Parliament's first reading on proposed rules for participation in Fifth RTD Framework Programme - 28 May 1998
The European Parliament has adopted a report on the Commission's proposals for the rules for participation and dissemination of research results for the Fifth Framework Programme. The report was adopted during its plenary session in Brussels on 28 May 1998. These rules would apply to all participants, whether companies, universities or research centres, and ensure that all the specific programmes are implemented on the same basis. The rules on dissemination of results set out the conditions in which research results can be exploited by the participants, a major consideration in respect of multi-partner projects with EU funding which are carried out under different countries' legal systems.
Among Parliament's amendments, the report calls for the use of new technologies, such as the WWW, to be stepped up to improve distribution of information and awareness of the Programme's activities, in particular, calls for proposals. In addition to their traditional publication in the Official Journal, the EP wants all calls to be published electronically, while full information on participation possibilities, in all Community languages, should also be disseminated electronically. Another amendment aims to reduce fraud in respect of EU funding allocated for research projects and to develop measures to protect the EU's financial interests.
The Parliament has recognized that in the fast-moving environment of some high-technology fields, plans for dissemination of results drawn up when submitting project proposals may need to be altered as the project proceeds. According to the Parliament, this factor needs to be incorporated in the "technology implementation plans" drawn up for each project. Electronic media should also be used to assist in the dissemination of these results.
A limit of four months between submission of proposals to the Commission and decisions on their eligibility should be set, according to the Parliament. It also calls for measures to reduce the time taken in contract negotiations with successful proposers, including the suggestion of a cut-off point whereby consortium partners who are unable to reach agreement amongst themselves would lose their funding and have to re-apply in the next call. Finally, Parliament calls for the Commission to provide detailed reasons in writing to all unsuccessful proposers.
The EU's Research Ministers will consider the proposals at their meeting on 22 June 1998, with the aim of reaching agreement on a common position. These rules represent a key element of the legislation on the Fifth Framework Programme and they should be formally adopted in autumn 1998.