Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for research, is set to launch the first research training networks of the Fifth Framework Programme, providing up to 4000 person-years of training to young scientists over the next four years. Research training networks are part of the human potential programme's activities, designed to give young European scientists the opportunity to receive high quality training abroad in an international research project. To mark the launch of the first training networks on 9 June, the 1999 Physics Nobel laureate Professor Gerardus 't Hooft, who is a partner in one of the new networks, will give a plenary lecture on the research that led to his award, in front of an assembled audience of the coordinating partners of the 167 networks. Professor 't Hooft will also focus on the importance of international career development for the researchers of tomorrow, a key theme of the communication 'Towards a European Research Area'. The networks were selected from 454 applications received in the first call for proposals. The 167 projects selected involve 1352 individual research teams. On average each network comprises eight research teams from five different countries. Once established, networks will provide training for young pre- and post-doctoral researchers for periods of up to four years. From the current batch of networks, researchers will work on projects from the fundamental theory of spacetime, to new approaches to malaria treatment, or EU defence and security policy. A young French chemist currently involved in a network in the UK, funded under the last programme, said of the scheme: 'I am very grateful to be part of the training Network, because as well as significantly raising my level of skills, I have made some incredibly useful contacts for the future. I feel motivated by my time under the guidance of one of the most important research teams in my field. An added bonus is that I have been able to improve my foreign language skills and learn about a different culture.'