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Citizens and Governance in a knowledge-based society: Thematic Priority 7 under the Focusing and Integrating Community Research Programme 2002-2006.

The thematic areas represent the bulk of expenditure under the 6th Framework Programme for 2002-2006 (FP6). Priority 7 falls under the programme 'Focusing and Integrating Community Research' of FP6. Through a highly focused Community research effort, the intention is to generate a substantial leveraging effect which, together with actions in other parts of the framework programme 2002-2006 and through open co-ordination with other regional, national, European and international frameworks, will result in a coherent and highly effective common endeavour towards their overall objectives.

The issues and challenges related to this thematic priority are quite complex and interdependent. The research approach adopted to address them must therefore be strongly integrated and multidisciplinary and should include both science and humanities research communities.

A main challenge in this area will be to develop comparative transnational and interdisciplinary research, while at the same time preserving the diversity of research methodologies throughout Europe. It is essential to collect and analyse comparable data on the emerging knowledge society and coordinate the development of statistics and qualitative and quantitative indicators at European level.

The thematic priority 7 (Priority 7) 'Citizens and Governance in a knowledge-based society' aims to provide a sound knowledge base for managing the transition towards a European knowledge based society. This will be conditioned by national, regional and local policies, programmes and actions, as well as informed decision-making by individual citizens, families and other societal units.

The Community activities carried out under this thematic area will cover the following areas:

_ Knowledge-based Society and social cohesion

Research in this area is designed to provide the basis of understanding needed to build a European knowledge society, in line with specific European conditions and aspirations.

- Improving the generation, distribution and use of knowledge and its impact on economic and social development. The objective is to improve understanding of the characteristics of knowledge and its functioning as a public and private good, and to provide the bases for policy formulation and decision making.

Research in this area will focus on characteristics of knowledge and its functioning in relation to the economy and society, as well as for innovation and for entrepreneurial activities; the transformation of economic and social institutions; the dynamics of knowledge production, distribution and use, role of knowledge codification and impact of ICTs; and the importance of territorial structures and social networks in these processes.

- Options and choices for the development of a knowledge-based society to develop an integrated understanding of how a knowledge-based society can promote the societal objectives of the EU with due consideration to the variety of social models in Europe.

Research in this area will focus on features of a knowledge based society in line with European social models and the need to improve the quality of life; social and territorial cohesion, gender and intergenerational relations and social networks; implications of changes to work and employment, and the labour market; and access to education and training, and life-long learning.

- The variety of paths towards a knowledge society to provide comparative perspectives across Europe and thus provide a basis for the formulation and implementation of strategies to create a knowledge society at national and regional level.

Research will focus on globalisation in relation to pressures for convergence; the implications for regional variation; challenges to European societies from a diversity of cultures and increased sources of knowledge; and the role of the media .

_ Citizenship, democracy and new forms of governance

Research in this area aims at identifying the main factors influencing change in governance and citizenship, in particular in the context of increased integration and globalization. In this context, options shall be explored to enhance democratic governance, resolve conflicts, protect human rights and take account of cultural diversity and multiple identities.

- The implications of European integration and enlargement for governance and the citizen. The objective is to clarify the key interactions between European integration and enlargement, and issues of democracy, institutional arrangements and citizens' well-being.

Research will focus on relationships between integration, enlargement and institutional change ; the role of Europe in a changing global environment; the consequences of EU enlargement for the well-being of its citizens.

- Articulation of areas of responsibility and new forms of governance for the development of forms of multi-level governance which are accountable, legitimate, and sufficiently robust to address societal change and to assure the effectiveness and legitimacy of policy making.

Research will focus on responsibilities between various territorial levels and between public and private sectors; democratic governance, representative institutions and roles of civil society organisations; privatisation, the public interest, new regulatory approaches, corporate governance; and implications for legal systems.

- Issues connected with the resolution of conflicts and restoration of peace and justice to support the development of institutional and social capacity in the field of conflict resolution, conflict prevention and conflict mediation.

Research will focus on early identification of factors leading to conflict ; comparative analysis of procedures for prevention and mediation of conflicts and achievement of justice in different fields; Europe's role in this area.

- New forms of citizenship and cultural identities to promote citizens' involvement and participation in European policy making, to understand perceptions of citizenship and human rights provisions in Europe and to identify factors that allow mobility and coexistence of multiple identities.

Research will focus on relations between new forms of citizenship; tolerance, human rights, racism and xenophobia; the role of the media in developing a European public sphere; evolution of citizenship and identity in a context of cultural diversities in Europe; social and cultural dialogue; and the implications for creating a European knowledge based society.

The research activities carried out within this thematic priority area will include exploratory research at the leading edge of knowledge on subjects closely related to one or more topics within it.
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the specific programme. It will draw up a work programme , setting out in greater detail the objectives and scientific and technological priorities and the timetable for implementation. The work programme shall take account of relevant research activities carried out by the Member States, associated states and European and international organizations and shall be updated where appropriate.

The Commission, assisted by a committee,will regularly report on the overall progress of the implementation of the specific programme and information on financial aspects and the use of instruments shall be included. The Commission shall arrange for the independent monitoring and assessment of the framework programme to be conducted concerning the activities carried out in the fields covered by the specific programme.

The new instruments 'Networks of Excellence' and 'Integrated Projects' will be used from the start of the programme in each thematic priority area. In addition to research and technological development, they may incorporate the following types of activity, where they are of specific relevance to the objectives sought:
- Demonstration, dissemination and exploitation;
- Cooperation with researchers and research teams from third countries;
- Human resource development, including the promotion of training of researchers; development of research facilities and infrastructure of specific relevance to the research being undertaken; and promotion of better links between science and society, including women in science.

Specific targeted research projects and coordination actions, as well as specific support actions, may also be used in the spirit of the 'stairway of excellence' in the implementation of the thematic priorities. However, the size of projects is not a criterion for exclusion, and access to new instruments is ensured for SMEs and other small entities

In certain cases, when a project receives the maximum level of co-financing authorised under the Framework Programme or an overall grant, an additional contribution from the Structural Funds could be granted. In the case of participation of entities from the associated candidate countries, an additional contribution from the pre-accession financial instruments could be granted under similar conditions. In the case of participation of organisations from Mediterranean or developing countries, a contribution of the MEDA programme and of the financial instruments of the Community's aid to development could be envisaged.

In carrying out the programme, the Commission may have recourse to technical assistance. In 2004 an evaluation will be undertaken by independent experts of the efficiency of each of the three types of new instruments (Networks of Excellance, Integrated Projects and Article 169) in the execution of the Sixth Framework Programme.