This action plan is presented at the request of the
Research Council of 26 June 2001. It is part of the
process of creating a real European Research Area
a European Research Area", COM(2000)6, 18.01.2000),
launched by the European Commission in January 2000.
It is a follow-up to the Commission staff working
paper "Science, society and the citizen in Europe"
(SEC(2000)1973, 14.11.2000), which in November 2000
set the basis for the debate on the relationship of
science and technology with society and Europe's citizens.
Its aim is to support the strategic goal set by the
European Union in Lisbon: to become, by 2010, the
most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy
in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth
with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.
The plan seeks to contribute significantly to implementing
the White Paper on European Governance ("European
governance: a White Paper", COM(2001)428,
25.07.2001), adopted by the Commission on 25 July
2001. It draws, moreover, on the reflections emanating
from preparatory hearings and seminars (See in particular
the report of the interservices working group "Democratising
expertise and establishing European scientific reference systems"),
in particular the "Science and Governance" conference
held in October 2000. In addition, it seeks to support
and intensify the political process instituted in
1999 to enhance the participation and role of women
in research (Commission Communication: "Women and
science: mobilising women to enrich European research",
COM(99)76, final, Council
Resolution of 20 May 1999, OJ C 201, 16.07.1999,
European Parliament Resolution of 3 February 2000
(PE 284.656), Commission staff working paper: "Women
and science, the gender dimension as a leverage for
reforming science", 15 May 2001, SEC(2001)771).
This plan takes into consideration the opinion of
the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee
and the Committee of the Regions on the European Research
Area, together with the opinion of the Economic and
Social Committee and the CREST report on the Commission
staff working paper referred to previously. The discussions
on education, science and society which took place
in Uppsala on 2 March 2001 during an informal meeting
of the Education and Research Ministers (Joint DG
RTD and EAC Commission staff working paper "Science,
education and research: Towards a knowledge-based
society", in preparation for the informal meeting
of research and education ministers on 2 and 3 March
2001 in Uppsala) have also been taken into account.
Finally, the debates initiated in the context of
the action plan "eLearning
- Designing tomorrow's education" will be taken into
account with a view to enhancing the contribution
of information and communication technologies to science
education and - more generally - to creating the foundations
for active citizenship, so that it is society itself
that governs which scientific choices are made and
controls their impact.