Thematic priority - Radiation Protection as part of the specific framework programme for the European Atomic Energy Community, within the multi-annual framework programme 2002-2006. Radiation is used extensively in medicine and industry (including the generation of nuclear energy) and its safety is predicated on a sound radiation protection policy and its effective implementation. Community research underpins European policy in this area and has contributed to the high levels of protection achieved in practice. These high standards of radiation protection in the Community must be maintained through focused and coordinated research, in particular into the effects of low levels of exposure. Cooperation at European level, including the exchange of scientists and common research programmes, is already well established in this field.To resolve uncertainties as to risks due to exposure to radiation at both low and protracted doses (ie, at levels typically encountered by the general population and those in higher-risk workplaces respectively). This remains a controversial scientific and policy issue, and has important implications for the use of radiation in both medicine and industry.Quantification of risks associated with low and protracted exposure: research will focus on epidemiological studies of suitable exposed populations, and on cellular and molecular biology research on the interaction between radiation and the DNA, cells, organs and the body.Medical exposure and natural sources of radiation: enhancing the safety and efficacy of medical uses of radiation; better understanding, assessment and management of natural sources, in particular, naturally occurring radioactive materials.Protection of the environment and radioecology: conceptual and methodological basis for protection of the environment; better assessment and management of the impact of natural and artificial sources of radiation on man and the environment.Risk and emergency management: better approaches for risk governance; more effective and coherent emergency management in Europe, including rehabilitation of contaminated areas.Protection of the workplace: improved monitoring and management of occupational exposure in industries involving exposure to radiation.The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the specific programme. All research activities carried out under the specific programme are to be carried out in compliance with fundamental ethical principles. The specific programme is implemented by means of instruments. The rules for participation apply to the specific programme. The Commission has drawn up a work programme for the implementation of the specific programme, setting out in great detail the objectives and scientific and technological priorities and the timetable for implementation and the instruments to be used. The work programme takes account of relevant research activities carried out by the Member States, Associated States, European and international organisations. It is updated where appropriate.For the purposes of implementing the specific programme the Commission is assisted by a consultative committee. The members of this committee vary according to the different subjects on the committee's agenda. The Commission regularly publishes reports on the overall progress of the implementation of the specific programme, including information on financial aspects. The Commission arranges for the independent monitoring and assessment of the activities carried out in the fields covered by the specific programme.In order to implement the specific programme - and in accordance with the Council Decisions concerning the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for nuclear research and training activities also contributing to the creation of the European Research Area 2002-2006 - the Commission uses various instruments and evaluates the proposals in accordance with the evaluation criteria. In the fields of management of radioactive waste and radiation protection the following instruments will be used:- Networks of Excellence, aimed at strengthening and developing Community scientific and technological excellence by means of the integration, at European level, of research capacities currently existing or emerging at both national and regional level; - Integrated Projects, designed to give increased impetus to the Community's competitiveness or to address major societal needs by mobilising a critical mass of research and technological development resources and competences; - Specific targeted research or training projects, designed to gain new knowledge either to improve considerably or to develop new products, processes or services or to meet other needs of society and Community policies or to demonstrate the viability of new technologies offering potential economic advantage but which cannot be commercialised directly, or to facilitate the timely diffusion of new knowledge on a European scale and better integrate national activities; - Actions to promote and develop human resources and mobility; - Coordination actions, intended to promote and support coordinated initiatives of a range of research and innovation operators aiming at improved integration; - Specific support actions, such as actions aimed at exploiting the results of research and transfer of knowledge and actions in support of research infrastructure relating to, for instance, trans-national access or preparatory technical work (including feasibility studies);- Integrated infrastructure initiatives, combining in a single action several activities essential to reinforce and develop research infrastructures in order to provide services at the European level.The Community's budgetary intervention in indirect actions is aimed at research centres, universities, businesses and national or international bodies situated in the Member States and the European Associated States, which carry out research activities. The latter may also act as intermediaries for Community budgetary intervention. Where this proves necessary to achieve the objectives of the programme, bodies in the Newly Independent States (NIS) and international organisations may exceptionally receive Community funding.