Grand launch for EU research programme

Commission assembles great and good of research world to kick off €17.5bn funding round

The EU's latest four-year research funding programme was officially launched today at a celebratory conference in Brussels, described by the European Commission as the biggest ever event of its kind. Running from 2002-2006, the sixth framework programme (6FP) is worth nearly one-fifth more than its predecessor at €17.5bn and includes a €2.12bn budget line on sustainable development, global change and ecosystems.

The 6FP was politically agreed in the spring and formally published as a European parliament and council decision in June. During the negotiations MEPs won a series of changes to the text, including a specific reference to article 6 of the EU treaty which creates sustainable development as a basic objective of the union.

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