Introduction by
J.M. Silva Rodríguez

PRINTDirector-General of
Directorate-General for Research

introduction

I am very pleased to present this selection of success stories from the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research.

It would take a much bigger publication than this to cover all the research and new knowledge created by this multi-disciplinary, international research programme We have, however, tried to include enough exciting and innovative projects to give you a good overall picture.

In the following pages you will find researchers working in locations as diverse as the frozen wastes of the Arctic, the depths of the oceans and the windswept deserts of central Asia, as well as many more who work in the more traditional setting of the laboratory. They work in disciplines ranging from chemistry to the economy (and many, many more) and come from every corner of the EU and beyond.

Between them, the projects covered here touch on every aspect of our daily lives, from our health, our environment and the food we eat, to the way we travel and how our energy is produced.

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These projects will provide us with important new knowledge to help us tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society today.

Climate change is widely regarded as one of the most serious of these challenges. Thanks to the Framework Programme we now have a better idea of how Europe will be affected and what we have to do to change how we live, work and travel in order to limit the damage to the environment and prevent more calamitous changes to our climate.

We have included a number of projects which show how research has contributed to the search for new and better ways of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, technologies to help us to drastically reduce CO2. Other projects offer an exciting glimpse of the cleaner, greener travel options of the future: covering sustainable fuels, more efficient railways and aircraft and even completely new concepts in public transport.

In the field of health, you will find projects looking for ways to prevent or cure existing diseases such as cancer, HIV and diabetes as well as how to react quickly to the emergence of new viruses.

Other projects included here are investigating how we can produce safer, healthier and more affordable food while respecting environmental and animal welfare concerns.

However, we should not lose sight of the fact that these projects are not only creating new knowledge and solutions to existing problems. Training features heavily in a number of the projects, helping to ensure that Europe will have a pool of talented, highly skilled researchers long into the future. These projects are also laying the foundations for networks which will bridge the gaps between researchers and between institutions and that will endure long after their work has been completed. Many also involve the building of global links involving researchers from all over the world.

The EU’s research initiative complements the national and regional programmes run by member states, as well as existing European international research schemes.

Looking even further, FP6 gives added value to European research, and through the projects it supported, was designed to establish the building blocks of a single European Research Area (ERA). The ERA aims to generate world class public research inter alia through cooperation, networking and the free movement of researchers, funds and knowledge – the so-called fifth freedom. FP6 contributed directly to what has become known as the ‘Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs’ by acknowledging the part research has to play in stimulating the European economy by providing jobs, services and new products.

Of course, the full implementation of ERA will require a further effort to increase and improve the free circulation of scientific information. The current Seventh Framework Programme for Research is now doing this with even more funding than before and a greater emphasis on creating clearer strategies and partnerships for research in Europe, so as to avoid fragmentation and dilution of research work.

There will be no solutions to the big societal challenges that Europeans face (such as climate change, energy transition, an increasingly ageing society) without further research effort. This publication is but one small example of our efforts to explain and justify why and what we are doing in EU Research and why it is so important to us all.

I hope you find it interesting and enjoyable.

J.M. Silva Rodríguez
Director-General