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Help Now Available to Access EU Funding for Collective Research Projects

UK organisations can now get help in applying for European Framework Programme Six (FP6) funding for Collective Research projects carried out by universities or research centres on behalf of industrial associations or business groups. The aim of Collective Research is to expand the knowledge base and improve overall competitiveness of large communities of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Each Collective Research project should include a core group of SMEs who are involved in all aspects of the project, from the definition of the research to the dissemination of the final results. The Intellectual Property Rights belong exclusively to the industrial associations/groupings, however, the SME core group and RTD performers may benefit from the exploitation of the results. Collective Research projects are usually large-scale, Europe-wide initiatives set up to achieve one or more of the following objectives:,· Reinforce the technological basis of particular sector(s),· Develop technological tools (for example, diagnosis, safety equipment, etc.),· Perform pre-normative research to provide a scientific base for setting European norms and standards ,· Address common problems and challenges (for example, to meet regulatory requirements, such as health and safety in the workplace, environmental performance, etc.) In order to qualify for Collective Research funding, projects must involve partners from at least three European countries and be expected to last between two to three years. The next Call for Proposals for Collective Research projects has a budget of 41 million and will be a two-stage process. An initial project outline should be submitted by the 6th April (17.00 local Brussels time) to the European Commission. Independent evaluation will determine which proposers will be invited to make a full project submission (Mid-September 2004). The SME National Contact Point is available to provide assistance and advice about SME Specific Activities, including Collective Research, holding meetings with proposers, screening proposals prior to submission and assisting the search for partners. Projects needing help should call +44 870 191 0015.,The EU's Framework Programmes are the worlds largest, publicly funded, research and technological development programmes. The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) covers the period 2002-2006 and is the European Unions main instrument for the funding of collaborative research and innovation. It is open to public and private entities of all sizes in the EU and a number of non-EU countries. It has an overall budget of 17.5 billion. Most of the budget for FP6 is devoted to work in seven priority thematic areas:,? Life sciences, Genetics and Biotechnology for Health;,? Information Society Technologies;,? Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences, Knowledgebased Multifunctional Materials and New Production Processes and Devices;,? Aeronautics and Space;,? Food Quality and Safety;,? Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems; and,? Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society. There is also a focus on the research activities of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across all seven thematic areas. The services of FP6UK are funded by the Office of Science & Technology (OST) / Department of Trade & Industry (DTI). More information can be found on http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk Specific SME Activities,The Sixth Framework Programme for Research (FP6) attaches great importance to the participation of SMEs. At least 15% of the budget (approximately 1,700 million euros) relating to the Priority Thematic Areas of the FP6 is to be dedicated to SMEs. There are also two dedicated schemes for SMEs Co-operative research and Collective research which has a total of 430m. The next call deadline for Co-operative research is on 21st October 2004 with a budget of 75m. For Collective the next deadline is 6th April (Stage 1) with a budget of 41m.,

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