Today is the future!

The 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, on 25 March this year, was an opportunity to remind people that Community research is also celebrating its half-century, and to measure the extent of progress made since the initial research devoted to coal and steel (ECSC treaty) and nuclear energy (Euratom treaty).

To state this more clearly: the 7th Framework Programme, which has been operational since 22 December 2006, is the most ambitious research programme in the world. Thanks to its structure and implementation, it provides innovation on many levels. Schemes like Marie Curie, ERA-NET and the European Research Council have been successfully carried out. The contribution made by the programme to the improvement of quality of life and economic growth is documented in its official records, which form an invaluable asset. The large increase in its budget, almost doubled, in terms of ‘cruising speed’ and on an annual basis, with regard to the previous programme, is, moreover, a strong political gesture in favour of research and its importance both today and in the future.

That is not all: the Commission has just provided fresh momentum to the creation of a campaign for the European Research Area. This is an important step towards the realisation of a genuine European policy, or possibly the start, (further to the need for an increase in Europeanisation), of a common research policy. History is being written today.