Competitiveness Council further strengthens research in the EU

By Redazione

The Competitiveness Council of the European Union on 23 November paved the way for establishing four Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs), agreeing to provide ?7.6 billion in funding for the
public-private partnerships. In addition, the council made further headway regarding the realisation of the European Institute of Technology (EIT).

The four JTIs, scheduled to last for ten years, include the initiatives for embedded systems technologies (ARTEMIS), nano-electronic technologies (ENIAC), innovative medicines (IMI) and
European aeronautics (CLEAN SKY). They will be the first schemes to use the instrument of public-private partnerships provided for in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Ministers also welcomed the progress made in the co-decision process by the European Parliament and the Council in the examination of the Commission proposal for the setting up of the EIT. The
EU research ministers agreed that the institute should have a governing body, a director and an executive committee. However, it should not be established as a new institute as such, but rather
network and pool resources from existing universities and research institutes across Europe. The research shall initially be focused on energy, climate change and information technology. The
agreement forms the basis for a second reading in the Parliament, after which the EIT should be up and running sometime in 2008. This also opens up the way for the first Knowledge and
Innovation Communities (KICs).

Furthermore, the council settled on a joint programme which aims to improve quality of life for the elderly. Between 2007 and 2013, the European Commission and EU member states will invest ?300
million in the Ambient Assisted Living scheme – provided that the European Parliament gives its consent. The programme is intended to fund projects developing intelligent products and services
that allow elderly people to live independently for as long as possible.

Further subjects highlighted by the council include: the need to facilitate researcher mobility and establish a more extensive exchange of researchers between Europe and the USA; optimising the
use of public resources for research and development and international cooperation as well as providing easier access to scientific research in order to help spread innovation more quickly
across the 27 Member States.

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