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National co-ordination strengthened in Lisbon

The Portuguese presidency is preparing a document outlining a framework of 'open coordination' of national research policies, following a call for 'action not words' from both José Mariano Gago and Philippe Busquin, Portuguese Minister of science and technology and European Re...
The Portuguese presidency is preparing a document outlining a framework of 'open coordination' of national research policies, following a call for 'action not words' from both José Mariano Gago and Philippe Busquin, Portuguese Minister of science and technology and European Research Commissioner respectively at the Lisbon informal conference.

The document, which will have an accompanying implementation timeframe, is to be submitted to the Research Council on 15 June. Its main aims are to ensure that there is greater national policy coordination, but without any increased bureaucracy or costs.

Mr Busquin's communication to the informal conference emphasised the need to move toward a new European research area as quickly as possible, as delays could endanger innovation in certain fast moving sectors such as biotechnology. To help in protecting the innovations, Mr Busquin said that the Commissioner for regional policy, Michel Barnier, is ready to propose the inclusion of legal protection of inventions on the agenda of the Inter-Governmental Conference (ICG).

Mr Busquin's views were endorsed on the second day of the meeting by some of the Nobel science Prize winners attending. If Europe were not to fall further behind the US and Japan, public finance, reduction of bureaucracy, the establishment of adequate infrastructures and the need to involve industrial partners were essential, they said. In addition, better networking, creation of genuine points of contact and better conditions for researchers would all improve the research environment.

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