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Fifth Framework Programme underway after agreement by Council of Ministers

The Fifth Framework Programme has been agreed. All the legislation needed to establish the new programme was settled at a meeting of the Council of Ministers on 22 December and the first calls for proposals will be issued in February and March.

There will be "a different spir...
The Fifth Framework Programme has been agreed. All the legislation needed to establish the new programme was settled at a meeting of the Council of Ministers on 22 December and the first calls for proposals will be issued in February and March.

There will be "a different spirit" about the new programme, promised Edith Cresson, the Commissioner for Research, Innovation, Education, Training and Youth after the meeting. She praised the greater concentration of the programme on selected priorities and, at a time of great budgetary pressure, the increase in its budget to 14.96 billion euro, a rise of 4.6 per cent. And, in contrast to the situation four years ago, there will be no disruptive gap between the end of the Fourth Framework Programme and the start of its successor.

The Commissioner warmly thanked the other institutional players which had helped get the legislation passed on time. In particular, she praised Austria, which currently holds the Presidency of the EU, the United Kingdom which was the previous holder and the European Parliament.

Research ministers at the meeting voted through overarching legislation establishing the new programme under both the European Community treaty and the Euratom treaty. They also voted through legislation under both treaties establishing the rules for participation in the new programme.

The Member States at the Council reached agreement on the content of the specific programmes which make up the Fifth Framework Programme. The legislation enacting the programmes will be passed by the Council early in 1999 as a formality once the text of the specific programmes has been translated into all the Community languages.

This meeting of the Council signals the end of the legislative process setting up the Fifth Framework Programme. Now the focus switches to the European Commission and the implementation of the programme.

The Commission has already made preparations to enable the new programme to get under way quickly. Members have been identified for the new Expert Advisory Groups required by the legislation. A call has been issued seeking experts to sit on the assessment panels which compare competing bids for funding. Documentation describing the new programme for the research community is being prepared and will be available early in 1999. A conference to launch the programme has been scheduled for February in Essen, Germany. With the help of national agencies, a wave of information days explaining subsections of the programme to local audiences will follow all over Europe. The first call for proposals inviting researchers to submit bids for funding is likely in mid-February.

The Council meeting set the division of the budget between the various activities in each specific programme. The biggest single budget line is for the Essential Technologies and Infrastructures key action in the Information Society programme. It has been allocated 1,363 million euro. Next comes the Training and Mobility of Researchers line in the horizontal programme Improving Human Potential with 858 million euro. In the Competitive and Sustainable Growth programme, the key actions in Aeronautics and Innovative Products, Process, Organisation both receive over 700 million euro, as does Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion under the Euratom treaty.

The Council rejected a proposal from the Commission to transfer 24 million euro from the fusion budget to the budget of the Joint Research Centre, notably to assist research into the dismantling of obsolete nuclear installations.

Over lunch, the ministers discussed ethical issues in research, particularly cloning and the use of human embryos, at some length. They looked forward to a major conference on the subject in June in Tübingen, Germany. In the meantime, there was general agreement that Member States would continue to apply their own regulations in their own way.

An agreement to improve cooperation with Mediterranean countries on research and innovation was agreed by the Council. The text invites the Commission to develop scientific and technological cooperation between Mediterranean countries and the EU through the existing MEDA programme of economic and social cooperation.

The full breakdown of the budget for the Fifth Framework Programme is set out below. All figures are in euro.

EC Treaty 13,700m

FIRST ACTIVITY: Four Thematic Programmes 10,843m

Theme 1: Quality of Life, Management of Living Resources 2,413m

- Key actions
. Food, Nutrition and Health 290m
. Control of Infectious Diseases 300m
. The "Cell Factory" 400m
. Environment and Health 160m
. Sustainable Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 520m
. The Ageing Population and Disabilities 190m

- RTD activities of a generic nature 483m

- Support for research infrastructure 70m

Theme 2: User-Friendly Information Society 3,600m

- Key actions
. Systems and Services for the Citizen 646m
. New Methods of Work and Electronic Commerce 547m
. Multimedia Content and Tools 564m
. Essential Technologies and Infrastructures 1,363m

- RTD activities of a generic nature 319m

- Support for research infrastructure 161m

Theme 3: Competitive and Sustainable Growth 2,705m

- Key actions
. Innovative Products, Processes and Organisation 731m
. Sustainable Mobility and Intermodality 371m
. Land Transport and Marine Technologies 320m
. New Perspectives for Aeronautics 700m

- RTD activities of a generic nature 546m

- Support for research infrastructure 37m

Theme 4: Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development
This theme is divided into two parts, as follows:

(Environment and Sustainable Development) 1,083m

- Key actions
. Sustainable Management and Quality of water 254m
. Global Change, Climate and Biodiversity 301m
. Sustainable Marine Ecosystems 170m
. The City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage 170m

- RTD activities of a generic nature 119m

- Support for research infrastructure 69m

(Energy) 1,042

- Key actions :
. Cleaner Energy Systems, incl. Renewables 479m
. Economic and Efficient Energy 547m

- RTD activities of a generic nature 16m

SECOND ACTIVITY: Confirming the International Role of Community Research 475m

- Cooperation with third countries
. States in the Pre-accession Phase 26m
. CEECs/NIS not in the Pre-accession Phase 112m (of which 70m for INTAS)
. Mediterranean Partner Countries 55m
. Developing Countries 210m
. Emerging Economy and Industrialised Countries 5m

- Training of Researchers 15m

- Coordination 52m

THIRD ACTIVITY: Promotion of Innovation, Encouragement of SMEs 363m

- Promotion of Innovation 119m
- Encouraging SME participation 44m
- Joint Innovation/SME activities 200m

FOURTH ACTIVITY: Improving Human Research Potential 1,280m

- Training and Mobility of Researchers 858m
- Access to Research Infrastructures 182m
- Promoting S/T Excellence 50m
- Key action: Socio-economic Knowledge Base 165m
- Development of S/T policies 25m

Direct Actions (Joint Research Centre) 739m

- Serving the Citizen 292m
- Enhancing Sustainability 321m
- Underpinning European Competitiveness 126m

EURATOM Treaty 1260m euro

Indirect Actions 979m

-Key actions :
. Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion 788m
. Nuclear Fission 142m

-RTD activities of a generic nature 39m

- Support for research infrastructure 10m

Direct Actions 281m

- Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion 0
- Nuclear Fission Safety 122m
- Nuclear Safeguards 138m
- Decommissioning and Waste Management 21m

Source: Council of Ministers

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