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European Flag    Europa The European Commission Research Fifth Framework Programme
Improving the Quality of Life

An Integrated Approach
to Life Science

The programme integrates life sciences into a single thematic agenda with the clear objective of improving our quality of life and the way we manage our living resources. It aims to unlock the resources of the living world and to establish a coherent link between scientific discovery, industrial production and end use.


As in all Fifth Framework Programme activities, the Quality of Life programme funds high-level, cross-border research aimed at satisfying the wider needs of European society. The aims are to expand our basic scientific knowledge of the world around us, and to show us how to use that knowledge wisely. The research projects and networks will both improve the quality of life today and protect natural resources for future generations.

An engine for economic growth
The cooperation between academic scientists and their industrial counterparts across Europe will also bring the increasing power of life sciences to bear on industrial competitiveness in general, stimulating economic growth and creating jobs both in traditional industries and in the rapidly developing biotechnology sector. In this respect it will place special emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - both the small, innovative firms behind many of the latest breakthroughs and those companies in traditional sectors for whom biotechnology offers so much promise.
The overall strategy of the Quality of Life programme is to focus on the specific areas where there is the greatest potential to make significant advances, and where progress will be of greatest benefit to Europeans. The programme is based around six key actions, each with a set of clear, targeted goals corresponding to the needs of society and industry: improving health and food quality, controlling disease, improving life and healthcare for an ageing population, industrial applications of biotechnology, and making the exploitation of natural resources more sustainable. The research will provide a rigorous
scientific basis for EU policies in areas such as agriculture, fisheries, environmental management, health and consumer protection.

Strategic knowledge base
The programme also funds a wide range of generic research to build Europe's knowledge base in areas of strategic importance. These include improving our understanding of the genome and the brain, improving public health, tackling chronic diseases, and addressing the emerging socio-economic and ethical issues surrounding the life sciences.
Supporting all of these activities - key actions and generic research - will be a series of initiatives focusing on Europe's research infrastructure, the dissemination and exploitation of results, and the training of researchers, particularly young scientists. The role of SMEs and start-ups will be reinforced, and the public better informed through improved, two-way communications between scientists and society at large.
Finally, the programme will ensure that it maintains its clear focus on Europe's socio-economic needs by encouraging feedback from expert organisations in economic analysis, scientific evaluation, technological assessment, sociology and ethics.

Budget Breakdown

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