Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Thirty countries participate in FP5

The EU's Fifth Framework Programme (running from 1999 to 2002) is now open to participants from some 15 other countries besides the EU Member States. A total of thirty countries will now effectively contribute to the budget of the Programme and participate in research activiti...
The EU's Fifth Framework Programme (running from 1999 to 2002) is now open to participants from some 15 other countries besides the EU Member States. A total of thirty countries will now effectively contribute to the budget of the Programme and participate in research activities on an equal basis. Researchers from the EU may form partnerships with researchers from any of the associated countries, and this is sure to bring valuable new perspectives, experiences and abilities to research projects.

Now that the last of the association agreements have entered into force, the Fifth Framework Programme is open to researchers from all across Europe right up to the borders of the former Soviet Union, with the only significant gaps being Switzerland (with which an Agreement has been signed and is expected to enter into force early in 2001) and the Balkan states.

Researchers from each of the 15 'associated' countries - Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein - the EEA countries; Israel, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia - may now submit proposals for research projects and receive funding under the Programme on essentially the same basis as EU participants. The only restriction for proposals is that at least one participant is from an EU Member State, otherwise other participants including the coordinator may come from the associated countries.

Under the terms of agreements between these countries and the EU, proposals involving such participants will be evaluated in exactly the same way as EU-only proposals, purely on their scientific merit and relevance to the overall objectives of the Programme. Representatives of the associated countries will also participate in evaluations and advisory panels set up in connection with the Framework Programme, although only the EU Member States' representatives will vote in cases where measures cannot be agreed on the basis of consensus.

In the case of nuclear energy research, somewhat different rules apply, with only Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia opting for full association with the Euratom Framework Programme. Researchers from the other countries may also participate in nuclear research projects but approval is required on a case by case basis.

The widening of the Fifth Framework Programme to so many countries outside the EU provides a concrete demonstration of the 'common research area' called for by Commissioner Busquin at his confirmation hearing in the European Parliament. For the 11 countries which have embarked on the process of joining the EU, their participation in the Framework Programme (and other EU programmes) provides valuable experience of the EU's procedures. Through participation in these types of EU activities, both officials and industry in these countries will gain first-hand experience of the possibilities offered by the EU. Meanwhile by opening up their research programmes to EU researchers (who must fund themselves) these same 11 countries will help to close the gaps between themselves and the EU.

It should be noted that in addition to the associated countries, a number of other countries around the world have science and technology cooperation agreements with the EU, either already in force or shortly to enter into force. These agreements also allow researchers from other countries to participate in the Framework Programme, but their countries make no general contribution to the Programme's budget and therefore each such participant must bring their own funding. Likewise EU researchers may participate in corresponding research activities funded by those countries, but must fund themselves. Countries with cooperation agreements include the USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Russia, China and Argentina.

Source: European Commission, Research Directorate-General

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