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Programme Structure and Contents

When preparing your proposal, you should proceed as follows:

The programme is primarily built around six specific key actions that are goal-oriented and problem solving. The key actions are targeted at identifiable socio-economic and market needs, such as improving quality and safety of food; controlling infectious diseases; harnessing the power of the cell; health and environment; sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries, integrated rural development, sustainable development; and promoting healthy ageing. A unique feature of key actions is their response to Community policy objectives, in areas like agriculture and fisheries, industry, consumer protection, environment and health.

In addition, the generic activities of the programme aim to build up through RTD the knowledge base in identified areas of strategic importance for the future, in relation to chronic and degenerative diseases, genomes, neurosciences, public health, persons with disabilities and ethical and socio-economic issues surrounding the life sciences. Support for research infrastructures, dissemination and exploitation of results, training and an increased role for SMEs, and entrepreneurship are also an integral part of the programme.

The following section represents a short overview of the programme structure and contents. Detailed objectives and RTD priorities are specified in the Work Programme. Be sure to consult the current version, since the Work Programme is revised periodically.

SIX KEY ACTIONS

1. Food, Nutrition and Health
To improve the health of European citizens by providing safe, healthy and varied food products. RTD priorities include the development of safe and flexible manufacturing processes and technologies, the detection and elimination of infectious and toxic agents throughout the food chain, and gaining a more profound understanding of the role of food in promoting and sustaining health.

2. Control of Infectious Diseases
To combat established, emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases, linked to old, new or mutated infectious agents in humans or animals. RTD priorities include vaccine development; strategies to identify and control infectious diseases; and aspects of public health and care delivery systems.

3. The "Cell Factory"
To help the Community's enterprises exploit the advances made in life sciences and technology, particularly in the fields of health, environment, agriculture, agro-industries and high value-added products. RTD priorities include developing innovative health-related processes and products; energy-efficient bioremediation and waste biotreatment processes; and new biological processes from cell factories.

4. Environment and Health
To tackle environmentally related health issues. RTD priorities include diseases and allergies related to or influenced by the environment; risk assessment and risk management processes to reduce causes and harmful environmental health effects.

5. Sustainable Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Integrated Development of Rural Areas including Mountain Areas
To implement innovative approaches to production and exploitation and to improve the quality of life, RTD should concentrate on: Competitiveness and its direct implications for employment in rural and coastal areas, especially in light of the need to adapt to the evolution of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, to the evolving world trade situation and globalisation of the markets, to E.U. enlargement and to the limited availability of natural resources; Reduction of the vulnerability of the relevant sectors through the diversification of production, taking full advantage of Europe's proven technological skills to develop new products and services from natural resources; Response to societal demands for sound environmental practices, sustainable use of renewable resources and for products complying with consumer health and environmental requirements.

6. The Ageing Population and Disabilities
To mobilise research (a) in order to enhance the quality of life, autonomy and social integration of older people with an emphasis on healthy ageing and well-being in old age and (b) in order to improve quality, efficiency and user-friendliness of care and welfare provision and to enable older people to stay in their own homes. RTD priorities include age-related illnesses and health problems to prevent, treat or delay onset; determinants of healthy ageing and well-being in old age; demographic and social policy aspects of population ageing; coping with functional limitations in old age; health and social care services to older persons.

RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES OF A GENERIC NATURE

These activities aim to reinforce the knowledge base in chosen areas of strategic but generic importance for the Life Sciences related to humans, animals (both terrestrial and aquatic) and plants. This is in contrast to the mission oriented problem solving approach in the Key Actions, which place the emphasis on the linkage between discovery and exploitation.

Projects will be encouraged that promote interaction between basic and applied research and that involve both the research and health sectors in order to ensure maximum transfer of knowledge between research and its users, including industry. The networking of projects will also be promoted in order to create a critical mass for optimum exploitation of results.

The generic research activities are:

7. Chronic and Degenerative Diseases, Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and rare Diseases

8. Research into Genomes and Diseases of Genetic Origin

9. Neurosciences

10. Public-health and Health-services Research (including drug-related problems)

11. Research relating to Persons with Disabilities

12. Bioethics

13. Socio-economic Aspects of Life Sciences and Technologies

SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURES

Within the QoL Programme, the term "research infrastructures" refers to facilities and resources that provide essential services to the research community in the life sciences. The objectives of the Programme in supporting research infrastructures (in this action line as well as elsewhere in the Programme where research infrastructures are supported) are: (i) to encourage the optimum use of Europe's research infrastructures, notably by fostering transnational cooperation in their rational and cost-effective use and development and, in conjunction with the QoL system of Marie Curie Fellowships, by broadening access to these infrastructures particularly for young researchers; (ii) to improve the European-wide consistency and complementarity of these infrastructures and their competitiveness at world level; and (iii) to help improve the quality and user-orientation of services offered to the European research community. The role of the Programme's activities in support for research infrastructures is to add value at the European level in the context that the construction and operation of research infrastructures is the responsibility of national authorities.

This particular action of the QoL Programme will provide support for research infrastructures in the following fields: biological collections, biological information resources, clinical research facilities, pre-clinical research facilities, facilities for aquaculture and fishery research.

It should be noted that the QoL Programme will not provide support for tasks that involve the construction and routine operation of research infrastructures, nor for the collection of data (unless the collection is an integral component of the research in an infrastructure RTD project). The cost of activities aimed at stimulating the introduction and use of trans-European broadband communication networks for research will however be considered eligible.

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