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Commission unveils proposals for five new research programmes

The European Commission has approved five new research programme proposals which set out the scientific priorities for the next framework programme, address structural weaknesses, and provide funding for nuclear research and Joint Research Centre (JRC) activities. The new pro...

The European Commission has approved five new research programme proposals which set out the scientific priorities for the next framework programme, address structural weaknesses, and provide funding for nuclear research and Joint Research Centre (JRC) activities. The new proposals are intended to set out a clearer picture of the organisation, working arrangements and priorities for the next framework programme. The five new proposed programmes are: - Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area This will be allocated a budget of 12,505 million euro and will set out the scientific priorities on which the Commission will concentrate financial support. It also includes a new initiative to help networking of national research programmes in Member States and will incorporate activities such as benchmarking and mapping Europe's excellence in science and innovation. - Structuring the European Research Area With a budget of 3,050 million euro, this programme seeks to improve the structural weaknesses of European research through better integration of research and innovation, improved mobility of researchers, coordinated planning and access to research infrastructure and actions such as ethics in science, combating 'brain drain' and promoting public awareness of science. - Independent research in the nuclear field 900 million euro will be used for research into nuclear fission and fusion centring around the treatment and storage of nuclear waste as well as reactor safety. Two programmes will cover the work of the Commission's JRC - 715 million euro will fund research on food safety and health, environment and sustainable development, technology foresight, metrology, combating fraud, monitoring and predicting natural disasters and data security. - 330 million euro will cover the JRC's activities in the nuclear field, particularly the treatment and storage of nuclear waste, training of inspectors, reactor safety, nuclear medicine and radiation monitoring. For the first time, Article 169 of the EU Treaty is being used as a basis for research funding. The Article states the Community may, in agreement with the Member States concerned, make provision for participation in research and development programmes undertaken by several Member states. The Council will discuss the framework programme package, the specific programmes and the use of Article 169 on 26 June.