The Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957, ensured not only harmony and trade between the European states but supported a closer relationship on the front of scientific research. Later collaborative works led to countless world firsts (e.g. Concorde, World Wide Web) and both scientific and technological advances that have provided us Europeans (and much of the world) with a more comfortable living standard.
The first cooperative research programme for Europe was to increase productivity in coal mines in the iron and steel industries; a huge success. Biomedical advancement in the
1960s led to imagery by magnetic resonance (referred to as MRI). The 1970s saw the founding of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the missions affirming Europe’s
share in the conquest of space. Mobile telephone GSM technology appeared in the late
1980s, giving rise to the mobile communication system now used by over 2 billion users in more than 200 countries – the world's most successful and most used mobile standard.
The European Nuclear Research Organisation (CERN), with 7000 researchers, has been a major contributor to European breakthroughs. In around 1990 a researcher at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee, proposed the “vague but exciting” idea (as described by his boss) and the software that would become the World Wide Web. Now the researchers at CERN are investigating the mystery of antimatter and
the origins of the universe. Conditions similar to the Big Bang are to be recreated in the new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. It is a project between the EU, the USA and Japan.
€7.5 billion have been allocated by the European Research Council for basic research until 2013, to ensure the promotion of high-quality research
in all fields. Students are also well aware of the importance of funded research to the chance of more employment opportunities. But in 2006 the USA spent around $100 billion more than Europe on basic industrial research. European scientists and researchers urge Europe to adapt, if we are to keep up with such big spenders as the USA and China.