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The Commission presents its ideas on the future of science and technology in Europe


The European Commission has today proposed increasing the European Union’s research funding to an average of €10 billion a year for the duration of the next framework programme, i.e. twice as much as today, and to devote it to six major objectives, including the creation of European centres of excellence, the launching of technology initiatives in industrial fields of growth and the creation of a European "agency" to support European basic research teams. In its strategy document entitled "Science and technology, the key to Europe’s future", the Commission aims to provide a concrete response to the objectives of the Lisbon strategy and to support the European Research Area project. The Commission also proposes focusing future European efforts on key topics, including security and space.

"The debate on the future of research in Europe has been launched", Philippe Busquin, European Commissioner for Research, said. "Scientific research and technological development are key to the future of Europe because they generate more than half of economic growth and determine Europe’s political weight on the international scene. By backing a more innovative Europe, we are investing in the well?being of future generations. Europe together can achieve what a single Member State alone cannot."

Boosting funding

In its budget proposal for the EU for 2007-2013, the Commission has proposed considerably increasing the EU’s research budget, which could more than double. This will make it possible to fully exploit the "European added value" of EU action, e.g. by creating critical masses of material, human and intellectual resources to respond to the growing pressure of international competition and by exerting a powerful leverage effect on private investment in research

The six major objectives of EU action

· to create European centres of excellence by means of collaboration between laboratories;
· to launch technological initiatives on an EU scale in promising industrial sectors by creating joint undertakings;
· to boost the creativity of basic research by means of competition between individual teams at European level;
· to make Europe more attractive to the best researchers by increasing support for them;
· to develop research infrastructures of European interest based on the example of the trans-European networks;
· to strengthen coordination between national research programmes.

The Commission also intends to identify the topics on which European research should focus. Two new topics have already been identified: space and security.

Doing better to do more

The Commission proposes using the most efficient means of implementation, in particular management through partnership or "externalised" management. Lastly, it wants to improve the functioning of the framework programme by reviewing and simplifying the financial and administrative provisions in the light of current experience.

Fabio Fabbi | European Commission
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