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Specific programme 2002-2006 for research, technological development and demonstration aimed at integrating and strengthening the European Research Area within the sixth framework programme (FP6)

Following the its Communication 'Towards a European Research Area' of January 2000, the Commission has proposed five new research programmes for 2002-2006.

Research and technological development are among the main driving forces for economic growth, social progress and business competitiveness, contributing to employment and a better quality of life. However, Europe still has structural weakness which the EU's Framework Programme aims to address:
_ Insufficient and dispersed investment;
_ Insufficient human resources in research;
_ Limited capacity to translate scientific breakthroughs into innovation and competitive products and services;
_ Fragmentation of research policies in Europe.

The 6th Research Framework Programme is the main financial instrument to implement the European Research Area. It is structured in three main blocks of activities:
_Focusing and integrating Community research;
_Structuring the European Research Area;
_Strengthening the foundations of the European Research Area.
The first and third block should be implemented by this specific programme.

Further information on the sixth framework programme is available on the FP6 Web service at the following address:

This programme aims at promoting world class research in key priority areas as identified in the 6th framework programme (2002-2006) and to furthering the integration of research in Europe. To achieve this, the programme focuses action in priority thematic research areas and promotes the networking and joint action of national and European frameworks for research and innovation and the opening up of national research programmes.
Integrating Research

Priority thematic areas of research:

_ Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health
Integrating post-genomic research into the more established biomedical and bio-technological approaches to stimulate basic research, exploit the full potential of genome information and apply it to human health. This should result in benefits for the European biotechnology industry, stimulate entrepreneurship and create new investment opportunities.

The priorities will be the following:
- Advanced genomics and its applications for health.
Fundamental knowledge and basic tools for functional genomics: in particular gene expression and proteomics, structural genomics, comparative genomics and population genetics, bioinformatics;
- Applications of genomics and biotechnology for health: research actions will encompass technological platforms for the development of new diagnostic, prevention and therapeutic tools, support for innovation research in genomics start-up companies;
- Combating major diseases. Research action will focus on combating cancer, cardiovascular disease and rare diseases, combating resistance to drugs, studying the brain and combating diseases of the nervous system, studying human development and the ageing process;
- Confronting the major communicable diseases linked to poverty such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis.

_ Information Society technologies
Contributing to European policy for the knowledge society and the e-Europe Action Plan, including medium and long-term RTD on the future generation of technologies and their integration into everyday life.

The research priorities will be:
- Applied IST research addressing major societal and economic challenges;
- Communication and computing and software technologies;
- Components and microsystems;
- Knowledge and interface technologies;
- IST future and emerging technologies.

_Nano-technologies and Nano-sciences, knowledge-based Multifunctional Materials and new Production Processes and Devices
Creating a scientific base to move the European production industry from resource-based to knowledge-based, from quantity to quality, to stimulate innovative enterprises and more environmentally friendly approaches.

The research are nano-technologies and nano-sciences, multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices.

_ Aeronautics and Space
Consolidating and concentrating research efforts to implement the European Strategy for Space. In aeronautics, the main emphasis lies on strengthening competitiveness by reducing development and operating costs, reducing emissions and noise and improving safety. The priorities for space research are the Galileo navigation system and satellite-based information services and communications.

_ Food Quality and Safety
Improving the health of European citizens by enhancing food quality and safety and developing new food production chains. Research focuses on food-related diseases and allergies, traceability processes, control mechanisms and environmental implications.

_ Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems
Strengthening the scientific and technological capacities to implement a sustainable development model based on a social, an economic and an environmental dimension. Special emphasis is put on sustainable energy systems, sustainable transport and broader global issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and desertification.

_ Citizens and Governance in a knowledge-based Society

Stimulating research into economic, political and social sciences to promote the understanding of societal changes arising from the emergence of a knowledge-based society and new relationships between citizens and institutions. Priorities in this area include research into options and choices for the development of a knowledge-based society, its impact on social cohesion, and the implication for citizenship, democracy and new forms of governance.

These objectives will be realised by the following activities:
_Policy-orientated research and leading edge topics;
_Horizontal research activities involving SMEs
_Specific international co-operation activities;

Strengthening the Foundations of the European Research Area

The objective of this block is to stimulate and support programme coordination and joint actions conducted at national and regional level and among European organisations, as well as 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 the thematic priority domains. They take the form of Coordination Actions and Specific Support Actions.

The following research activities are proposed:
_ Coordination of activities to develop synergies between existing national activities, including their mutual opening and the preparation and the management of joint activities and enhancing the complementarity between Community actions undertaken under the Framework Programme and those of other European scientific co-operation organisations
_ Coherent development of research and innovation policies in Europe by helping to identify challenges and areas of common interest and by providing policy-makers with knowledge and tools for better decision-making.

The programme is complementary to the programme "Structuring the European Research Area" and the specific programme for the JRC, and its implementation will be coordinated with them.
The Commission, assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission, shall be responsible for the implementation of the specific programme. The work programme shall take account of relevant research activities carried out by the Member states, associated states and European and international organisations.

The Commission will carry out the following measures to implement the specific programme:
_ Draw up and update a work programme setting out in detail the objectives and scientific and technological priorities;
_ Draw up the timetable for implementation;
_ Report on the overall progress of the implementation of the specific programme on a regular basis;
_ Arrange for independent assessment to be carried out on the activities in the fields covered by the specific programme.

To achieve the full potential of this programme, the active engagement of all relevant parties, in particular the Member States, associated candidate countries and other associated states, should be encouraged in a common endeavour to step up the coordination of research activities carried out in Europe. This includes opening up and coordinating national programmes and the free circulation of information pertaining to research activities at all levels.

This programme should be implemented in a flexible, efficient and transparent manner, taking account of relevant interests, in particular of the scientific, industrial, user and policy communities; the research activities carried out under it should be adapted where appropriate to the needs of Community policies and to scientific and technological developments. The participation of the outermost regions in Community RTD action through appropriate mechanisms adapted to their particular situation should be facilitated.

Participation in the activities of this programme will be encouraged through publication of the necessary information on content, conditions and procedures, to be made available in a timely and thorough manner to potential participants, including those from the associated candidate countries and other associated countries. Specific activities will be undertaken in support of participation of scientists and institutions from developing countries, Mediterranean countries including the Western Balkans as well as Russia and the Newly Independent States (NIS).