Minister Elisabeth Gehrer explained the main challenges and opportunities ahead for the next six months of 2006 for science and research in Europe. One of the main objectives will be the timing of the launch of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). According to Minister Gehrer: “Researchers expect the EU to deliver a new and ambitious Programme by the end of this year. We have to avoid a gap between the current Framework Programme, which runs out at the end of 2006, and the new Programme.” The presentation to the ITRE Committee facilitated further understanding and brought closer positions on issues such as: increasing the financial resources for R&D in Europe, establishing an independent European Research Council, improving the framework conditions for SME participation, and reducing red tape through simplification. Minister Gehrer highlighted the need for a strategy to stimulate research and innovation at regional, national and European level. According to her, “we need to address market barriers to research and innovation in a systematic way, and through life-long learning we should promote a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and risk-taking. It is time for action”.
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