Position paper of the Greek government concerning the 5th Community Research Framework Programme
The general areas of the Fifth Framework Programme may be structured arround similar broad directions as in the FP4, perhaps by being somewhat more grouped, while also allowing for some new directions and shaping of the specific areas within, on the basis of state- of - the - art conditions and developments within the needs of society.
One may therefore consider the main acitivities of the FP5 to be directed toward the following areas :
In addition there are horizontal (or vertical) actions playing an increasingly important role in Community research activities, which cut across all of the above areas described as follows :
We may therefore draw a matrix to show the overall structural form of these activities :
According to this matrix scheme the acitivity of each Area, such as Networks, Life Sciences, Energy, Environment and Industrial Technologies is directed to different actions such as Technology Development & Demonstration, Innovation & Technical Assistance to SME's, International Cooperation and Basic Research, Training & Mobility, thus allowing for meaningful cross-linking among these different actions, for example between Training & Mobility and International Cooperation.
Similarly, each Action has a particular aim, its own coherence and direction but is distributed along the different technical areas according to the demand steming from them, again allowing suitable cross-linking between the different areas.The particularly new elements of this formulation of the FP5 are 1) its matrix form and 2) the emphasis on innovation and exploitation of research and technology development results under Action II, providing appropriate technical and financial support to SME's. In fact, if we consider that the Community research structure is in relatively good shape but that there is lack of positive economic impact from research results, it becomes apparent that considerable effort should be directed towards the formulation of Action II for Innovation, while always maintaining, however, open procedures.
This task will require a considerable effort which by necessity should also involve other DGs and other Community instruments such as, inter alia, the European Investment Bank. Even new structures and entities such as risk and venture capital bodies could be developed by combining private and public investments and by transparent mechanisms to allocate funds for promising undertakings. The idea of a European stock market mechanism for financing "leading edge" technology ventures could also be considered.Some possibilities for implementing these schemes could involve the same open call procedures used in the present Framework Programme.In this way, technological developments that are considered, by their initiators, sufficiently mature to enter the market should be given the opportunity to submit a well documented application to a body for investment financing, part of which may be supported by public funds or supported through relevant incentives.
This application should be evaluated by specialists in the area, representatives of users and bank officials and if viewed as having good prospects as opposed to risks, will be financed by a combination of funds through a relevant contract specifying the applicable rules and conditions. The financing body should participate in the risks and profits of the enterprise (i.e. by owning stock), so that from successful efforts it will generate a means to fund new endeavours, thus recycling its original capital. Within these activities concentration in specific priority areas may occur involving suitable collaborations and meaningful synergies among the different specific technological subject areas, on topics close to industrial exploitation for useful application to society, on the basis of relevant enterpreneurial interests and prospects. It should be pointed out, however, that Article 130 f of the Treaty calls for support of research activities in the precompetitive field. Accordingly, initiatives aimed at developing industrial activities based on innovation should be considered as an interface of research and economic measures and may have to be covered by appropriate legislation.
In addition to those aspects, there is also another dimension which is inherent in the different areas of community research which characterises the nature of the different activities as long term basic research, medium term applications oriented research and short term closer to the market demonstration activities.In the present structure of the FP4 only one or two specific programmes have distinct demonstration activities, the rest are conducting demonstration projects in an ad hoc way on the basis of suitable proposals received in their main core.This subject possibly warrants a more in depth analysis in order to assess the role of demonstration activities in the Community research programme and how these should be linked to innovation.In the international effort more emphasis should be given to Mediterranean collaborations and the inclusion of research and technology activities in the MEDA programme.Click here to view the previous section of the Position paper
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Last Updated: 21-02-1997