The social dimension
Science is not just about technology. The use of scientific knowledge benefits society as a whole through advances in areas such as medicine, healthcare, food quality and safety, better communications, and environmental monitoring. In recent years, the Union has redoubled efforts not just to promote S&T development but also to build closer links between science and society.
In March 2000, EU leaders meeting in Lisbon agreed to work together to transform Europe, within a decade, into the world’s most competitive knowledge-based economy, with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.
A core element of the Lisbon strategy is to develop the European Research Area (ERA) aimed at integrating all elements of European research. The Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006) is paving the way towards the ERA. In addition, it is implementing a plan of action to forge a stronger link between science and society.
Specific actions are also being implemented to increase young people’s interest in science. For example, every year the European Commission supports a Europe-wide young scientists contest to stimulate and reward scientific innovation. The annual European Science Week successfully involves the young public in a diverse range of activities, which show the fun side of science and emphasise its inherent creativity and relevance.