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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research Special issue - July 2005   
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  The European union’s scientific and technological co-operation on-line
Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006)
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  • DG Research, International Scientific Cooperation Policy
  • ...
     

    The international role of research

    "Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world,” declared Louis Pasteur more than a century ago. In an age of the globalisation of knowledge, together with its applications and transmission through the information and communication technologies, this message of universalism rings truer than ever.

    The sharing of knowledge through scientific co-operation with the international community as a whole has been a feature of the European Union’s research policy from the outset. Over the years, it has been understood in a triple dimension. First, there has been the scientific and technological partnership with the developing world, based on the legacy of cultural affinities and responsibility for research and higher education inherited from the colonial past of certain Member States and subsequently extended to others, on the globalisations of problems as well as the presence of the EU in all of the regions of the world. A second key dimension came with the fall of the Berlin Wall and its effects both on central and eastern Europe, which culminated in Union accession, and the strengthening the scientific cooperation with the eastern European and central Asian countries. Finally, there has been the intensification of research links with various partners in the form of the bilateral co-operation agreements concluded during the 1990s.

    The Sixth Framework Programme put the emphasis on creating the European Research Area (ERA). As an affirmation of the greater role the Union has been determined to give to its scientific and technological capacity in an increasingly multipolar world, this new emphasis has shifted the focus away from specific programmes devoted to international co-operation and towards a greater spirit of openness enabling researchers from all over the world to work together without barriers.

    Mr András Siegler - Director, International Scientific Cooperation – Directorate General for Research, European Commission

    Mr András Siegler - Director, International Scientific Cooperation – Directorate General for Research, European Commission
    This new direction has created many rewards. It means a Europe that is more engaged in supporting researchers’ mobility schemes between the EU and third countries, thereby increasing its power of attraction as a universal pole and reference for science (1). The ERA is also designed to achieve coordination between the international scientific co-operation policies of each EU Member State. Finally, it supports European strategies at global level and in the framework of major international agreements – whether UN or otherwise – and especially in areas of external policy, such as development aid, world health, the global environment, and global water, energy and transport problems.

    In addition to the dynamic pursuit of bilateral agreements, this new approach is based on dialogue – or rather on any number of specific and differentiated dialogues – with groups of partners in various parts of the world to define concrete and targeted actions inspired by a shared vision.

    This special issue concentrates on the progress of the last and present framework programmes by presenting a summary of successfully concluded co-operation projects grouped according to some of the world’s principal regions.

    The timing of the publication provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of the role an active international scientific co-operation of the European Union could play. This comes at a time when the European Commission has a newly appointed Director for International Scientific Cooperation, Dr. András Siegler and the new framework programme is in the making. The newly designed international cooperation activity supported by the Seventh Framework Programme is creating a valuable instrument for Europe to become competitive and play a leading role at world level by achieving the Community’s goals in the global arena.

    (1) With systems of financial aid for foreign teams seeking to participate in European research and host fellowships and return grants for individual researchers to prevent brain drain from developing countries.

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    TO FIND OUT MORE

    The European union’s scientific and technological co-operation on-line
    Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006)
    Europa site


    INCO programme archives (International co-operation)
    Fifth Framework Programme (1998-2002)
    Fourth Framework Programme (1994-1998) Contact : INCO Information Desk

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