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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research N° 45 - May 2005   
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 TABLE OF CONTENTS
 EDITORIAL
 The logic of the ‘leap forward’
 Profile of the Seventh Framework Programme
 Eastern outpost of the European Research Area
 The agricultural tradition
 Birth of Europe-backed research
 Out of Africa
 Campylobacteria under the microscope
 When distant worlds meet
 Coping with life on the outside
 Researchers take centre stage
 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE
 IN BRIEF
 PUBLICATIONS
 AGENDA
 OPINION
 LETTERS
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EDITORIAL Printable version


Reawakening or rebirth?

Contrary to the well-known saying, history does quite often repeat itself. Surely research today is a case in point, as Europe as a whole is apparently rediscovering its importance? Apart from this new European paradox, sociologists will see this as a perfectly normal development: by living continually in the presence of science we have come to lose sight of it; by encountering technology wherever we turn we have almost come to forget about it. Swept along by progress, our awareness of it has become dulled. It is time to wake up! 

European research currently has the wind in its sails. Aided by favourable political trends, it is taking up a position as a major area of EU policy. Perhaps this is simply the natural culmination of a historical trend, during which research has accompanied and even stimulated each key stage in European integration (ECSC, Euratom, EEC, enlargement). But it is an accelerating trend. After the European Research Area (2000) and the “3% objective” (2001), research has now been identified as a major pillar in the “triangle of knowledge” (Lisbon). Logically, this has caused the Commission to propose a doubling of the Union research budget from 2007 (see The logic of the ‘leap forward’ and Profile of the Seventh Framework Programme). The draft Constitution, currently at the heart of intense political debate, also places considerable stress on research (see Research in the draft EU Constitution). 

So is it a reawakening or rebirth? Following or due to the “dematerialisation” of the economy, in these early years of the 21st century, it is knowledge that is becoming the raw material for European industry. Research, education and innovation are the foundations of our future competitiveness. The textile dossier  in this issue is just one of many illustrations of this. Central to our long tradition of science and technology, knowledge and know-how are Europe’s strengths. They must now become its wealth, too.  

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