FP6 represents a break from previous
Framework Programmes in ambition and scope. With an increased budget
and an innovative approach, FP6 will run until 2006 and will be
the EU's main tool in the creation of a European Research Area (ERA).
The ERA aims to create a common science and technology policy across
the European Union by integrating existing and future Member States'
scientific and technology capacities. It will foster scientific
excellence, competitiveness and innovation through the promotion
of better co-operation and coordination between R&D actors.
The new Framework Programme will lead to more
focused and integrated research at EU level by concentrating on
a well-defined set of thematic priorities: genomics and biotechnology
for health; information society technologies; nanotechnologies,
multifunctional materials and new production processes; aeronautics
and space; food quality and safety; sustainable development and
global change; and citizens and governance in a knowledge-based
These priorities will offer increased opportunities
for candidate countries to use their various multidisciplinary competences
and very often internationally recognised expertise - in fields
such as mathematics, theoretical physics, mechanics, chemistry,
materials, optics and biology - while the Networks of Excellence
and Integrated Projects will create important opportunities for
sharing know-how and skills with research partners in the EU and
the candidate countries. To reap the benefits of FP6, candidate
countries must however develop their R&D infrastructures, focus
on networking their centres of excellence, and take time to build
strong partnerships with other research organisations.