New task forces to develop priorities for research projects of common industrial interest Making research policy and industry respond more closely to the needs of Europe's citizens is the main objective of the new initiative launched by Mrs. Cresson, European Commissioner for science, research and development, Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner for industry, teleco... Making research policy and industry respond more closely to the needs of Europe's citizens is the main objective of the new initiative launched by Mrs. Cresson, European Commissioner for science, research and development, Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner for industry, telecommunications and information technologies, and Mr. Neil Kinnock, Commissioner for transport. The three Commissioners intend to work together to develop technologies which will improve the quality of daily life while ensuring Europe's industrial competitiveness. They will concentrate their initial efforts on six issues: - Multimedia educational software; - The car of the future; - The new generation of aeroplanes; - Vaccines and virus-based diseases; - The train of the future; - Transport intermodality. A task force has been set up for each subject to develop projects of common industrial interest. These task forces are already operational. Each task force will identify and then coordinate the different efforts being made in its respective field at both the public and private level in individual Member States and in the framework of EU programmes. This initiative is taken against a background where, at present, only 13% of public funds is allocated for research projects involving European cooperation, as opposed to 87% for strictly national projects. This situation results in useless and costly duplication. As a first step, each task force will assess the situation in its respective field of interest, prepare an inventory of current efforts and define priorities for research following detailed consultations with industry and users. The task force will then propose a scheme for supporting projects within these priorities through specific programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme. Ultimately, the task forces could make use of various provisions of the Treaty on European Union. These include: Article 30k, which enables research and development programmes to be adopted supplementing the Framework Programme but for certain Member Sates only; Article 130l, which enables the Commission to support research and development programmes undertaken by several Member States, as opposed to all; and Article 130n, which enables the Commission to set up joint undertakings for research, development and demonstration programmes. Other task forces may be set up later to deal with issues such as clean technologies, the maritime industry, construction materials or information society applications. For details on the six task forces, please see the relevant record on the RTD-News database (identified by its RCN number): - Multimedia educational software (RCN 4288); - The car of the future (RCN 4289); - The new generation of aeroplanes (RCN 4290); - Vaccines and virus-based diseases (RCN 4291); - The train of the future (RCN 4292); - Transport intermodality (RCN 4293).