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CALM network brings groundbreaking workshop to Hungary

Over 80 participants, representing EU Member States, the Commission, and academic, research and business institutions, met to discuss noise research on 13 September 2006 in Budapest. The CALM initiative is the result of close collaborative efforts between EU Research and Environment Directorates.

Budapest tram © Peter Gutierrez
CALM comes to Budapest
© Peter Gutierrez

Noise is an important environmental issue for citizens around the world. Public surveys indicate noise is now considered as big a problem as global warming. The main contributor to environmental noise is transportation, particularly road traffic. Research is now a key weapon in the fight to reduce elevated sound levels and their effects.

“Environmental noise is a day-to-day problem for many Europeans,” says EU Project Officer Patrick Mercier-Handisyde. “Facing this problem requires political action as well as research and technological development. The CALM network is an important initiative now coordinating all noise research across the European Union, dealing with all transport modes and supporting EU noise policy.”

Getting together on noise reduction

The aims of the CALM workshop were to provide information, especially to the New Member States (NMSs), on current noise research in Europe, and to promote the involvement of NMS partners in the upcoming EU Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), scheduled to run from 2007-2013.

“We are here to let Hungary and the other New Member States know exactly what we are doing about environmental noise,” explained CALM coordinator Joseph Affenzeller of AVL List. “And for the rest of us, the more established Members States who are already well integrated in the European Research Area, this is an occasion to make first contact, to see what the NMSs have to offer and where we can establish new and fruitful collaborative ties.”

The event featured major presentations by high-level delegates on the following themes:

  • Research activities in the New Member States;
  • Developing research activities to support EU noise policy;
  • The Seventh framework Programme for RTD.

Special challenges

Miklos Szoboszlay
Miklos Szoboszlay

Delegates from the NMSs described the unique challenges they face in tackling environmental issues. Miklos Szoboszlay of Hungary’s Ministry of Economy and Transport described his country’s efforts to keep up with rising public expectations in the face of political upheaval. “We saw an enormous dip in the amount of research being carried out in our country after the political transformation of the end of the 1980s. Meanwhile, the number of vehicles on our roads and in our cities continued to increase constantly. We are now working our way back from that low point, enforcing new noise limits and restrictions that will bring us into line with the other Member States.“

Joseph Affenzeller
Joseph Affenzeller

Fueloep Augusztinovicz of Budapest University added key advice to would-be EU researchers. “You have to be at the cutting edge of something to participate in FP7,” he said. “Having good personal contacts is another factor, but your unique knowledge and your ability to contribute will ultimately make the difference. For the more established Member States,” he added, “the NMSs represent a still underexploited resource, with lots of fresh ideas and, let’s face it, a cheaper labour force.”

Affenzeller closed the meeting by thanking all the speakers and participants and encouraging everyone to “get together and network!”

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