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The European Research Area (ERA)
Graphic element Home
Graphic element Background
Graphic element Context and challenges
Graphic element Facts and figures
Graphic element Framework Programmes for research
Graphic element The how and the why
Graphic element Future EU research perspectives
Graphic element More info
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Graphic element Other thematic projects



Framework Programmes for research

Delving into the Sixth Framework Programme

Since the launch of the First Framework Programme for RTD, in 1984, the Union has played a leading role in setting up and implementing multidisciplinary research and co-operative activities in Europe and beyond (see Budgets graph). The EU’s Research programmes were the first to include the new Member States in collaborative projects.

The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) 2002-2006 concentrates on high-quality research which both focuses and integrates Europe’s science and research. It is also striving to make the most of transnational co-operation, progressively integrating activities and actors so that Europe may concentrate on fewer thematic research priorities.

Broadly speaking, the seven main thematic priorities for FP6 to focus and integrate research are:

  • Life sciences: genomics and biotechnology for health (€2.25 billion)
  • Information society technologies (€3.62 billion)
  • Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices (€1.30 billion)
  • Aeronautics and space (€1.07 billion)
  • Food quality and safety (€685 million)
  • Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems (€2.12 billion)
  • Citizens and governance in a knowledge-based society (€225 million)
An important feature of FP6 was the creation of new funding instruments – such as the Networks of Excellence and Integrated Projects – to assemble a critical mass of expertise and resources to achieve ambitious research objectives.  

Big budget, great opportunities

In addition to this, a significant sum – €2.6 billion of the €17.5 billion FP6 budget – has been earmarked for activities to structure ERA, such as programmes for research and innovation, human resources and mobility, research infrastructures, and science and society. Also, €320 million is dedicated to strengthening ERA’s foundations, supporting better coordination and coherent development of R&D policies, such as the ERA-NET scheme. FP6 also sets aside over €1.2 billion for Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community) research, such as controlled thermonuclear fusion (ITER), managing radioactive waste from fission and radiation protection, etc.

FP6 projects funded with the new instruments:

This Integrated Project was launched in early 2004 and focuses on reducing health problems and diseases associated with seafood/fish farming and production. It is tackling such topics as the ethics of fish farming, consumer and environmental challenges, as well as ways of improving production and better use of by-products. The EU's contribution to the project covers 55% of the €26 million budget. Among the 70 partners from 16 European countries, including new Member States, are representatives from industry, academia and commerce – especially SMEs.

The Global Allergy and Asthma European Network – a Europe-wide consortium of research organisations, launched early 2004 – is shedding light on a major health problem. By banding together under FP6, this five-year Network of Excellence, backed by €14.4 million of EU funding, aims to strengthen the overall quality and relevance of research into these complex diseases, while lessening the burden of allergy and asthma on Europe’s citizens and its health systems.



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