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These Networks provide the means for research teams of recognised international stature to link up, in the context of a well-defined collaborative research project, in order to formulate and implement a structured training programme for researchers in a particular field of research. Networks will provide a cohesive, but flexible framework for the training and professional development of researchers, especially in the early stages of their research career. Networks also aim to achieve a critical mass of qualified researchers, especially in areas that are highly-spsecialised and/or fragmented; and to contribute to overcoming institutional and disciplinary boundaries, notably through the promotion of multidisciplinary research. They will also provide a straightforward and effective means to involve the less-favoured regions of the EU and Associated Candidate Countries in internationally recognised European research co-operation.