Fifth Framework Programme of the European Union for Research and Technological Development (1998-2002)

Iris Brökling

 

Introduction

The European Parliament has confirmed the proposals of the Commission concerning the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities in principle at the 18th of December 1997 and the European Council on the 23rd of March 1998. According to the decision the research works should be concentrated on the most important socio-economic needs of the Union through multi-disciplinary measures within thematical programmes.

The main aim of the Fifth Framework, that is planned to start at the beginning of 1999, is to concentrate EU-research on improving the industrial ability for competition of European citizens and to guarantee continuity in European research. Besides, a better coordination of research projects on national, European and international levels and therefor a higher effectiveness in research should be reached; new impulses for research should be given (as already demanded in the Agenda 2000). The Commission demands 16,3 billion ECU for this expansion of research activities.

The Fifth RTD Framework Programme will be opened up to the 11 countries which have launched negotiations to join the EU under proposals recently adopted by the European Commission. It is hoped that negotiations on the proposals can be concluded in time for the launch of the Fifth Framework Programme, opening up a huge range of new cooperation possibilities for EU scientists planning to participate in the new Programme. One of the main problems thrown up by the participation of these countries is the financial contributions required. It is proposed therefore, that they may pay reduced contributions in the early years, and in addition that some funding may be made available through the national PHARE programmes. It is also envisaged, in order to ensure maximum participation from these countries, to promote awareness of the new opportunities offered through a series of measures such as conferences, training seminars, brochures and information on the World Wide Web.

 

Different fields are distinguished in the Fifth Framework:

 

1. field: (thematical programme)

- Quality of life and management of living resources

- user-friendly information possibilities

- competition-oriented and sustainable growth

- keeping of the ecosystem

 

2. field: - Confirming the international role of community research

 

3. field: - Promotion of innovation and encouragement of participation of Small and Middle Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

 

4. field:

(horizontal programme) - Improving human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base (socio-economic research as leading action)

- Activities to be carried out by means of direct actions (JRC)

The Framework is supposed to be adopted to the scientific and technological developments during the four years and therefor the activities of the boards of the different programmes (that consist of deputies of the member countries) had to be newly defined. The boards of the different programmes deal with strategic questions, while the Commission is responsible for the management of the programmes. The Commission inspects the state of the programme and makes proposals for adoption if necessary, arranges an external evaluation of the programme and develops a working programme (which contains the provisional timetable, coordination modalities, and their application). The Commission will inform the boards of the programmes regularly of the economical and social effects of the programmes and measures.

 

1. Horizontal Programme on the field of "Confirming the international role of community research" (1998-2002)

 

Specific actions of the programme of international cooperation contain:

  1. Cooperation with certain groups of non-EU countries
    1. Candidate countries
    2. The independent states of the former Soviet Union and middle- and east-European countries, that are no candidates for EU-membership
    3. partner countries in the Mediterranean area
    4. Research for Development
    5. Threshold and Industrial countries

B. Training of scientists

C. Coordination.

 

Firms, research centres and universities can participate in this programme. The organisation of the programme contains also measures and mechanisms to increase, spread and use the results of the programme, especially for SMEs; as well as measures to promote mobility and training of scientists. The research activities of the Fifth Framework should be concentrated stronger on innovation than the former Framework Programmes.

For the carrying out of this specific programme financial means up to 491 million ECU are thought to be necessary. Of this sum, 70 million ECU are intended for the years 1998-1999 and 421 million ECU for the years 2000-2002.

 

Basics, scientific and technological aims, priorities

To confirm the international role of Community research, following aims are envisaged: to promote international scientific and technological cooperation, to extend the capacity of the Community in the fields of science and technology, to further the achievement of a top scientific level and to support the foreign policy of the EU especially on the background of the accession of the new member countries.

Strategic aims and concepts

Promotion of scientific and technological cooperation between firms, organizations and scientists from the Union and non-EU countries.

Ease access of research centres and firms of the Union to scientific results outside the Union

Strengthen the position and relevance of community research within the international scientific community and promotion of a European science - and technology culture

Preparation of the access of new member countries for example through promoting their full participation in the Fifth Framework and improve scientific exchange with other non-EU countries

Support European researchers to get to know research work outside the union.

Specific actions of the other specific programmes contain the improvement of training possibilities for scientists and securing coordination with other programmes of the Framework and with other measures and initiatives of the union and on the international level.

 

 

2. Horizontal programme on the field of "Improving human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base (socio-economic research as leading action) (1998-2002)

Specific measures:

  1. Promotion of training and mobility of scientists
  2. Improvement of accession to research infrastructures
  3. Promotion of scientific and technological top achievements
  4. Leading action: Improving the socio-economic knowledge base
  5. Measures to plan scientific and technological policies in Europe.

Firms, research centres and universities can participate in this programme. The organisation of the programme contains also measures and mechanisms to increase, spread and use the results of the programme, especially for SMEs; as well as measures to promote mobility and training of scientists. The research activities of the Fifth Framework should be concentrated stronger on innovation than the former Framework Programmes.

For the carrying out of this specific programme financial means up to 1402 million ECU are thought to be necessary. Of this sum, 288,5 million ECU are intended for the years 1998-1999 and 1113,5 million ECU for the years 2000-2002. Of the total 1402 Million ECU, 10% are intended for the leading action "Improving the socio-economic knowledge base".

 

Basics, scientific and technological aims, priorities

The knowledge potential of the Union (the quality of it's researchers, engineers and technicians) should be kept and developed through better support for training and mobility of the researchers and easier access to research infrastructures. General aims are the extension of the human resource potential and the improvement of the socio-economic knowledge base.

 

2.1. Promotion of training and mobility of scientists

A European "research room" shall be created by offering incentives for the training of young scientists through research, transnational cooperation between research teams (networking at common research projects) shall be promoted and incentives to cooperate, interact and mobilize people be given (especially between academic research and industrial research).

à training nets in the field of research:

cooperative research projects; the EU wants to strengthen research nets through limited employment of young researchers from other countries. Financial means can be given for the coordination of the project and for the employment of the young researchers.

Selection criterions: scientific quality of the common project; quality and content of the training programme; especially important: interdisciplinarity and close relations to industry

à Marie-Curie-Scholarships:

Emphasis is on individual scholarships for extraordinary young researchers with research experience, the research object is self determined. Three groups of scientists: a) Graduates, b) young scientists, who have their doctor's degree or worked after the end of their studies at least four years in the research field, c) experienced researchers with at least ten years of research practice after their doctor's degree, who work full-time in an research institution.

Marie-Curie-Individual-Scholarships: two-year scholarships for young scientists Selection criterions: research experience and qualification; consequences and use of the training for the applicant; quality of the research of the host group; relevance of the project

Marie-Curie-Industrial-Scholarships: research of young scientists in industrial enterprises to promote cooperation between science and industry, especially support of SME's. The scholarship is financed by the Union and the host facility.

Selection criterions: quality of research of the host facility; ability to offer suitable conditions for the student; cooperation with other research institutions; scientific and technological quality and relevance of the research field.

Students are selected by their scientific competence and compatibility of their research experience with the proposed research field.