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Research and innovation in the specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration "Structuring the European Research Area" under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) 2002-2006

Activities under this specific programme will be implemented in a number of specific areas that are complementary with the actions carried out under the "Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area" programme. Activities will focus on improving the knowledge and capabilities of the different actors involved. Actors, such as researchers, industrialists, investors, public authorities at European, national and regional levels, will be encouraged to interact more closely by providing strategic information and services and by developing new methodologies and tools to assist them in their particular undertakings.
The underlying principle for all these actions is the understanding that innovation cannot be separated from research. The actions serve to reinforce the links between research and innovation, from the conception of research activities through the period of their realisation.
To strengthen their structuring effect in Europe, these activities will, where appropriate, be carried out in cooperation with other forums or organisations at regional, national or European level (such as the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund in the context of the "Innovation 2000 Initiative"), as well as in co-ordination with Structural Funds measures in this field.
The research and innovation activities aim to encourage a more innovation-friendly policy and regulatory environment across the European Union and to stimulate technological innovation and the setting up of innovative technology businesses. They also aim to improve Europe's innovation performance by stimulating a better integration between research and innovation.

The stated objectives of the "Research and Innovation" theme are to:
- set up the basis of a European innovation system by bringing different players together, promoting cooperation, breaking down barriers and encouraging trans-national learning;
- investigate and test new approaches, extract lessons from the experience of FP research projects and promote entrepreneurial innovation;
- offer services that need to be provided on a European scale.

1. Encouraging networking and interaction between players:
The effectiveness of innovation systems depends on the intensity of interactions and exchanges between the players concerned. The aim of this activity is to inform, assist, mobilise and encourage networking of the key stakeholders (European citizens, firms' managers, policy makers, clusters' managers, investors and relevant associations) in the field of entrepreneurial innovation. To achieve this, learning platforms will be developed and implemented. The sector-based approach, a common feature of most of the proposed actions, will help to identify and analyse leverages and barriers to innovation by sector. This will lead to sound and targeted policy measures.
Specific measures include: promotion of entrepreneurial innovation; identification of sector-specific leverages/barriers to innovation and types of innovation players; establishment of networks between clusters and; networking of innovation actors by sectors.

2. Encouraging regional innovation policies and trans-regional cooperation:
The regional level is the most appropriate for putting in place innovation strategies and programmes involving the main local players. The aim of this activity is to facilitate transfer of good practices and the installation of research and innovation strategies particularly in the associated candidate countries, in view of enlargement. The aim is also to consolidate a European platform for exchange of experience and dissemination of good practices on research and innovation-related themes among actors in regional structures. Further, regional policy-making will be stimulated as regards research and innovation strategies.
Specific measures include networking of regions and dissemination of Regional Innovation Strategies methodology and exploration of new approaches to regional innovation policies.

3. Experimenting with new tools and approaches:
The aim of this activity is to support experimental actions that serve to clarify the priorities and directions for promoting innovation in Europe, including in the areas covered by the other lines of action of the "Research and innovation" theme. The purpose is also to explore the diverse aspects of European patterns for innovation, including innovation clusters, adequate support initiatives and stimulation of innovation management in EU enterprises.
Specific measures include:
- testing of new approaches to the transfer and/or exchange of knowledge and experience, with a view to reducing regional disparities;
- testing of new services, especially electronic services, for the promotion of innovation and;
- identification of new methods of promoting and encouraging trans-national technology transfer for delivery in the form of services, either directly to principal target groups or in support of intermediaries that themselves offer trans-national technology transfer services.

4. Putting services in place and consolidating them:
The establishment of the European Research Area and the gradual integration of innovation systems in Europe require a supply of information and services transcending the existing national fragmentation. The aim of this activity is to assist the creation of a Europe-wide innovation system.
The services of this system comprise:
- the CORDIS research and innovation information service, which will be supplemented by other media in order to reach the various target populations;
- the network of Innovation Relay Centres, the geographical coverage of which will continue to be extended, and which will be supplemented by instruments to encourage trans-national transfer of knowledge and technologies and;
- specific information and support services in the fields of intellectual and industrial property rights and in access to innovation funding.

5. Stepping up economic and technological intelligence:
In the knowledge-based economy, economic and technological intelligence is a vital component of competitive research and innovation strategies. In the Sixth Framework Programme, this activity is built on the experience gained under the previous Framework Programme (FP6). The measures to be taken will centre on the different innovation players: SMEs, researcher-entrepreneurs and investors. They will mainly involve intermediaries working with/for these players as well as organisations with economic and technological intelligence expertise.
The masures will concentrate on specific science and technology (S&T) themes or industrial sectors and may concern:
- innovation promotion in SMEs, in particular by means of activities aimed at facilitating their participation in the Community research programmes;
- support for activities concerning the gathering, analysis and dissemination of information on S&T developments, applications and markets which may be of assistance to the stakeholders and;
- identification and dissemination of best practice with regard to economic and technological intelligence.

6. Analysing and evaluating innovation in Community research projects:
The aim of this activity is to observe and analyse research and innovation activities carried out in the Community RTD framework programme (and possibly in other European programmes, such as Eureka). Particular attention is given to activities concerning the conversion of research results into innovation products, processes and services. These activities will be conducted taking into account related Community evaluation activities, for instance the Five Year Assessment, ex ante impact assessment and evaluations of other parts of the specific programmes. The aim is to extract and disseminate lessons and good practices with a view to better integrate the innovation dimension in research projects.
This activity will gather, compare and analyse the experience derived from FP5 projects, the analysis based on the start of FP6 and the lessons learnt from other national and intergovernmental programmes. The information obtained will be actively disseminated among businesses and other participants in the generation and exploitation of knowledge.
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the specific programme. It draws up and updates the work programme, which identifies the instruments to be used on a priority basis, and any subsequent adjustment to their use. The Commission is assisted by a committee, composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.
The Commission reports regularly on the overall progress of the implementation of the specific programme. The report includes information on the financial aspects. The Commission arranges independent monitoring and assessment of the framework programme to be conducted concerning the activities carried out in the fields covered by the specific programme.

Fundamental ethical principles must be respected during the implementation of this programme and in the research activities arising from it. These include the principles set out in the Charter of fundamental rights of the EU such as the protection of human dignity and life, personal data and privacy and the environment.
Participants in research projects must conform to current legislation and regulations in the countries where the research is carried out. Where appropriate, participants in research projects must seek the approval of the relevant ethics committees prior to the start of the RTD activities. An ethical review is implemented systematically for proposals dealing with sensitive issues. In specific cases, an ethical review may take place during the implementation of a project.
The full involvement of associated candidate countries will be secured. The international dimension is taken into consideration when it is beneficial for the European innovation system. It is also ensured that all activities are coherent and have the necessary degree of integration.