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Research


Scientific research and technological development (RTD) are playing an ever greater role in the process of economic and social development. The EC Treaty sets out the objectives, rules and procedures for implementing RTD activities. The aim of the EU’s research and technology policy is to coordinate national and European strategies, promote cooperation and networking between researchers, facilitate greater mobility and better career prospects for scientists, and increase the exchange of ideas between the scientific and business communities, in order to boost European competitiveness.

The main aims of Community activities are to strengthen the scientific and technological bases of European industry and its international competitiveness by combining research resources in certain key areas and priority technologies.

Research instruments

The January 2000 Community communication “Towards a European Research Area” states that the EU needs to step up its efforts in research and technology to remain competitive in an increasingly globalised economy. The goals of the Lisbon Strategy reflect the need to boost research and technological development in Europe, so as to “make the European Union the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world”.

The European Commission, the Member States, the European Parliament and the scientific and business communities have pledged to work together to create a European Research Area. The framework programmes for research and technological development are a major tool to create the European Research Area.

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EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development

The Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development is the European Union’s main instrument for supporting research and development. It was proposed by the European Commission and adopted by the Council and the European Parliament in the co-decision procedure. The Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development was introduced in 1984.

Most EU funding for research in Europe at present is being provided through the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006). This programme is financing the European Research Area. Its objectives are to:

  • Promote scientific excellence
  • Improve competitiveness and innovation through incentives for increased cooperation
  • Increase complementarity and improve coordination between the players at all levels

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Priorities of the Austrian Presidency 2006 in the area of research

Seventh Framework Programme

In cooperation with the European Parliament, the Austrian Presidency will make every effort to ensure the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7th FP) – a central plank of the Lisbon Strategy – starts on schedule. To avoid any interruption between the current framework programme, which ends in 2006, and the new framework programme, all decisions relating to the programme and its implementation (specific programmes, rules for participation, Joint Research Centre and activities planned in accordance with Articles 169 and 171 of the EC Treaty) must be taken before the end of 2006.

3% target

The Austrian Presidency will monitor and drive forward the implementation of the 3% action plan, i.e. investing 3% of gross domestic product in research, as a follow-up to the discussions of the Council at the end of 2005.

ITER

With regard to the planned construction of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) in Cadarache (France), the European Commission is expected to present its proposals in spring 2006 for an international agreement between the parties and for the creation of a European legal personality. The Austrian Presidency will endeavour to get these proposals adopted as quickly as possible.

Space

The European Commission is preparing communications on the European Space Programme and on Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), which will probably come up for discussion during the Austrian Presidency. Together with Galileo, GMES will form the second pillar of the EU’s user-oriented space policy.

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Presidency of the Competitiveness Council for Research Topics

As minister responsible for coordinating the EU framework programmes for research in Austria, Federal Minister Elisabeth Gehrer will chair the Competitiveness Council when research topics are on the agenda. Vice-Chancellor Hubert Gorbach will take the chair when space issues are discussed (the Competitiveness Council covers research, the internal market and industry).

At national level, the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture agrees its positions with the other ministries that have a research portfolio (Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Federal Ministry for Economics and Labour, and to a certain extent the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Federal Ministry for Defence, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Federal Chancellery) and other institutions such as the Austrian Council for Research and Technological Development, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and the Fund for the Promotion of Scientific Research (FWF).

Links

http://cordis.europa.eu.int/austria
http://www.cordis.europa.eu.int
http://eu2006.bmbwk.gv.at/index_en.htm

 

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Date: 01.02.2006