A Thematic network formed under the EU's Fifth Framework programme (FP5) is being used to identify medium and long term research needs and ultimately initiate the creation of a European maritime research area. The ERAMAR (European research area application in the maritime domain) network includes all relevant thematic networks created under the Fourth and Fifth Framework programmes. It will evaluate and consolidate R&D (research and development) achievements, disseminate results, seek to enhance the industry's awareness of collaborative R&D, develop further synergy with national and other EU programmes and ensure coherence between technology areas. The network involves 31 partners from nine EU Member States and Norway. Various thematic networks under FP5 led to over 130 projects from the first two calls for proposals. While these projects have answered current and short term technological needs, the maritime industry believes that the projects have not covered all areas, that only a limited synergy with national research programmes was created and that long term societal needs and requirements have not been fully addressed.