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"Research 2002" conference opens in Brussels: EU science & technology programme on the starting blocks
Brussels, 11-12-13 November 2002


Brussels, 7 November 2002

Key words : Sixth Framework Programme, European Research Area, conference


On Monday in Brussels European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt opened the biggest conference on EU research ever to be organised in Europe. Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen will also participate. The three-day event will attract more than 8,000 participants and 200 speakers, including a line-up of 20 ministers, 3 Nobel laureates and scores of business leaders. It will mark the launch of the new EU Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006), preceding the first calls for proposals to be published in the next few weeks. With a budget of EUR 17.5 billion, FP6 is one of the biggest research programmes in the world. It will support projects in selected strategic areas and foster the creation of the European Research Area, a true internal market for knowledge and science.

"In a knowledge-based economy, only science and technology can produce real added value: they are Europe’s real growth engines, the key that has to be turned to make our continent the most dynamic economic powerhouse in the world," said Commissioner Busquin. "The impressive attendance at this conference clearly shows EU researchers, entrepreneurs and policy-makers are ready to work with the Commission towards that goal. The research framework programme is an important tool and feeds into this process: with its better target priorities, its streamlined funding procedures and its new schemes, such as Integrated projects and Networks of excellence, it will help achieve critical mass in research at European level. Next step will be for EU Member States to better co-ordinate their research policies, and for all players to increase their efforts in the research area."

Meet European research at its best

The conference will not only present FP6: it will show state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge research projects. But it will also offer networking opportunities to leading European scientists and top business executives. Matchmaking is key in fostering lasting contacts and co-operation opportunities: European research is about pooling excellence and helping brains join forces. That is the spirit of the European Research Area.

The event will bring together 8,000 participants from 61 countries. Nearly 15% of them will come from Candidate Countries, equal partners with EU Member States in FP6 – more than one year in advance on overall enlargement schedule. 142 research projects and 65 research organisations will be on exhibition. Over 300 journalists will attend the conference. 81 scientific events are organised by the participants themselves. The extensive media programme will offer major press conferences, sector-specific media briefings, and many more informal press-points and interview opportunities. A fully equipped newsroom will be available for reporters throughout the event.

Fostering competitiveness and quality of life in Europe

Thematic sessions and workshops will elaborate on FP6 priorities such as life sciences, genomics and biotechnology, information society, nanotechnologies and new materials, aeronautics and space, food quality and safety, sustainable development, clean energy and transport and governance in a knowledge-based society. Other issues to be addressed will include, inter alia, human resources and mobility, patenting and intellectual property rights, the role of European regions, research infrastructures, SMEs and the likely impact of enlargement. Participants will also discuss how to join FP6 projects. They will debate the relationship between research and innovation. They will look into international scientific co-operation, and examine the role of EU research on the world stage.

Media briefings will include:

  • Fast track to the future: solutions for safer and cleaner cars
  • Clearly competitive: cleaner processes, smarter products for sustainable business
  • Smaller, smarter and more flexible: nanotechs and multi-functional materials
  • How genomics will change our life
  • Air transport 2020: the Strategic Research Agenda for European aeronautics
  • Researchers first: enhancing mobility and career development opportunities in European research
  • Providing safer food for European citizens
  • One child in four is allergic today – and tomorrow?
  • Combating anti-biotic resistance: new vaccines against tuberculosis and AIDS
  • Predicting rainfall and managing rivers
  • Energy from the sun
  • New frontiers for the EU space industry: the future for Europe in space
  • Protecting our seas from oil spills
  • The future of forensic science: technologies for safety and security
  • Giant information technology infrastructures

Commissioners Busquin and Liikanen will also hold press conferences.

Business and scientific organisations join in

UNICE (Union of Industrial and Employers’ Federations in Europe) will also organise a joint workshop with the European Investment Bank (BEI) and the European Round-Table of Industrialists (ERT). Participants will explore ways to respond to the March 2002 Barcelona European Council’s call to raise research spending to 3% of EU gross domestic product. Now Europe lags at 1,9%.

Another event will involve the Commission and EIROforum, an association of European scientific organisations. With the signing of the EIROforum Charter the organisation will in fact officially be born during the "Research 2002" conference. This session will focus on the co-operation between the Commission and EIROforum, as well as on the role of EIROforum and its member organisations within the European Research Area.

EIROforum members include: CERN European Organisation for Nuclear Research (particle physics); EFDA European Fusion Development Agreement; EMBL European Molecular Biology Laboratory; ESA European Space Agency; ESO European Southern Observatory (astronomy and astrophysics); ESRF European Synchrotron Radiation Facility; and ILL Institut Laue-Langevin (neutron source).

The media programme is available on:

For further information:

  • Stéphane Hogan, Communication Unit, Research DG
    Tel.: + - Fax: + - E-mail: Research Contact

  • Michel Claessens, Communication Unit, Research DG
    Tel.: +32.475.73.49.98 - Fax: + - E-mail:

Conference venue:

  • Brussels Exhibition Centre, Halls 7, 10, 11 and 12, Place de Belgique / Belgïeplein, 1020 Brussels



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