The implementation of the 5th Framework Programme implies a greater involvement of the scientific, industrial and user communities. This has led to a rethinking and reinforcement of the Commission's advisory structures.
At an operational level, the Commission has set up 17 External Advisory Groups to provide it with advice on the content, direction and implementation of the key actions and/or the programmes. The first batch of members were nominated in November 1998. Acting in a personal capacity, they comprise experts from academic and public research organisations as well as members from industry and service enterprises, including SMEs, and organisations of research users. The initial appointments cover only the Member States of the EU; members will also be appointed from associated countries. The External Advisory Groups met several times towards the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999 to provide initial advice to the Commission on the contents of the work programmes for the specific programmes.
In order to complete
the renewal of its advisory structure, the Commission also took
the decision to replace its Industrial Research and Development
Advisory Committee (IRDAC) and the European Science and Technology
Assembly (ESTA) with a high-level European Research Forum.9
The Forum will provide advice on strategic issues associated with
European research policy, choosing the subjects of discussion at
its own initiative. The members, who will include the chairmen of
the External Advisory Groups, will be assigned to two chambers,
one representing academia and science, the other industry, services
9- Commission Decision 98/611/EC, Euratom.