraging businesses
to carry out risky or long-term research which is not immediately cost-effective,
and where it helps to increase the transparency of the knowledge market.
The second aspect is the justification for support at European level,
and more particularly at Community level. The key concept here is that
of European added value.
European added value is first and foremost connected with the specific
form that EU research activities must take activities which in accordance
with the Treaty are designed to complement Member States’ activities.
However, the principle of European added value also has to be the basic
criterion for selecting priorities and themes for EU research activities.
In the past a list of criteria enshrining this principle has been drawn
up on several occasions in different forms, in particular in the Decisions
adopting the earlier Framework Programmes. It covers the following aspects:
Applying these criteria at a general level could, for example, result in
taking into consideration as possible priorities areas such as:
cost and scale of research above and beyond the possibilities of a single
country, and the need to assemble a critical mass of financial and human
importance in economic terms of working jointly (economies of scale) with
beneficial effects on private-sector research and industrial competitiveness
as a result;
need to combine complementary expertise in the different countries, particularly
in the case of interdisciplinary issues, and to carry out comparative studies
on a European scale;
links with EU priorites and interests and with Community legislation and
policies, in particular in the fields of enterprise, the information society,
agriculture, environment, energy, transport, health and consumers, employment
and social affairs, education, justice and internal affairs, as well as
external relations, trade and development;
the necessarily trans-national nature of the research, given the scale
on which the issues arise (environment) or for scientific reasons (comparative
However, these are just examples of very broadly defined themes and fields.
For each of the priorities selected it will be necessary to apply more
selective criteria, endeavouring:
“post-genome” research and research into major illnesses, given the scale
and complexity of the task and the need for Europe to provide a coherent
contribution to international efforts in this area;
nanotechnologies, an interdisciplinary research field with many applications
the research needed to develop the information society, particularly in
conjunction with the e-Europe initiative;
research and development work that one country or one firm alone could
not carry out, in the aeronautical and space sectors where there is considerable
research supporting European policymaking in areas caracterised by the
presence of strong uncertainties and risks (including the implementation
of the precaution principle);
research in support of Community policies needed to implement a sustainable
development model in the broadest sense.
A method of this kind should make it possible to select the specific activities
to be embarked upon in the various fields of the European Research Area.
to use them not solely to include, but also to exclude seeking to demonstrate
not just that a topic should be addressed at European level but that it
cannot be more effectively addressed at national level;
to use them to rank priorities in light of the objectives set.
Along the lines of the key actions of the 5th Framework Programme, the
various priorities should give rise to initiatives combining measures of
various kinds in several areas (various forms of research activities, innovation,
infrastructure, human resources, etc.).
Support for research activities (participation in the joint implementation
of national programmes, networks of excellence and large-scale targeted
research projects) would focus on priority themes grouped by main areas.
A limited level of resources should, however, be set aside to deal with
important specific needs outside these areas or connected with several
A greater flexibility in the internal allocation of resources would
allow unforeseen needs arising during the execution of programmes to be
While satisfying the criteria for European added value, measures concerning
infrastructures, human resources, technological innovation, and the various
aspects of issues concerning science, society and citizens will not be
limited to the priority thematic areas.
ANALYSIS OF PAST AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
In the run-up to the next Framework Programme, several exercises have
been carried out in recent months to analyse past and current activities.
Their conclusions and the messages emanating from them broadly concur.
1. The opinion of the independent expert
Based on its own analyses and the conclusions of the reports assessing
the different programmes, a panel of eleven independent experts assessed
the implementation of the Framework Programme over the last five years
and the results achieved.
In general, the panel stresses:
As far as the past is concerned, the experts note:
the need to place EU research activities in the broader context of a genuine
European research policy;
the role that the Commission can play to facilitate the emergence of coherent
science and technology and innovation policies, in particular in the perspective
As far as the future is concerned, they recommend:
the beneficial impact of concentrating the Framework Programme on collaborative
research projects many of which "would not have been possible without
the Framework Programme" and which "fill a gap in Europe by enabling
academic and industrial researchers to carry out applied work together";
the recurring administrative problems that are still apparent today despite
all the efforts made to resolve them, and the need to "reassess the
Framework Programme's management structures and procedures".
maintaining the emphasis of the Union’s research activities on objectives
that are economically and socially relevant, and continuing to use the
“key action” concept as a means of focusing the programmes;
increasing the emphasis on the research needed to achieve the objectives
of EU policies;
maintaining and reinforcing the emphasis on excellence, in particular by
offering the best European scientists a framework for conducting leading-edge
research that is "riskier" but has a potentially greater benefit;
a shift towards greater flexibility, by making better use of the range
of instruments and possibilities offered by the Treaty.
As provided for in the Decision adopting the Framework Programme, the Commission
has carried out a mid-term review of its implementation.
The Commission's assessment
It did so in the light of its own observations on the implementation
of the 5th Framework Programme (supported by the 1999 "annual monitoring
reports") and :
The Commission's overall assessment is as follows:
the opinions of the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee
and the Committee of the Regions; and
the debate in the Council and in the Member States (for example, Senator
Laffitte's report for the French Parliamentary Office for the assessment
of science and technology options).
These principles should guide the preparation and implementation of the
next Framework Programme.
EU research activities are reaching the limits of what can be achieved
with them in their present form. The Framework Programme should therefore
be revamped in terms both of its design and of how it is implemented.
New types of intervention and new mechanisms should be developed with a
view to increasing flexibility and speed of implementation while retaining
"the best of the past" (principle of collaborative research; peer review;
support for other EU policies).
To enable the Framework Programme to play its role in the development of
the European Research Area, a stronger link should be established
with national activities, in particular by exploiting the various possibilities
offered by the Treaty.
With a view to enhancing effectiveness, the EU's research effort should
focus on a limited number of priorities and objectives which can only be
addressed at European level through activities of a critical size.
In setting these priorities and objectives, full account should be taken
of the major scientific, industrial, economic and social changes that have
occurred since the 5th Framework Programme was being prepared, in particular
the development of the new virtual economy and the proliferation of problems
(for example of nutritional and industrial security or with respect to
the environment,) calling into question public accountability.
New means are needed to implement EU research activities given the scale
that they have now reached and in order to enable the Commission to refocus
on its essential tasks of policy formulation, submission of proposals,
analysis and monitoring.
INSTRUMENTS AND METHODS OF INTERVENTION
The EU's research programmes have so far mainly been implemented through
projects on a small scale (EU contribution of EUR 700 000 on average for
the 4th Framework Programme; EUR 1.7 million for the 5th Framework Programme)
and of short duration (3 years on average).
These projects have always been selected by the Commission following
public calls for proposals. The aim of making a reality of the European
Research Area entails envisaging other ways of applying this principle
and new methods of intervention.
Far from sufficing in themselves, the European research programmes need
to be designed and implemented in a perspective of close cooperation between
the Member States and the EU.
Adapting the instruments of the Framework Programme to the objectives
of the European Research Area in fact presupposes several concomitant
The range of instruments and methods of intervention must be designed in
such a way as to take into account the needs of public research systems
and the private sector, basic research, targeted research and industrial
research, as well as the various aspects of the European research infrastructure
in the broadest sense. It would also be applied in fields of research connected
with the needs of policymaking and in social and human sciences connected
with the economic and social objectives set.
moving from an approach based on individual projects to a broader approach,
implemented through mechanism of a coherent group of activities with, in
some cases, overall financing plans, and in which the EU contribution would
represent only part of a much broader whole;
moving towards more "structuring" and longer-term schemes (in excess of
four years) based on forms of support mid-way between support for projects,
as given at present, and permanent "institutionalised" financing;
expanding certain EU schemes in their present form (concerning mobility,
for example, or infrastructures) to a level making it possible to increase
their impact and exert a greater leverage effect on national initiatives;
use of "variable geometry" instruments mentioned in the Treaty but not
yet exploited, in order to achieve flexibility at the level of entire programmes.
Using this range of instruments, within the limits of available financial
resources would also have the effect of substantially increasing the scale
of the activities funded by the EU while simplifying and streamlining the
The instruments in question could take the following form:
This would be achieved by means of two types of action, with different
degrees of intensity:
Networking of national programmes:
Networking capabilities for excellence in the public (in particular
university teams) and private-sector centres of excellence would be achieved
with long-term joint programmes of activities. These programmes, representing
an order of magnitude of several tens of millions of euros and with a duration
longer than that of the current research projects, would entail in particular:
continuing and enhancing the mutual opening-up of national programmes
of Member States with support from the Commission in the context of the
open method of coordination advocated by the Lisbon European Council of
coordinated implementation of national programmes.
This possibility, which would have greater integration effects, would be
encouraged by making use of the opportunity provided for in Article 169
of the Treaty whereby the EU can participate in research programmes undertaken
by several Member States.
This formula would be applied in areas and on themes deemed to have priority.
The national programmes involved would be implemented by means of joint
or coordinated calls for proposals.
The Union would bear at least the costs of coordinated implementation of
the programmes. Its financial contribution would be greater where the programmes
are also open to participation by teams and institutions in other EU countries
or associated countries, at a level to be determined.
In the preparation of measures of this type, account should be taken of
existing collaboration schemes or those in preparation.
Networks of excellence:
The networks of excellence would be thematic, disciplinary and, in
many case, interdisciplinary, with many developments taking place at the
border-line between particular fields. They would in particular serve as
a framework for basic or generic research activities, and when appropriate
"risky" research, which would not be carried out with a view to achieving
adopting a joint work programme in a field representing a substantial proportion
or all of the activities of the entities concerned, ensuring that the activities
complement one another and that there is a precise division of tasks;
a minimum level of staff exchanges, over sufficiently long periods, between
the various institutions involved;
intensive use of computer tools and electronic networks, and development
of interactive working methods.
These projects, with an order of magnitude of several tens to several
hundreds of millions of euros, and carried out on certain aspects of selected
priority themes, would be carried out by consortia of companies, universities
and research centres on the basis of pre-established overall financing
plans. The priorities selected and the composition of the consortia would
be defined on the basis of transparent rules (involving peer review where
Large-scale targeted research projects:
Unlike the previous case, EU intervention would be linked to a commitment
to get a result in terms of technological achievements and economic and
social impact. It would represent a variable proportion of the total cost
depending on the features of the project.
In certain cases, these major projects could based on the "clustering"
of separate components. In the case of industrial research activities,
they could take the form of technological platforms, instruments integrating
various technologies and their validation, in particular in the form of
prototypes. Their design would be encouraged as parts of larger entities
which could also benefit from the support of the EUREKA initiative, more
specifically for the near-market aspects.
In accordance with the guidelines set out in the Communication "Innovation
in a knowledge-based society", greater European backing for regional
and national efforts in support of technological innovation, the dissemination
and exploitation of knowledge and results, research for and in SMEs and
the setting-up of technology companies could be provided in the following
Research and innovation, "start-ups" and
As far as possible, the initiatives concerned should be implemented in
the context of overall action plans involving, depending on the case, financing
by companies and industrial associations, national innovation programmes
and the European Investment Bank and EUREKA.
"Collective research" activities in the form of support for research carried
out in association by national or regional technical research centres for
the benefit of European industrial associations or groups of national associations
on themes of interest to very many SMEs in all the Member States. To these
initiatives could be added new forms of "cooperative research" activities
meeting the needs of a limited number of SMEs in different European countries.
Stepping up technological and economic intelligence activities: collection,
processing and dissemination of information of interest to SMEs, e.g. on
market trends and technological developments;
Activities in support of initiatives to network researchers, entrepreneurs
and financiers as well as support for the creation of spin-offs from universities
and the development of incubators for technology companies.
EU support for research infrastructures would be increased and diversified.
The EU at present provides specific support for transnational access
to certain infrastructures used in the EU. This support could be stepped
up and extended to include other aspects of activities carried out with
regard to infrastructures existing in the Member States providing services
on a European scale in the context of association agreements drawn up for
a certain duration between them and the Community.
In the case of new infrastructures of European interest that it is judged
necessary to create in the EU, the latter could bear a limited proportion
of the development and construction costs, e.g. by co-financing feasibility
It would necessarily do so in the context of financing schemes which
combine funds of national and regional origin, from the European Investment
Bank, the Structural Funds, from user companies and from private foundations.
The same type of approach should be pursued to support the development
and use by the different scientific communities of high-speed electronic
networks for research.
Under this heading a series of activities would be carried out more specifically
intended in particular following the conclusion of the European Council
in Lisbon on 23 and 24 March to tailor research activities and policies
more closely to the needs of society, and take into account the social
consequences of scientific and technological progress.
On account of the particular importance of this aspect as regards
realising the European Research Area, a substantial increase should
be envisaged in the volume of mobility grants for researchers in the EU
countries, candidate countries and third countries.
In addition to initial and continuous training needs, action in support
of mobility should take into account other categories of needs. A system
of grants for the transfer of knowledge and technologies, in particular
to SMEs, could thus be set up.
Various initiatives should also be launched to stimulate the development
of employment in science and technology in Europe. Measures to encourage
the participation of women at all levels in scientific careers should be
stepped up. And specific measures should be launched to encourage young
people to take up scientific studies and join the world of research.
Efforts will be made to support the development of the expertise and
skills needed in a knowledge-based society.
To help Europe maintain its position at the forefront of knowledge,
in particular in emerging fields, a support scheme could also be set up
for leading-edge teams, for example built around eminent scientists, and
for speculative research projects carried out on the basis of small-scale
Science, society and citizens
These activities, using, where necessary, the various instruments and
methods of intervention mentioned above, may be grouped together under
the following themes:
Support for policymaking and European scientific reference
Activities in support of policymaking, and more particularly the application
of the precautionary principle and the sustainable development principle,
as well as, in this context, the development of a European scientific reference
system: specific research; validation, testing and pre-normative activities;
development of anticipation and warning capacities; organisation of expertise,
initiatives to involve stakeholders; actions to disseminate information
These activities would be carried out by networks of national research
bodies or specialised institutions in the Member States, involving the
Joint Research Centre in its specific areas of competence.
They would also be carried out in liaison with those of the future "European
Research activities in the economic, social and human sciences on
themes of European interest and issues arising on a European scale. Concerted
foresight and analysis work, "observatories" for research policies and
Research and the needs of society:
Initiatives to bring into contact researchers, industry, policymakers
and citizens ("Citizens' Conferences" on a European scale, etc.). Initiatives
to promote the public's knowledge of science and technology: support for
collaboration between museums and centres for scientific culture, schools,
television stations, magazines and publishers; "European Science Week".
Stepping up the efforts to increase the participation of women in
European research by improving knowledge of the underlying causes of their
under-representation in this field and removing obstacles to their participation,
as well as the measures taken to ensure that greater account is taken of
the specific needs of women and the "gender" dimension in national and
Community research activities.
Specific research and networking of national institutions and activities
in this field.
MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION
The implementation of the Union's research programmes is based on a
number of fundamental principles which guarantee the quality of the research
carried out with EU support and the credibility of what the EU is doing
in this area. In particular, projects are selected on the basis of public
calls for proposals and evaluation is based on peer review.
These principles should be largely maintained. However, in some cases,
the way in which they are applied today will need to be adapted. The activities
relating to networks of excellence, large-scale targeted research and infrastructure
projects could, for example, be the subject of competitive tendering or
calls for proposals different from the traditional calls for research proposals.
Two categories of reasons determine the development of how the EU's
research programmes are managed.
First of all, new management methods will naturally flow from the new
methods of intervention proposed. The nature of the activities envisaged
in several fields, for example, gives rise to the idea of large-scale blocks
of activities being carried out by research actors in a technically autonomous
manner. This is the case in particular with:
The activities carried out in the context of national programmes executed
in a coordinated fashion with EU participation would by definition be managed
in the context of those programmes with the Member States and the Commission
being jointly responsible for monitoring of their implementation.
"programmes of activities" connected with the operation of the networks
large-scale targeted research projects;
"collective research" projects carried out for the benefit of many SMEs;
activities relating to research infrastructures carried out in the context
of association agreements with the Community;
mobility grants allocated through the host fellowship scheme whereby research
centres, universities or companies are allocated a certain number of fellowships
to be awarded and administered independently on the basis of pre-established
Quite apart from the consequences of implementing the European Research
Area project, a series of considerations militate in favour of externalising
certain implementation tasks at present performed by the Commission, in
line with its general policy in this area.
These concern, on the one hand, the limits to what EU activities can
achieve in their present form and context (highlighted in the various assessment
reports); and on the other, the imperative need for the Commission to refocus
on its essential tasks, which is one of the central elements of the reform
of the Commission that is currently in progress.
Accordingly, the management of any "cooperative research" activities
for SMEs, and of "individual" fellowships, could be entrusted to specialised
Community public structures of the "implementing agencies" type.
As regards the Joint Research Centre, in accordance with its new mission
statement and the conclusions of the Evaluation Report on it produced by
the “Davignon Panel”, its efforts will focus on activities in scientific
and technical support of the implementation of Community policies and European
These activities should be in fields in which the JRC, networking to
a greater extent with national and private-sector organisations, can contribute
the greatest possible European added value on account of its expertise
and its institutional status.
THE NEXT STAGES
The guidelines set out above concerning the objectives, priorities,
criteria, instruments and means of implementation for future EU research
activities have been formulated on the basis of the objective of contributing,
in combination with other EU activities and other European or national
initiatives, to making a reality of the European Research Area.
They entail initiatives on several levels and in several fields. Proposals
and/or analyses (Commission Communications or working papers which do not
address budgetary aspects) will shortly be presented on the following themes:
More specifically with regard to measures in support of EU research, the
first steps have been or will shortly be taken to adapt the activities
in progress to the guidelines for the European Research Area within
the limits of what is possible in the context of the existing programmes.
more or less in parallel with this guidelines paper:
a European space strategy;
benchmarking methodology and indicators (working paper);
science, society and citizens.
by 31 December 2000:
mapping of excellence (working paper);
in the first half of 2001:
human resources and mobility;
opening up to the rest of the world.
For the immediate future, steps will be taken under the 5th Framework
Programme to simplify the procedures and increase significantly the size
of projects by raising the financial thresholds. The Commission will examine
the current legal set-up in view of simplification and of the possible
use of flat-rate results related financing.
As far as the short term is concerned, measures include:
In the medium term, pilot experiments to network centres of excellence
could be initiated in certain priority fields on the scale allowed by the
5th Framework Programme.
The forthcoming amendment of the "work programmes" of several research
programmes to make room for measures to stimulate the use of large-capacity
electronic networks by the various scientific communities, in particular
on the basis of the GRID concept of high-performance distributed computing.
The proposed application in several programmes of the "integrated project"
concept based on the "clustering" of research projects, coordination activities
and training fellowships as part of a coherent whole.
The announced launching of an initiative on the theme of "genomics", involving
the launching of a small number of "integrated projects" and an additional
effort in relation to research infrastructures, as well as activities in
the fields of nanotechnologies and action to combat major illnesses, in
an international context.
However, only with the next Framework Programme will it be possible
for the objectives of the European Research Area to be fully reflected
in EU activities.
As pointed out at the beginning of this communication, these guidelines
are being presented to set in motion a process that will continue and develop
in the months ahead.
The changes to EU research policy implicit in these guidelines must
be the subject of ex-ante evaluation work of which this Communication
is both the first product and a component part.
They should also, and above all, give rise to an in-depth debate.
Discussion should start rapidly in the European Parliament and the Council
and between the Member States and the Commission.
There is also a need to engage in concertation with the candidate countries,
which will be fully associated with the next Framework Programme, just
as they are with the current one.
The measures envisaged to implement the next Framework Programme can
do a lot to help develop a genuine partnership between the EU and the Member
States, but they must necessarily be preceded by intensive joint preparatory
The latter should already be very advanced by the time that the Commission
submits its formal proposal for the Framework Programme in the first quarter
of 2001 facilitating in this way the legal decision making.
Creating a European Research Area will have many beneficial effects
for the EU and its Member States, the scientific community, industry and
European citizens. To bring it about will require a coordinated effort
by all concerned. This can only be done effectively on the basis of a conclusive
debate on the objectives set and the means of attaining them.
Ostatnia modyfikacja: 10 paĽdziernika 2000