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Shaping the future of research

Plans to integrate pre-accession countries into the EU are moving apace at many social, economic and financial levels. Integration of science and research into EU programmes is complete thanks to joint working arrangements and projects undertaken by the Member States and pre-accession country scientists. Much of this forward planning is down to the success of INCO's programmes and initiatives.

Restructuring the science base of these countries to better reflect the needs and priorities of European research policy has been the main task.

EU support to 34 existing and independent institutes in pre-accession countries has positively contributed to widening their activities as 'Centres of Excellence'. Strong links have been made between these centres and similar bodies within the EU through networking and twinning arrangements. This has improved the centres' abilities to direct research strategy for the social and economic good of their regions across the natural and social science sectors, including: biosciences, medicine, environment, engineering, materials technologies, physics, information and communications technology, and socio-economics.

The 'awareness and training' initiative concerning the Fifth Framework Programme activities supports existing dissemination networks in all pre-accession countries, providing substantial help for their integration into networks capable of representing and reaching relevant scientific communities.

Financial support has also been provided to the organisers of conferences and workshops to allow the participation of pre-accession countries' researchers in high-level European events.

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Confirming the international role of community research