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image European Research News Centre > European Research Policy > New frontiers for an enlarged European R&D
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image image image Date published: 07/11/02
  image New frontiers for an enlarged European R&D
RTD info special
"EU enlargement"
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  Research is one of the fields where EU enlargement looks set to offer the first immediate potential benefit to both existing Member States and candidate countries. From the start of 2003 these countries will have full access to financial support under FP6. Extending the EU's R&D capacity to include up to 13 new countries gives increased impetus to efforts to create a European Research Area (ERA) - the ultimate aim of which is foster scientific excellence, to drive innovation, boost economic growth, create new jobs and improve the overall quality of life for European citizens.
   
     
   

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 society.

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.

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