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Issue Number 251, August 2004
Scientific and technical research
Target audience: Specialised/Technical

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IN THIS ISSUE
EU-funded marine drilling expedition offers PROMESS of increased climate k n o w l e d g e For over a decade now, scientists have been recovering deep ice core samples from polar regions in order to use them to gain a better understanding of the global climate conditions on Earth over the past million or so years page 3 Commission rejects Greens’ criticism of‘undemocratic’ GM authorisations The Commission has rejected concerns expressed by the Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament that the EU’s authorisation process for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is ‘incompatible with the democratic ideals that the Union seeks to promote’ page 5 Report shows high level of satisfaction with FP5 in Finland A new publication from the Finnish Secretariat for EU R&D (research and development) offers a summary of the country’s participation in the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5). It also outlines issues that Finnish researchers believe deserve more attention in the future, such as the assessment of the Framework Programmes’ societal impact page 6 Road transport advisory council presents vision for 2020 The European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) has published its vision of how road transport should look in 2020.‘Vision 2020 and Challenges’ represents a consensus on issues such as competitiveness and the protection of the environment, which are often regarded as incompatible page 15 UK report hails nanotechnology potential, but urges caution vis-à-vis nanoparticles A UK working group has completed its report on nanotechnology, concluding that it has great potential and poses few new risks. However, as much is still unknown about the effects of nanoparticles on human health and the environment, the report advocates caution and the classification of nanoparticles and nanotubes as new chemicals under UK and EU legislation page 18 Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Innovation: Policy and Practice . . . 8 Programme Implementation . . . . . . 9 Calls and Tenders . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 General Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Inside Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Miscellaneous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Other Items Online . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 CORDIS on the Web . . . . . . . . . . 28
B a s e d
ISSN 1022-6559
o n i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m C O R D I S N e w s a v a i l a b l e o n t h e W e b a tl u / n e w sh t t p : / / w w w . c o r d i s .
Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner proposes simplified Lisbon strategy Olli Rehn, the Finnish Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society who replaced Erkki Liikanen in early July, has said that a major overhaul is needed to get the Lisbon agenda back on track. Mr Rehn, who has also every level of European been nominated as the society, rather than just Finnish candidate for José another industrial sector. Barroso’s future Commis- He called on Europe to put sion, gave his view on the the industry’s turbulent EU’s competitiveness strat- past behind it, and focus on egy during two informal strengthening public committee hearings at the e-services such as e-learn-Olli Rehn newly elected European© European Community 2004ing and e-health. Parliament. A topic of keen interest to both commi ttees, He told MEPs in the Parliament’s Environment albeit from slightly different perspectives, was and Industry, Research and Energy Committees that of REACH, the EU’s proposed chemicals leg-that the EU should focus more on growth and islation package. Mr Rehn said he stands by the employment, while reducing the overall Commission’s draft Directive, describing it as number of indicators used to measure progress an example of better legislation in the EU. He under the strategy. said that an early consultation process had al-Mr Rehn also chided Member States, saying lowed the Commission to remove a lot of red that in major areas of the Lisbon strategy the tape, particularly for SMEs. EU institutions had acted swiftly, but that When some in the Environment Committee progress is being held back at national level. expressed fears that this streamlining of the He emphasised that protectionism is not the proposals had been achieved at a cost to the correct response to growing competition from environment and public health, Mr Rehn said Asia; rather, he believes the answer lies in re- that he did not believe that plans had been wa-search and innovation, and in cutting red tape tered down, and pledged to maintain a balance and bureaucracy for Europe’s small and me- between all three pillars of sustainable devel-dium sized enterprises (SMEs). opment - economic growth, environmental pro-The Commissioner called for confidence in the tection and social inclusion. Information Society, describing informationaBesdoninformationhtmorfeporuEeliarPantenam technology as an all-embracing challenge for98232CNR
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First EURYI awards will help turn brain drain to brain gain, say founders
The first recipients of the EuropeanYoungInvestigator (EURYI) awards were announced in Brussels on 29 July, providing 25 excellent young scientists with five year grants of up to1.25 million to establish their own research teams in Europe. The EURYI awards are a joint initiative of the At a press event to introduce the awards and lieves that the synergies between the two European Heads of Research Councils announce the winners, Professor Ernst-Ludwig awards may not end there: ‘I would not ex-(EUROHORCs) and the European Science Winnacker, chair of EUROHORCs and presi- clude the possibility that one of today’s EURYI Foundation (ESF), and have received the sup- dent of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, award winners could go on to win a Nobel port of the European Commission. Most sig- said:‘This is an important event for research in Prize - I obviously can’t make any promises, nificantly, the scheme represents the first time Europe and for the European Research Area but looking at the winners I’m left feeling very national research funding organisations have [ERA]. The ERA must include everybody - not excited for the future.’ pooled their resources in a common project just EU funding, but also funding from na- in at t based on open competition.tional research councils - and these awardstLhoaot ktheg  orgahnei sliesrts  opf riwnicninpleerss , oitf  ios paepnp acroemnt-The award en to sc are the most important example of that col-where in tsh a rwe oorlpd, and ini eanwtiasrtds ifnrgo mgr aanntys-,laboration to date.epfefteitcit,o fno ar nwd hsicliee cnotiufinct reixecs eslluecnhc ae s htahvee  UhKa da annd e no consideration is given to the principle of Professor Winnacker explained that the France hardly feature at all, Spain and the juste retour for national contributions or to awards were made primarily on the basis of Netherlands produced ten winners between specific deliverables that may result from the scientific excellence, but that other factors them. ‘Many countries that paid money into team’s research. The organisers believe that were also taken into account. ‘We wanted to the [5.2 million per year] fund will get no the scheme will help Europe to turn its brain see evidence of a good scientific track record, winners this year, but thankfully this hasn’t drain into brain gain. the potential of the individual to become a been a problem. Science isn’t the arena for world leader, the groundbreaking nature of nationalistic competition - we should leave the research, and its potential to improve Eu- that for Athens this summer,’ said Professor ropean research at a global level,’ he said. Andersson. Assessment of the 800 applications received Given the great emphasis placed on the awards publis ebdy:hopen to any researcher in the world,in two stages. First, on a na-was carried out   being the Office for Official Publications News asked Professor Winnacker CORDIStional level, the participating research coun-of the European Communities the fact that all but one of this year’scils reviewed those applicants who wished to whether MER 05/515their research teams in that country. winners is from Europe is due to its relativelyestablish L-2985 Luxembourg global profile at this early stage. ‘It’s true low‘National research councils are specialists in Fax: +352-4301-32084first time the awards have been this is the  thatassessing science proposals, and they put all E-mail: opoce-cordis-focus@cec.eu.int and they will take a few years to becomeof their expertise into the evaluation process,’ held, explained Professor Bertil Andersson, chief ex- fully established. But it is important to recog-CORDISfocus is also available at:ecutive of ESF. nise that while most of the winners originate http:B/a/swewdwo.cno irndfiso.rlum/faot icouns/en/ocdn ees ,htnasticplap0 13d teecles gnivaHfthm tureedrnas e ,diSU eh ,sug-omfrfo ynam ,eporuE pentve sm ha thesu troj ie nt mi stage of evaluation was carried out at Euro- ro f r o m C O R D I S N e w s gestinglevel by a panel of leading scientists, in-pean  that in this way, the EUYRI awards are availableon theWeb at:cluding Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt, executive already beginning to turn European brain drain  http://www.cordis.lu/news brain gain.director of the European Molecular Biology into Organisation (EMBO) Frank Gannon, and di A ceremony will be held at the Euroscience -rector general of the European Southern Ob- Open Forum in Stockholm, Sweden, this Au-servatory Catherine Cesarski. ‘We want the gust to present the winning scientists and their best scientists to win the awards, so we need research to a wider audience. This will help to the best scientists to judge them,’ said Profes- gain worldwide recognition for the awards. sor Andersson. ‘These EURYI awards are going to be a suc-As a result of this process, the first group of 25cWeisnsn astcokrery  c-o Incmlu dseurd.e of that, Professor CORDISfoscu is published every twoEURYI award winners has been identified, with weeks by the Office for Officialeach individual receiving a grant of up to1.25nformation, pleaesv sitih:tt:p//Ff rohtrui reion=sectf.esw.wwf_esg/orpcireneg?php.ega Publications of the Europeanover the coming five years to build amillion 8&language=0&genericpage=1879 Communities as part of the Europeanteam and further their research. The organis-UEaIYRecnatasattendRDISNewdeonOCBsa C ommuni t y ’s S R i x t h e s e a rchers point out that this is comparable in size tontpssrevee F r a m e w o r kP r o gr a m m e ,a n dp r es e n t sthe Nobel Prize, and Professor Andersson be-RC22N935 the latest news on European Union research and innovation and relatedNote to readers:Please be aware that there will be a short break before the next p r o g r a m m e s a n d p o l i c i e s .newsletter, which will be issued at the end of the holiday period.edition of the
CORDIS FOCUS - NUMBER 251
9 AUGUST 2004