At an important juncture for EU research policy, this month saw
the inauguration of the UK Presidency’s R&D and innovation portal.
Top billing on the Union’s research agenda during Britain’s six-month
stint at the helm goes to the forthcoming Seventh Framework Programme
for Research (FP7).
The United Kingdom took over the Union’s
rotating presidency from Luxembourg on 1 July 2005 and will hold it for
the coming six months, until the end of December. “We will look to
deliver progress across the EU agenda by running an effective,
impartial and business-like EU Presidency,” said the UK’s Parliamentary
Under-secretary of State for Science and Innovation David Sainsbury.
On the science and technology front, Lord
Sainsbury noted that: “The agenda on research and innovation during the
UK Presidency will be dominated by negotiations on FP7 for supporting
research and technological development, which is due to run from
The Commission’s proposal for
FP7 was launched during the Luxembourg presidency, which has mediated
the initial discussion among Member States. According to the proposal,
FP7 is set to become bigger and more ambitious than its predecessor,
the current FP6 (2002-2006).
If given the green light by Member
States, FP7 will have nearly €65 billion at its disposal. The proposed
budget is double the current annual spending in FP6.
FP7 revolves around four specific
programmes: co-operation, ideas, people and capacities; and nine
themes. It places more of an emphasis on research that enhances
European competitiveness – through technology platforms and other
public-private partnerships – and on themes rather than instruments.
FP7 would represent a tenth of total public R&D spending across the
EU, and should help inch the Union closer to its target of investing 3%
of its gross domestic product (GDP) in research.
Also on the UK’s research and innovation
agenda is the proposed Competitiveness and Innovation Framework
Programme (CIP) and the European Space Programme (ESP).
Window on research
The UK Presidency’s R&D and Innovation
Information Service – which came on-line on 1 July with the hand-over
of the EU presidency – was developed jointly by the UK’s Department of
Trade and Industry and CORDIS, one of the EU’s research and innovation
It will provide a window on the UK
presidency’s efforts in this field of vital importance to European
competitiveness and prosperity. Visitors will be able to read the
latest news and press releases, and find out about R&D and
innovation events across Europe.
The website also provides insight into
the Presidency’s research and innovation priorities, as well as the
UK’s own R&D and innovation policies. This portal also contains a
wealth of links to other important web resources, both at national and
The European Commission is also
organising a number of R&D-related events over the next six months,
including a major conference on the knowledge-based bio-economy on
15-16 September 2005, and an international conference on communicating
European research on 14-15 November 2005.
(Credits EU Research)