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Page last update: 25/12/2008

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 third countries.
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:
http://cordis.europa.eu/fp6/inco.htm
http://cordis.europa.eu/lifescihealth/int_coop.htm
http://cordis.europa.eu/food/inco.htm
International Co-operation in Biotechnology, Food and Agriculture Research [ - 11,6 Mb]

 

 

 

Last update: 25 December 2008 | Top