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Homepage Competitive and Sustainable Growth - Making the European Research Area a Reality
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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research themes > Research Infrastructures
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The Competitive and Sustainable Growth (GROWTH) Programme ran from 1998 to 2002 under the Fifth Framework Programme(FP5). Funding for industrial research is now covered by the thematic priorities of the Sixth Framework Programme(FP6) from 2002 to 2006, designed to support the creation of a European Research Area:

The following text was first published in March 2000.

Graphic element Support for Research Infrastructures

An important element of the Growth Programme is support for European research infrastructures, mainly working through thematic networks. This action is intended to:

  • Create a synergistic use of geographically dispersed medium- and large-scale EU research facilities,
  • Encourage the rapid transfer and implementation of research results into industrial applications
  • Improve interoperability and common protocols.

    This activity is also designed to increase cohesion between EU member and candidate member states on strategic R&D needs and exploitation of results.

  Main research objectives
  • Supporting medium and large scale facilities
    Creating networks for optimum use of facilities having a strong and innovative scientific, technical or socio-economic relevance to the Growth Programme
  • Establishing virtual research institutes
    Linking geographically dispersed complementary research and industrial capabilities using advanced information, communication and knowledge-management tools to create potentially independent and self-supporting entities beyond the period of EC funding. These would offer a high standard of services to industry - and particularly to SMEs - for research, technology transfer and exploitation of research results.
  • Identifying reference databases
    Reference databases are critical to the development of the EU research fabric. The objective is to catalogue priority databases and set up networks in order to improve their accessibility, comparability and quality.
  • Strengthening metrology infrastructure
    Developing and strengthening the European measurement and quality management infrastructures to reinforce traceability, improve cohesion of metrology systems and promote a harmonised approach to quality management in organisations and enterprises, particularly SMEs.

Within the framework of the Growth Programme's Support for Research Infrastructures activity, DG Research is organising a workshop on Virtual Institutes, to be held in Brussels on 28 September 2000.

Virtual institutes link geographically scattered yet complimentary research and industrial infrastructures, facilitating the transfer of technology and research results to industrial applications. As such, they form an integral part of the European Research Area.

The workshop will provide a more in-depth introduction to the idea of virtual institutes and provide information on the mechanism and modality for implementation (expressions of interest/dedicated call mechanism, scope, contract type, eligible costs, etc). Emphasis will be placed on the importance of the business plan and the management structure, two important issues to consider in any future submission.

Invited experts will share their views on virtual institutes from different perspectives in order to generate for new ideas. This will enable the Commission services to establish high-quality guidelines on this matter and to develop the concept further.

For pratical information see:


Testing the drug testers

Virtual institutes and the research infrastructure of the future

Support for Research Infrastructures & Expressions of Interest/Dedicated Call Mechanism
(PDF File - 230 Kb)
Thematics networks brochure published
(Several PDF Files
- total 14.718Kb)

Press room

Growth Project Search
(CORDIS database)

Growth Project Search

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