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image European Research News Centre > European Research Policy > Centres of excellence add value to enlargement process
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image image image Date published: 07/11/02
  image Centres of excellence add value to enlargement process
RTD info special
"EU enlargement"
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  The Commission has backed the development of 34 centres of excellence in 11 candidate countries* to help restructure their science and technology sectors. All are now fully operational and are helping to integrate those countries into EU research programmes.
   
     
   

The EU has spent more than €24 million to establish a network of centres. Those selected for support (from 184 applicants) already had a good track record in their chosen fields as independent academies, universities or other scientific institutions. Together, they cover eight scientific disciplines: biology, ICT, physics, mathematics, engineering, socio-economics, medicine, and environmental sciences.

Their remit is to support the social and economic development of their particular region by harnessing a multidisciplinary approach to their work. Although they work on their own projects, the centres network with each other and with similar bodies across the EU. Links are also forged through conferences and seminars, and by offering exchange opportunities to visiting fellows - both teachers and researchers.

Improving integration

The development of external links means that ideas and information can be exchanged between the EU and candidate country scientists and institutions. Indeed, the work undertaken by the centres must have some conformity with the interests of the Union as a whole.

The centres have already played a key role in developing and aligning research activities in the candidate countries with the goals of EU research programmes, and that will continue in FP6 and the European Research Area. The second annual meeting of the centres of excellence took place in Budapest in June 2002. Presentations were made by centre consortia outlining possible activities to be undertaken in FP6.

* The candidate countries and number of centres they host are: Bulgaria (3); Cyprus (2); Czech Republic (3); Estonia (2); Hungary (6); Latvia (1); Lithuania (1); Poland (9); Romania (4); Slovakia (2); Slovenia (1).

For further information on centres of excellence, see: http://cordis.europa.eu/inco2/src/coe.htm

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