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Sixth framework program

Leading the pack

The news is good for CNRS' Office of European and International Relations (DREI) and its Brussels office. A little more than a year before the end of the Sixth Framework Program (FP6), initiated in November 2002, the tally of CNRS' participation is high: almost 33.5% of the 2058 projects involving

Not only is 33.5% a very satisfying success rate,” explains Jean-Luc Clément, director of the DREI at CNRS, “but it is also noteworthy that of the 689 selected projects involving CNRS, about 25%, or 173, have CNRS as the coordinator, which amounts to a 37.5% success rate. And being selected as the coordinator is a very important recognition of one's scientific merit.”
 Clément specifies that of those 173 CNRS-coordinated projects, 16 are Networks of Excellence (NoE, see box) within the FP6. Out of 446 NoE proposals involving CNRS, 116 were selected. This makes CNRS first in Europe for both the number of projects selected and  financial support, before German Fraunhofers, the German MPG, the Spanish CSIC and the French CEA.
 “NoE bring to participating researchers a great legitimacy and scientific status at both European and international levels. One example is the Marine Genomics Europe NoE overseen by the CNRS biological station at Roscoff;(1) or the important Sinano project in the field of information technology and nanotechnology, which oversees 45 partners, including ST Microelectronics,(2) and has e10 million of funding.” CNRS also oversees eight integrated projects (IP, see box), and is a participant in 137 selected IPs among 467 proposals in which it was involved.
“Another important CNRS achievement involves setting up shared large scientific infrastructures,” says Clément. “In this respect, our success rate is 84.6%!” These impressive results stem from CNRS' intense policy of mobilization and preparation of its researchers for FP6, encouraging them to put together successful projects.

European research on the move

The total FP6 funding for projects involving CNRS has reached €183 million. “The framework program represents only 4% of European research efforts,” says Clément, “but its objective is not to finance research. Up to 40% of research funding comes from research organizations from the member states (CNRS, MPG, CSIC, CEA...). The true objective is to create a lever effect to Europeanize research and build the European Research Area (ERA), a resource pool for science.”
 This lever effect seems to be effective, since the 25-member European Union, which counts as many researchers as the United States, has surpassed the latter in number of publications. “In 1990, the European Union originated 30% of the world's scientific publications,” says Clément. “In 1996, Europe and the United States were neck in neck. By 2000, it had overtaken the United States, with over 33% of the world's publications, compared to less than 30% for the US.”
 Thanks in part to the involvement of CNRS and other French scientific organizations in FP6, France now has the most impressive success rate in Europe, right behind Belgium. In terms of financing from the European Union, France also comes in second position with 14.5%, behind Germany (22%), but ahead of Great Britain (14.4%). This bodes well for FP7.

Bruno de La Perrière


Information on the DREI website (in French)

Information on EU sites:



Adopted by the European Parliament on June 27, 2002, FP6 has been operational since November 2002 and will be terminated in late 2006. FP7 will then take over, in 2007. FP6's overall budget is e17.5 billion. Its much stated goal is to build a European Research Area (ERA), by promoting cooperation and coordination between the best research organizations in the major fields of science and technology. But there is another objective on the horizon: making the European Union world leader in science by 2010.

FP6 has 7 priority thematic areas of research:
1. Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health
2. Information society technologies
3. Nanotechnologies and nanosciences,
knowledge-based functional materials, new production processes and devices
4. Aeronautics and Space
5. Food quality and safety
6. Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems
7. Citizens and governance in a knowledge-based society

FP6 has 2 new instruments for implementing their projects:
' Networks of Excellence (NoE): focused on fundamental research, they allow the integration of activities and teams to structure scientific cooperation at the highest international level.
' Integrated projects (IP): designed to lead to concrete technological applications and open
to industrialists.


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