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Maintaining the momentum

The proposed action plan marks the beginning of a long process, the objective of which is to change the relationship between science and society. Many players are invited to participate: Member States, regions and cities, businesses, individual citizens, civil society as a whole, in particular NGOs, etc. Some of the planned activities will be more long term - e.g. in the field of education - while others, such as conferences, will be more ad hoc. In all cases, however, the resolution of the problems tackled at the Community level requires both a detailed knowledge of the European situation in all its diversity and a capacity to evaluate the impacts - and particularly the added value - of the action taken.

The action plan is based on a compendium of experience, facts and statistical data - which must be maintained and developed. With this in mind, and in order subsequently to update the plan, the Commission will produce an overview of "Science and society in the European Research Area"". This review of relations between science, technology, research and development activities and European society will be based on numerous information sources (follow-up reports, the European Statistical System and national statistical offices, studies by national and European polling organisations, data supplied by the network of national and technological observatories, comparative studies at European and international level, Community research and foresight exercises, etc.).

This overview will also provide the opportunity to assess the impact of individual actions and the plan as a whole. This assessment will require both regular surveys and the monitoring of existing indicators, as well as a long-term reflection inter alia on the adaptation of assessment methodologies to needs.

The overview and the assessment of the action plan will be presented jointly in 2004 at the "European Convention for Science".

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