Details of the media programme that was presented at the conference, together with press packs and images are available online. Key speeches and other materials of more general interest are also available at the resource centre.
On Monday, November 11, in Brussels European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt opened the biggest conference on EU research ever to be held in Europe. The three-day event (11-13 November) attracted more than 8 500 participants and 200 speakers, including a line-up of 20 ministers, three Nobel laureates and scores of business leaders. It marked the launch of the new EU Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006), with the first calls for proposals to be published shortly. With a budget of € 17.5 billion, FP6 is one of the biggest research programmes in the world. It will support projects in selected strategic areas and foster the creation of the European Research Area, a true internal market for knowledge and science.
"In a knowledge-based economy, only science and technology can produce real added value. They are Europe's real growth engines, the key to making our continent the most dynamic economic powerhouse in the world," said Commissioner Busquin. "The impressive attendance at this conference clearly shows EU researchers, entrepreneurs and policy-makers are ready to work with the Commission towards that goal. The research framework programme is an important part of this process. Through its improved targets, streamlined funding procedures and new schemes, such as integrated projects and networks of excellence, it will help achieve critical mass in research at European level. The next step will be for EU Member States to better co-ordinate their research policies, and for all parties to increase their efforts in the research area."
Meet European research at its best
The conference not only presented FP6, but it also unveiled state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge research projects. Furthermore, it gave leading European scientists and top business executives the opportunity to network. European research is about pooling excellence and helping resources. This is the spirit of the European Research Area.
The event brought together some 8 500 participants from 61 countries. Nearly 15% of them came from Candidate Countries. These countries will have the same rights as EU Member States in FP6 one year ahead of enlargement. A total of 142 research projects and 65 research organisations were on show and the conference will included nearly 300 journalists. in addition, 81 scientific events were organised by the participants themselves.
As part of the extensive media programme, there were press conferences, sector-specific media briefings, and many more informal press-points and interview opportunities. A fully equipped newsroom was available for reporters throughout the event.
Fostering competitiveness and quality of life in Europe
Specialised sessions and workshops elaborated on FP6 priorities such as life sciences, genomics and biotechnology, information society technology, nanotechnologies and new materials, aeronautics and space, food quality and safety, sustainable development, clean energy and transport and governance in a knowledge-based society. Other issues addressed included human resources and mobility, patenting and intellectual property rights, the role of European regions, research infrastructures, SMEs and the likely impact of enlargement.
Participants also discussed how to get involved in FP6 projects. They debated the relationship between research and innovation. It was an opportunity to look into international scientific co-operation, and examine the role of EU research on the world stage.
For further information regarding the event, do not hesitate to contact:
Stéphane Hogan, Press Officer