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EC 6th Framework Programme

Connect, no. 124, May/June 2003, p.3

In recent years TWI and its Member companies have been increasingly involved in the EC supported R&D and Technology Transfer programmes.

The EC 6th Framework Programme (FP6) has recently been announced and has a budget of ?17.5 billion for 2003-2006. This represents 4-5% of the overall expenditure on R&D in EU Member States.

The main objective of FP6 is to create a European Research Area (ERA) by improving integration and co-ordination of research across Europe. It also aims to strengthen the European economy, to solve major societal issues and to formulate and implement other EU policies.

The R&D, innovation and exploitation activities to be supported by FP6 are specified in seven Priority Thematic Areas as follows:

  • Life sciences
  • Information society technologies
  • Nanotechnologies, function (ie advanced) materials and new production processes and devices
  • Aeronautics and space
  • Food quality and safety
  • Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems
  • Citizens and governance

A range of initiatives, supported by the EC at levels of 35-100% will be available to meet the above objectives, including the following:

Networks of Excellence (NoEs) which are intended to strengthen European scientific and technical excellence by integrating resources and expertise in a particular domain across Europe. This will involve a substantial degree of integration of research and information exchange by the participating institutions (university departments, research and technology organisations etc).

Integrated Projects (IPs) which will be large ( ?10-100 million, 3 year duration) objective driven, multi-partner R&D projects with ambitious goals.

Specific Targets Research Projects (STREPS) which will be similar to IPs but with reduced scope and size (similar to FP5 Growth projects).

Co-operative Research for Small and Medium Enterprises (CRAFT). These projects, of 1-2 year duration and ?2-5 million cost, will provide medium term R&D for groups of SMEs. The R&D is undertaken by research centres, universities and other organisations with relevant R&D capability.

Collective Research Projects will be similar to those of CRAFT except that, instead of providing R&D support for a number of individual SMEs, this support will be provided to industrial (trade) associations or sectoral groupings of SMEs.

More detailed information on the above may be obtained from the EC FP6 site at

TWI has been actively engaged in previous Framework Programmes and in 2002 was involved in 42 EU projects to a total value to TWI of £1.9 million. We are currently involved with partners in preparing proposals for the first Calls for Proposals for a number of the above programmes. Any Member company who wishes to collaborate with TWI on submissions should contact Peter Oakley or Adrian Duncan at TWI. E-mail: or


For more information please email: