Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

What does the EAG for innovative products, processes and organisations do?

The External Advisory Group for the Growth programme's first Key Action, 'Innovative products, processes and organisations', has recently issued a statement on the results of the first call for proposals under the Fifth Framework Programme.

Of the 354 proposals received 76 - ...
The External Advisory Group for the Growth programme's first Key Action, 'Innovative products, processes and organisations', has recently issued a statement on the results of the first call for proposals under the Fifth Framework Programme.

Of the 354 proposals received 76 - mostly shared cost RTD actions - were retained for negotiation for a total budget of 145 million euro. Over 600 organisations participated, 30 of whom were from the Central and Eastern European countries.

The group noted that the success rate for proposals in Key Action one was around one in five, which is comparable to the average for FP5 first calls but lower than that for the rest of the Growth programme. The participation of industry was particularly high, around 60 per cent of selected participants, of which 50 per cent are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For the first time the participation of SMEs exceeded that of large enterprises. Clustering of projects, however, registered limited success.

The group was pleased to see that the Commission had followed its recommendation to set up awareness campaigns to stimulate proposals fully in line with the objectives of key action one. Several events organised in conjunction with national contact points (NCPs) in Member States, will be taking place from November to January across Europe to provide information for potential proposers in anticipation of the second call for proposals which is expected on 15 December 1999. The calendar of events is available on the CORDIS website at http://cordis.europa.eu/growth/src/ev-k1-1.htm.

These events should communicate the goals of Key Action one, which the group identified as: contributing to the modernisation of industry, improving the overall quality within the value chain by reducing inefficiency and product costs, and minimising resource consumption by reducing the life-cycle impact of product service provision and use.

Call results for generic activities 'materials and steel research' were also analysed by the group. They attributed the following specific objectives to this activity: supporting advanced materials applications needed for improved quality of life, developing sustainable materials production and transformation technologies, improving safety and reliability and promoting the efficient use and reuse of materials. In view of the expiry of the ECSC Treaty in 2002 and the conclusions of the Amsterdam summit in 1997, it was noted that there is an urgent need to speed up the progressive inclusion of coal and steel research into the Community Framework Programmes.

From the materials and steel research proposals received, 62 of 197 will be retained for negotiation with an expected budget of 105 million euro.

The group noted the 'problem-solving approach' required by the Commission was evident, and that all high-quality proposals following this approach had been retained. The proposals used materials research to solve societal and industrial problems, and strong participation from industry, a potential user of the materials, was apparent. The success rate of one in three was considered 'satisfactory' by the group, although they noted that in common with Key Action one, clustering showed limited success.

Since its establishment in October 1998, the group has met six times. The next meeting on 10 December will be open to experts beyond the group to discuss longer-term research prospects in a 'think-tank' forum.

So far the Commission has been pleased with the group's contributions. 'They have a good collaborative attitude and attendance has been encouraging,' an official remarked.

The feeling is mutual. 'We get on very well,' said the group's chairman Hans Pedersen, vice president of corporate planning at the Danish firm Danfoss. 'We have seen many of our proposals being taken up which is encouraging for us. We need to work together to improve European research for the benefit of Europeans.'

Source: European Commission, Research Directorate-General - EAGs secretariat

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