actions have been involved for over ten years in concerted activities
throughout the Union to optimise the use of resources and expertise. In
January 2000, Commissioner Philippe Busquin outlined the concept of a
European Research Area (ERA) which
will better co-ordinate research activities at both EU and Member State
level to keep Europe at the cutting edge of RTD. In addition, ERA should
also play a key role in strengthening the scientific basis for EU policy-making,
anticipating the application of scientific progress, responding to citizens'
demands for greater safety, and reinforcing the position of Europe on
a global scale.
to economic growth in Europe is the participation of small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs), which constitute the principal source of jobs in Europe.
The opportunities for existing SMEs and the potential for creating new
ones are great in an emerging new technology where current knowledge is
scattered and exists mainly in university and research centres. Many new
SMEs will be needed to actively stimulate innovative R&D in specific
areas of nanotechnology.