The Sixth Framework Programme covers Community activities in the field of research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) for the period 2002 to 2006.
It is a collection of the actions at EU level to fund and promote research.
Research and technological development are among the main driving forces for economic growth, social progress and business competitiveness, contributing to employment and a better quality of life. However, Europe still has structural weaknesses which the EU's Framework Programme aims to address:
- Insufficient and dispersed investment;
- Insufficient human resources in research;
- Limited capacity to translate scientific breakthroughs into innovation and competitive products and services; and
- Fragmentation of research policies in Europe.
This programme aims at promoting world class research in key priority areas as identified in the 6th framework programme (2002-2006) and to furthering the integration of research in Europe. To achieve this, the programme focuses action in priority thematic research areas and promotes the networking and joint action of national and European frameworks for research and innovation and the opening up of national research programmes.
The main focus of FP6 is the creation of a European Research Area as a vision for the future of research in Europe. It aims at scientific excellence, improved competitiveness and innovation through the promotion of increased co-operation, greater complementarity and improved co-ordination between relevant actors, at all levels.
Based on the Treaty establishing the European Union, the Framework Programme has to serve two main strategic objectives:
- Strengthening the scientific and technological bases of industry; and
- Encouraging its international competitiveness while promoting research activities in support of other EU policies.
These two objectives set the general scene for choosing priorities and instruments.
The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) is the Union's main instrument for the funding of research in Europe. Proposed by the Commission and adopted by the Council and Parliament in co-decision, it is open to all public and private entities, large or small. FP6 is made up of three main blocks of activities grouped in two specific programmes plus a third specific programme on nuclear research.
Out of the 7 priority thematic areas, 3 are of particular interest to transport related research:
- Information society technologies: Contributing to European policy for the knowledge society and the e-Europe Action Plan, including medium and long-term RTD on the future generation of technologies and their integration into everyday life.
The research priorities will be:
- Applied IST research addressing major societal and economic challenges;
- Communication and computing and software technologies;
- Components and microsystems;
- Knowledge and interface technologies;
- IST future and emerging technologies.
- Aeronautics and space: Consolidating and concentrating research efforts to implement the European Strategy for Space. In aeronautics, the main emphasis lies on strengthening competitiveness by reducing development and operating costs, reducing emissions and noise and improving safety. The priorities for space research are the Galileo navigation system and satellite-based information services and communications.
- Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems: Strengthening the scientific and technological capacities to implement a sustainable development model based on a social, an economic and an environmental dimension. Special emphasis is put on sustainable energy systems, sustainable transport and broader global issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and desertification.
The overall FP6 budget covering the four-year period 2003-2006 is EUR 17.5 billion, representing an increase of 17% from the Fifth Framework Programme and making up 3.9% of the Union's total budget (2001), and 6% of the Union's public (civilian) research budget. There are no national quotas for FP6 funds.
Seven key areas for the advancement of knowledge and technological progress have been chosen:
- genomics and biotechnology for health;
- information society technologies;
- nanotechnologies and nanosciences;
- aeronautics and space;
- food safety;
- sustainable development; and
- economic and social sciences.
The funding for this programme is 14682 million euros.