European science 'heavyweights' offer their help in the development of the knowledge-based economy
Brussels, April 20, 2005 – Today Europe's seven major intergovernmental research organisations, working together in the EIROforum partnership, presented their comprehensive paper on science policy, "Towards a Europe of Knowledge and Innovation", in the presence of the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Mr. Janez Potočnik and the Luxembourg Minister for Culture, Higher Education, Employment and Research, Mr. François Biltgen. Luxembourg currently holds the presidency of the European Union.
Five years ago, at the meeting of the European Council in Lisbon, the creation of a European Research Area (ERA) was proposed as a means to achieve the ambitious targets necessary to develop a leading, knowledge-based economy in Europe. The ERA intends to make a single market for European research, bringing together scientists from all member states. The EIROforum partners operate some of the largest research infrastructures in the world, possess unique and long-standing expertise in the organisation of pan-European research, bring expert knowledge to discussions about new large facilities in Europe, provide a model for the ERA, and offer their experience and active engagement in creating a true European Research Area.
The EIROforum paper on science policy describes their collective vision on the future of European scientific research in order to support the Lisbon Process by working, alongside the Commission, for the implementation of the European Research Area. In combination with the individual success and expertise of each of the EIROforum partners, this provides a strong boost to European Research and thus to the Lisbon Goals of developing a knowledge-based economy.
"As the borders of the European Union expand there is a fundamental role for the EIROforum partnership to work with the institutions of the European Union in the evolving environment", emphasizes Jean-Jacques Dordain, the Director General of ESA. ESA currently chairs EIROforum.
The EIROforum partners, through their paper on science policy, support the creation of a climate in Europe in which competitive research is undertaken in an efficient, cost-effective and successful manner. The Paper presents many concrete ways in which EIROforum organisations can effectively participate in the consolidation of the ERA.
One of the main challenges for society in the years to come is to build a sound recruitment base for jobs and careers in science and technology. Attracting more young people is vital for the future of European research, and the EIROforum paper on science policy offers a series of actions to stimulate the interest of young people in science. These include improving the visibility of European science in the media, creating a 'Partnership for Science Education', continuing with their successful "Science on Stage" annual festival and participating in the European Contest for Young Scientists, organised by the European Commission.
The EIROforum paper on science policy subscribes to the European Commission strategy to recruit and retain world-leading scientists in Europe. This strategy should be supported by a European Research Council (ERC) acting as an autonomous, science-driven agency endowed with sufficient funds to ensure European research is competitive at a global level. The international character of the seven EIROforum partners makes them ideal to function as scientific, technological and cultural bridges between Europe and other regions of the world.
The EIROforum partners could also join European industry in technology platforms or large integrated projects that would enable the development of new scientific instrumentation, an area that needs European suppliers to secure and promote front-line research on our continent and generate important industrial spin-offs.
EIROforum is a partnership created in 2002 between seven of Europe's major intergovernmental research organisations. These organisations represent excellence in European science and operate some of the largest research infrastructures in the world, enabling European scientists to engage in truly cutting-edge research and be competitive on a global scale. The first European intergovernmental collaboration in science began as long as 50 years ago, when CERN was formed, while just a few years later, ESO was created. The combined budget from the seven EIROforum Partners is comparable to that of the current Framework Programme of the European Union. Each of the organisations has become a world leader establishing a 'European Research Area' within its own field of science, thereby demonstrating the value and feasibility of pan-European collaboration in research.
"The EIROforum organisations are a symbol of the new Europe; they present visible proof that Europe and Europeans working together can achieve more than any individual national effort", asserts Jean-Jacques Dordain.
For more information on the EIROforum paper on science policy, "Towards a Europe of Knowledge and Innovation", please contact:
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For information on EIROforum, visit the dedicated web-site. For more detailed information on the individual EIROforum organisations, please contact the relevant press officer: