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Finns in the 6th Framework Programme: Project volumes higher than ever

Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation has evaluated the Finnish participation in the EU Sixth Framework Programme. The number of Finnish participations in the FP6 declined compared to the earlier programme but the volume and importance of the projects were higher than ever.

The 6th Framework Programme was created to decrease the fragmentation of European research. The Finns have been actively promoting the idea. The number of Finnish participations in the FP6 declined compared to the earlier programme but the volume and importance of the projects were higher than ever. Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation has evaluated the Finnish participation in the EU Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) in 2002–2006. Three thematic fields, energy and environment, forest, and ICT have been analysed in more detail. Although Finnish projects and participations have declined in the 6th Framework Programme, it tends to be associated with the enhanced success and satisfaction among the project partners. Also, the consortia have become larger according to the aim of the programmes. The expectations related to the programmes have become more realistic and Finns are now better equipped to take part in the international collaboration and multinational partnerships. In the FP6, the number of Finnish participations was 1, 440. The total amount of funding continued to increase, and was approximately 342 million euros. Programmes foster international R&D networks and value chains Besides providing participants with relevant financial resources to carry out projects in international consortia, Framework Programmes are considered highly important expedients of fostering international of research and development networks and value chains. "The Framework Programme is an excellent way of establishing strategic partnerships and strong networking with international organisations and individuals. EU collaboration still entails prestige and value in itself, " summarizes Marja-Leena Tolonen, Director of European Operations Unit in Tekes. SMEs have the biggest challenges in participation The Tekes study analyses three thematic fields in more detail: forest, ICT sector and energy and environment. The results suggest that project benefits would be biggest, when partners know each other from previous projects. However, networking benefits are most important for research organisations, because companies have other types of business networks as well. All the thematic cases indicate well-established networks that in many cases could be called strategic partnerships. Tight, well-established networks may, on the other hand, lead to rigid consortiums and it may be difficult for new partners to enter. It seems that SMEs have the biggest challenges in getting into the networks and especially in influencing the research plans. Better links between regional, national and EU activities The report suggests that some problems still exist with the linkages and coherence between regional, national and EU's research, development and innovation interventions. While it is impossible to get an absolute coherence between the different programmes it is nevertheless worthwhile to strive towards a better division of labour between various instruments enhancing the research, development and innovation.

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