Cresson declares open-season for fund hunters as EU launches Fifth Framework Program(December 1998)

EU Commissioner for Research Edith Cresson hasannounced the start of the Fifth Framework Program, the main vehicle for direct EU fundingof R&D. The first calls for proposals will be issued in February and March 1999.

EU funding, while not exactly a mainstay in upstream R&D has contributed to quite a few successful projects – not least the Open Spirit initiative. The announcement of the Fifth Framework Program heralds the arrival of a new tranche (a very euro-word!) of funding for European researchers. Commissioner Cresson claimed that there will be "a different spirit" about the new program with greater concentration on selected priorities. The new budget of 15 billion Euros (around $17.5 billion) represents a increase of 4.6% over the Fourth Framework Program. The Member States at the Council have reached agreement on the content Fifth Framework Program.

Call for experts

The Commission intends the new program to get under way quickly. Members have been identified for the new Expert Advisory Groups required by legislation. A call has been issued seeking experts to sit on the assessment panels which compare competing bids for funding. Documentation describing the new program for the research community is being prepared and will be available early in 1999. A conference to launch the program has been scheduled for February in Essen, Germany. With the help of national agencies, a ‘wave’ of information days explaining subsections of the program to local audiences will follow all over Europe. The first call for proposals inviting researchers to submit bids for funding is likely in mid-February. The biggest single budget line is for the Essential Technologies and Infrastructures key action in the Information Society program which has been allocated 1,363 million Euro.

Out to lunch?

While it is a little off-topic for PDM, the Commissioners were said to have discussed ethical issues in research, particularly cloning and the use of human embryos, ‘over lunch’! The subject areas for the 5th Framework program do not appear to offer particularly rich pickings for E&P, but since many upstream software companies may well be looking outside of the oil business for their next projects we offer the following topics as possible long-shots for E&P derived expertise.

User-Friendly Information Society

Competitive and Sustainable Growth

Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development

Promotion of Innovation

Encouraging SME participation

Joint Innovation/SME activities

More on the Fifth Framework program from the EU’s website on

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