The Commission's "Marie Curie Fellowships" were formally launched by Mrs. Edith Cresson, European Commissioner responsible for research policy, education and training, at a conference held in Brussels on 17 October 1996. The conference, which was attended by over 150 European fellows and a number of distinguished personalities from the world of science and technology, also saw the formal creation of the "Marie Curie Association". The name "Marie Curie Fellowships" is to be given to the research training grants awarded to young scientists under the Training and Mobility of Researchers (TMR) specific programme of the Fourth RTD Framework Programme. The TMR programme is one of the most popular actions of the Fourth Framework Programme, with over 5,000 young scientists having been awarded research grants under this programme and its predecessors. In order to strengthen the image and prestige of these Community research fellowships, Commissioner Cresson has decided to designate them with the European label of "Marie Curie Fellowships". The aims of the "Marie Curie Association", also formally launched at the conference, will be: - To increase the visibility and prestige of these fellowships, hence contributing to the fellows' employment prospects; - Facilitate the follow-up of the fellows' future careers, in particular with a view to carrying out impact studies at a later stage; - To interface between EC fellows and the research community, including industry; - To set up a structure which can advise the Commission on new programmes and actions in the future.