Beyond a European Research Area
The realisation of an integrated European
Research Area is a strategic goal of the Sixth Framework Programme
(FP6). The EU aims to achieve a similar synergy internationally
in order to enhance the Union’s research base and tackle
some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
The EU has a commendable history of international
scientific co-operation – the sequencing of the human
genome was a recent notable example. Scientists from Europe,
the United States, Japan and other countries came together
in the painstaking quest to identify the more than 3 billion
nucleotide ‘letters’ making up the DNA macromolecule.
International co-operation is an important dimension underpinning
FP6 activities in today’s complex scientific landscape.
Now the Union aims to take this collaboration to a new level.
As the EU lays the foundations for an effective European Research
Area (ERA), it will strive to ensure that it is properly integrated
internationally. By complementing the ERA, international co-operation
can assist in the endeavour to transform Europe into the world’s
most competitive knowledge-based economy.
Nurturing the biosciences
International co-operation in the biosciences aims specifically
to reinforce the science and technology base for European
research and competitiveness by promoting co-operation with
The Union also intends to be a leading contributor to international
efforts to combat some of the world’s most pressing
problems, including communicable diseases and food safety.
Through joint research efforts with developing countries,
international co-operation will also be a key tool in the
EU’s development aid arsenal.
Who can participate?
In principle, legal entities from anywhere in the world can
take part in joint research efforts and apply for funding
under the umbrella of international co-operation. Nevertheless,
there is a particular focus on countries that have scientific
and technical agreements with the EU. FP6 also has a list
of International Co-operation (INCO) target countries. These
include Mediterranean partner countries, the Russian Federation,
the Western Balkans and developing countries in general.
Routes for co-operation
There are three major routes for international co-operation
under FP6: ‘Focusing and integrating Community resources
to third country organisations’; ‘Specific measures
in support of international co-operation’; and ‘International
co-operation under the heading of Human Resources’.
The first two routes are part of the ‘Integrating and
strengthening the ERA’ specific programme (SP1) while
the third comes under the ‘Structuring the ERA’
specific programme (SP2).
Investing in partnership
FP6 has set aside €600 million for international co-operation
under SP1 and SP2, with €285 million going to SP1 and
€315 million to SP2.
Under SP1, €52.4 million has been earmarked
for Thematic Priority 1: ‘Life Sciences, Genomics and
Biotechnology for Health’, and €15.9 million for
Thematic Priority 5: ‘Food Quality and Safety’. This means that, in total, international co-operation in the biosciences will receive €68.3 million.
For more information on the subject:
International Co-operation in Biotechnology, Food and Agriculture Research [ - 11,6 Mb]