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.
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,