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Support for the coordination of activities: specific programme strengthening the foundations of the European Research Area under the Sixth Framework Programme 2002-2006 (FP6)

The establishment of the European Research Area depends on improving the coherence and co-ordination of research and innovation activities and policies conducted at national, regional and European level. The objectives of Community action in this field are to stimulate and support programme coordination and joint actions conducted at national or regional level as well as among European organisations and thus help to develop the common knowledge base necessary for the coherent development of policies. The activities may be implemented in any scientific and technological area, including in the thematic priority domains.

The activities concerned must be understood as programmes or parts of programmes, instruments, plans or other initiatives undertaken at national or regional levels and involving public funding to support RTD work, the development of research capabilities, and the promotion of innovation. The activities may be undertaken directly by public authorities or research agencies at national or regional levels or through European cooperation frameworks, in particular the EUROCORES collaborative scheme of the European Science Foundation.
The objective of this specific programme is to encourage and support initiatives undertaken by several countries, in areas of common strategic interest (such as health, biotechnology, environment, energy) and to develop synergy between their existing activities through coordination of their implementation. It is also to enhance the complementarities and synergies between Community actions undertaken under FP6 and those of other European scientific co-operation organisations as well as among these organisations themselves.
Support for the Co-ordination of Activities

_ Co-ordination of national activities

The aim is to encourage and support initiatives undertaken by several countries, in areas of common strategic interest, to develop synergy between their existing activities.

Efforts to encourage co-ordination activities will be carried out in the whole field of science and technology, including across domains and disciplines, in areas such as:

- Health
Health of key population groups; major diseases and disorders, rare or major diseases linked to poverty in developing countries; activities will be implemented, for instance, through co-ordination of research and comparative studies, development of European databases and interdisciplinary networks, exchange of clinical practice and coordination of clinical trials.

- Biotechnology
Non-health and non-food applications.

- Environment
Urban environment (including sustainable urban development and cultural heritage, including, for example, ecosite concepts); marine environment and land/soil management; seismic risk.

- Energy
New generation power plants ("near-zero-emission"), energy storage, transport and distribution.

The Community will support:
- The coordination of independent activities including their mutual opening;
- The preparation and the management of joint activities.

For this purpose, the Community will:

- Support proposals selected following their submission in response to an open call for proposals (2 evaluations per year). . Proposals will be evaluated taking into account in particular the following aspects: the scope of the resources mobilised, the scientific and technological relevance and impact, the expected improvement in the use of research resources at European level and, where appropriate, their contribution to promoting innovation.

- Develop an integrated information system, which will be easily accessible, user-friendly and updated regularly, to provide relevant information to policy-makers, programme managers and the research community.

_ Co-ordination at European level

The objective is to enhance the complementarities and synergies between Community actions undertaken under FP6 and those of other European scientific cooperation organisations as well as among these organisations themselves. Through increased co-ordination the various frameworks will contribute more effectively to the overall coherence of European research efforts and the establishment of a European Research Area.

- Scientific and technological co-operation activities carried out in other European co-operation frameworks

COST (European Co-operation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) is a long-standing bottom-up mechanism facilitating co-ordination and exchanges between nationally funded scientists and research teams in a variety of areas. In order for COST to continue to ensure a cost-effective contribution to research co-ordination, its management arrangements must be adapted to the new context. Reinforced co-ordination among the activities of the European Science Foundation, COST and the Framework Programme will also be sought in areas of common interest.

Coordination with EUREKA will be strengthened to improve strategic coherence and complementarity of funding, in particular in the thematic priority areas.

- Collaboration and joint initiatives of specialised European scientific co-operation organisations

With regard to thematic European organisations, such as CERN, ESA, ESO, EMBL, ESRF, ILL, the Community will encourage and support specific initiatives aiming at strengthening the coherence and synergies between their activities and between them and Community actions, in particular through the development of joint approaches and actions on issues of common interest.

Coherent Development of Research and Innovation Policies

The objective is to encourage the coherent development of research and innovation policies in Europe through the early identification of challenges and areas of common interest.

Activities will take place in the following areas:

_ Analyses and studies; work relating to foresight, statistics and science and technology indicators;
_ Benchmarking of research and innovation policies at national, regional and European level;
_ Mapping scientific and technological excellence in Europe;
_ Improving the regulatory and administrative environment for research and innovation in Europe.
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the specific programme. The Commission will draw up a work programme for the implementation of the specific programme, setting out in greater detail the objectives and scientific and technological priorities, and the timetable for implementation. The work programme will take account of relevant research activities carried out by the Member States, Associated States and European and international organisations. It is updated where appropriate.

The Commission is assisted by a committee, composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission. The Commission is to report regularly on the overall progress of the implementation of the specific programme and also provide information on financial aspects. It shall also 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.