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EURADA memorandum on Fifth Framework Programme

As part of the preparations for the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) has prepared a memorandum on the future programme, due to come into operation in January 1999.

EURADA is a self-funding federation of development agenc...
As part of the preparations for the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) has prepared a memorandum on the future programme, due to come into operation in January 1999.

EURADA is a self-funding federation of development agencies comprising some 140 members from the 15 EU Member States and associate EU members, such as Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, etc.

In its memorandum, EURADA calls for the future Framework Programme to recognize the importance of regional industrial diversity in promoting Europe's international competitiveness. RTD policy should strengthen regional industrial "clusters" to produce firms with the potential to compete in global markets. In addition, EU RTD programmes should consider carefully the role that the Information Society can play in helping to ensure that all regions fully participate in and contribute to the development of the European economy.

EURADA highlights the role played by SMEs in stimulating technological advances and disseminating innovation throughout the European economy. RTD programmes should recognize this and encourage the greater involvement of SMEs by taking the specific practical issues faced by SMEs into account, such as their often limited technical support. In this context, EURADA welcomes the CRAFT initiative enabling SMEs to submit proposals throughout the year. The two-stage procedure is also an advantage for SMEs, particularly those who have never been involved in an EU R&D project before. EURADA also welcomes the "First User Action" initiative of the Information Technologies programme (ESPRIT), which encourages straightforward projects with only one or two partners.

In addition, EURADA feels that the Commission should stimulate regional "one-stop-shop" centres or "help lines" to help SMEs take part in RTD projects and to gain access to the results of RTD programmes.

EURADA would like to see the EU RTD programmes maintain a careful balance between the need to stimulate basic research at the European level and to promote the innovative application of technology to new products and processes.

The links between the Structural Funds and the Community's RTD policy should be strengthened, according to EURADA. Regions should be increasingly encouraged to set up measures to support RTD and technology transfer actions. In particular, with the support of the Structural Funds, regions should be encouraged to:

- Stimulate SMEs to use science and research centres and/or higher education institutes as an ongoing resource for their research needs;
- Help set up regional venture capital funds to finance RTD projects;
- Take into consideration the conclusions of work carried out within the framework of the RTP/RIS pilot projects.

EURADA would also like to see the Commission support targeted measures or programmes aimed at meeting deficiencies in RTD capacity in some less-favoured regions.

Finally, the new Framework Programme should take into consideration the topic of "urban technologies".

EURADA has now forwarded its recommendations to Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for research policy. The Commission is due to publish its formal proposal for the Fifth RTD Framework Programme in spring 1997.

Source: EURADA
DE FR

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