Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • New and emerging science and technologies (NEST): Specific activities covering wider field of research under the Integrating and Strengthening the European Research area (2002-2006).

FP6-NEST - New and emerging science and technologies (NEST): Specific activities covering wider field of research under the Integrating and Strengthening the European Research area (2002-2006).

Framework programme


Programme funding

EUR 590 million

Official Journal Reference

L 294 of 2002-10-29

Legislative Reference

2002/834/EC of 2002-09-30
New and emerging science and technologies (NEST) provide a means to anticipate scientific and technological opportunities and needs in new and emerging areas. It supports research that falls within the legitimate scope of Community research and which cuts across or lies outside the thematic priority areas. The research is highly interdisciplinary and/or multidisciplinary and is expected to respond to unexpected major developments.


Standing slightly apart from other Framework Programme activities, NEST aims to support unconventional and visionary research with the potential to open new fields for European science and technology. If Europe is to maintain a truly dynamic research capability, it needs not only to support the critical research areas for tomorrow, but also to seek out the most promising opportunities for the day after. Advances in scientific understanding are punctuated by unexpected developments such as new theoretical insights, unforeseen experimental findings and the availability of higher-resolution instrumentation. These create new avenues for science and technology, for example by providing ways to resolve long-standing problems or by opening up new directions for research.
However, at the same time, Europe needs to be aware of potential problems and risks that are signaled by new developments in the science base, and take appropriate steps to address them.

NEST is designed to be flexible, more so than any other area of the Framework Programme. The Commission has deliberately not set limits on the scientific fields to be addressed. That said, NEST is not designed to support projects which simply cannot find their home in one of FP6's seven thematic priorities. When proposing topics for investigation, it will be up to researchers to demonstrate convincingly to the independent evaluators that the objectives represent a very significant challenge, that the potential impact of the work is extremely high, and that the approach is truly innovative.
All NEST actions contribute to the overall goal of improving European anticipation of future scientific and technological needs. In addition to developing new scientific understanding and capabilities, and opening up new fields, NEST activities will assist in planning future activities in the European Research Area (ERA) and help to nurture themes that will need larger-scale support in future European research programmes.


NEST supports three main types of research activities/projects:
- PATHFINDER -initiatives.


ADVENTURE projects are "visionary" research projects, aiming to create and/or develop new opportunities for science and technology which could have a very high potential payoff in the long term, in particular in new interdisciplinary areas.
These projects are identified by their characteristics of significant novelty, very high ambition, and high impact. They support research which aims to create significant advances in knowledge, scientific progress and/or technical capability, for example through new approaches to investigation and analysis, and unconventional ways of developing or exploiting knowledge. As they are intended to be radical, with high potential rewards, they will also involve high risk.
Successful projects should have an impact well beyond their specific results, for example by establishing new possibilities for scientific and technological advance. There is no 'a priori' restriction on fields of research under the ADVENTURE action line, except that projects must lie outside or cut across the thematic priorities.
ADVENTURE projects will generally be implemented as 'specific targeted research projects'.

INSIGHT projects aim to explore and evaluate new discoveries or newly-observed phenomena which may indicate emerging risks or problems of high importance to European society.
These projects provide a means to generate and consolidate scientific understanding, and to assist the development of appropriate strategies in response. They may therefore foster the development of new analytical, methodological and technical approaches and unconventional thinking in exploring, assessing and responding to problems and risks, for example when important interdisciplinary and systemic issues are raised.
There is no 'a priori' restriction on fields of research under the INSIGHT action line, except that projects must lie outside or cut across the thematic priorities.
INSIGHT projects provide a means, inter alia, to assist the responsible bodies acting at national level in developing common frameworks within Europe for analysing, understanding and assessing implications of newly emerging risk issues, and thus help address and manage these issues at an early stage.
INSIGHT projects will be implemented through 'specific targeted research projects' or 'co-ordination actions'.

PATHFINDER initiatives are targeted actions, focusing on emerging areas of science and technology which have significant potential for Europe in the long term. They are intended to seed the early development and emergence of research in particular in strategic areas, and generate a significant "leverage" effect on the early development and consolidation of European research capabilities. Where the potential of these fields is demonstrated, PATHFINDER actions could form a precursor to more conventional funding through the framework programme.
PATHFINDER initiatives consist of up to 10 or 15 'specific targeted research projects' and of one or more 'co-ordination actions'. In some cases 'integrated projects' may be used in combination with smaller projects, or possibly even making up the whole of an initiative. Whichever approach is used, each component project will be expected to work closely with the others.
Expert groups may also be set up on each PATHFINDER topics, as well as on prospective PATHFINDER topics, to develop strategic orientations. Proposals for STREPS will be selected on an individual basis according to the relevant evaluation criteria in order to create an overall portfolio of projects corresponding to the topic in question. The associated co-ordination actions may include activities such as: drafting of roadmaps, identification of emerging opportunities, mapping of excellence within the EU, and organisation of specialised conferences or training activities.

In each area of NEST activity, proposals will be assessed on criteria designed to fit these specific objectives. In addition, NEST may also undertake support actions, such as methodological studies and activities to promote dialogue with the research community on emerging scientific fields.

**NEST SUPPORT: In addition to, and in parallel with the ADVENTURE, INSIGHT AND PATHFINDER actions, NEST SUPPORT actions will be carried out. NEST SUPPORT actions focus on the conceptual and practical questions associated specifically with NEST implementation.
Because NEST is a new initiative for Community research, the specific features of these actions, their means of implementation and the balance between them may be adapted in the light of progress achieved during the course of the programme. It is envisaged that participants from any third country may, in appropriate cases, participate.


The Commission draws up a work programme and is responsible for the implementation of the NEST programme. The work programme sets out in detail the objectives and scientific and technological priorities and the timetable for implementation. The work programme shall take account of relevant research activities carried out by the member states, associated states and European and international organizations and shall be updated where appropriate.

The Commission is assisted by a committee and reports regularly on the overall progress of the implementation of the specific programme. These reports include information on financial aspects and on the use of instruments. The Commission arranges independent monitoring and assessment of the framework programme to be conducted concerning the activities carried out in the fields covered by the specific programme. An Expert Group for "Measuring the Impossible" is foreseen. Other expert groups may be set up in the course of the programme in conformity with the relevant rules and procedures.

Fundamental ethical principles must be respected during the implementation of this programme and in the research activities arising from it. These include the principles reflected in the Charter of fundamental rights of the EU such as the protection of human dignity and life, personal data and privacy, and the environment.

The activities programmed in the NEST specific programme will be carried out mainly by means of calls for proposals. They will take the form of Specific Target Research Projects (STREPs), Coordination actions (CA) and Specific Support Actions (SSAs). Calls for proposals for ADVENTURE, INSIGHT and NEST SUPPORT actions will be open ("bottom up") within the parameters of these action lines. PATHFINDER initiatives will be carried out via specific (targeted) calls for proposals.

For ADVENTURE and INSIGHT research projects, the call for proposals for specific targeted research projects (STREPs) will involve a 2-stage submission procedure. Outline proposals are submitted and evaluated anonymously. Those proposers whose proposals pass the first stage evaluation and score highest will be invited to submit full proposals for the second stage evaluation. The number of proposals retained following the first stage evaluation may be restricted so as to ensure that the oversubscription rate for funds is limited. At the second stage, full (non-anonymous) proposals will be submitted and evaluated, those scoring highest being retained as the basis of a short list for selection by the Commission.
All other proposals (CAs, SSAs, and PATHFINDER STREPs) should be submitted as 1-stage full proposals, and should not be anonymous.

The evaluation will be done with the help of external referees (independent experts working remotely at their premises) and/or panels of experts that convene to consolidate the referees' individual assessments. Expert Groups will also be organised by NEST, in accordance with the applicable rules and procedures, in particular to analyse the need for future actions in specific research areas as well as workshop and conferences, where these serve the strategic objectives of NEST.

The new instruments, Networks of Excellence and Integrated Projects, will be used from the start of the programme and, where deemed appropriate, as a priority means, while maintaining the use of specific targeted projects and coordination actions. In addition to research and technological development, they may incorporate the following types of activity, where they are of specific relevance to the objectives sought:
- Demonstration, dissemination and exploitation;
- Cooperation with researchers and research teams from third countries;
- Human resource development, including the promotion of training of researchers;
- Development of research facilities and infrastructure of specific relevance to the research being undertaken;
- Promotion of better links between science and society, including women in science.


The record is based on one specific activity covering wider field of research of the sixth framework programme.
Record Number: 751 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05