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Joint research programming to help maximize use of resources

The European Union’s member states should set up partnerships in a number of key research areas of common interest in order to ensure more efficient use of available resources, to avoid duplication of scientific activities, and to find solutions to major challenges, says a new communication by the Commission - ‘Towards joint programming in research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively’ – adopted on 16 July.

85% of public research funds in Europe come from programmes which are designed and implemented nationally. Currently, there is little collaboration between these national research programmes. The first Joint Programming Initiatives should be launched by 2010. Membership of the initiatives will be entirely voluntary, and the emphasis will be on pooling public research funds (unlike the Joint Technology Initiatives, which combine public and private research funds). The European Commission's role in all of this will be that of facilitator, although EU funds may be made available to certain initiatives depending on their added value and European dimension.

The Joint Programming scheme is one of five ‘steps’ towards the building of the European Research Area (ERA). The others concern the management of intellectual property by public research organisations; research mobility and research careers; and international science and technology cooperation. A proposal for a regulation on the creation of common European research infrastructures, fourth of the five steps, was also adopted by the Commission on 16 July.

Communication on joint programming
Proposal on common infrastructures