Opinion of the ESC: Exploitation and dissemination of RTD results
The Economic and Social Committee (ESC) has established an Opinion on the Commission's proposal for a Council Decision on the dissemination and exploitation of knowledge resulting from the specific programmes of research and technological development of the Community (COM(91) 611 of 25.1.1991). The general aim of the proposed centralized action is to secure continuity for several measures carried out under the VALUE programme (1989-1992) and to introduce new topics concerned particularly with the repercussions of RTD activities and results on society as a whole. The Committee approves in principal the proposal for a centralized action. It welcomes the Commission's initiative in building on the VALUE programme, and makes comments and suggestions concerning implementation of the action and its future development: - Scope: The proposed action is exclusively concerned with Community RTD programmes, and to this end shall implement data compilation, archiving and information systems (CORDIS) plus a network of relay stations disseminating information on the results of joint RTD. The Committee feels that the centralized action should also play an integrating and stimulating role, not only with regard to specific EC programmes, but with respect of all RTD activities in the Community (joint EC research expenditure being only 2-3% of Member States' total research spending). - Research/industry interface: Before establishing a complete network of relay stations, information should be gathered via pilot projects in Member States. However, the funds earmarked for this purpose will only support a limited number of such projects. - Research/scientific community interface: The aim of bringing scientific disciplines other than the natural sciences/technology to bear on Community research is a completely new departure. The integrating and stimulating effect of a Community action will be extremely important in an area dealing with communication not only across national frontiers but also across inter-disciplinary boundaries. The Committee follows this new initiative with interest and eagerly awaits its results. - Research/society interface: The Committee welcomes this innovation. As the social impact of RTD figures increasingly in political discussions (involving its direct effects on health, safety and environment, plus social ethical and legal factors) it is extremely important that the public is provided with adequate information, particularly concerning the aims and nature of Community RTD.