Continuous efforts are always underway to encourage the EU's future Member States, i.e. Associated Candidate Countries (ACC), to join funded projects under the EU Framework Programmes. One particular drive in this direction is the EU-funded project Integrating-ACC, which aimed to achieve this through better networking and improved national contact points (NCPs). The project brought together scientists and institutions from 10 New EU Member States and ACCs focusing on strengthening research projects and networks of excellence in sustainable development, global change and ecosystems. It ensured that NCPs from 22 countries promoted the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) within their countries and helped overcome barriers to participation. To achieve its aims, Integrating-ACC promoted the research capabilities of New and upcoming EU Member States, organising information days for NCPs and reinforcing their networking capacity. It also mapped research networks in Europe to reinforce the NCPs’ databases and compiled guidelines for the NCPs to follow in order to increase participation in FP6 projects. This included more advertising of NCPs to stakeholders and potential project participants, as well as exchange of best practices to increase NCP effectiveness. Through all these initiatives the project was deemed very successful in helping increase the rate of participation in FP6 projects. It also helped prepare for increasing participation in FP7, integrating ACCs and New Member States into EU projects more regularly and much more efficiently.
Integrating the associated candidate countries into the 6th Framework Programme through networking activities and improved NCP services
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