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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-05-30

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    European Commissioner on Science and Research Janez Potocnik said that Cyprus` challenge within the EU`s 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7) is to beat the record of 30 million euro funding in 188 projects during FP6.

    In a speech on ``FP7 - A new approach to European research`` at an event in Nicosia, organised by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, Potocnik said research in Cyprus has been moving up the political agenda and that Cyprus has been making great efforts to catch up, with research spending as a percentage of GDP doubling in the past five years.

    Potocnik said FP7 is part of the freedom of knowledge, noting that freedom of knowledge goes well beyond research programmes and that research and knowledge are now central components of Europe.

    He said free knowledge is important because ``we will live in a different Europe without it`` and that ``our standards of living, our lifestyles, our health, our choices depend on us being one of the leading parts of the world economy.``

    ``Let us remember that the EU is the largest trading bloc in the world. The key trade now is in knowledge,`` he added.

    Referring to the EU Framework Programmes, Potocnik said ``it is estimated that each Framework Programme euro leads to a mid to long-term return of 4 to 7 euros, and FP7 is the largest transnational publicly funded research programme in the world.``

    ``The Framework programme is also a leading example of European cooperation. In FP6 we received over 50,000 applications in more than 200 calls for proposals, with over 360,000 participations from around the EU, wider Europe and the world. And already, with FP7 just a few months old, 42 calls are open worth over 4 billion euro. Around 30,000 proposals are expected,`` he pointed out.

    Potocnik explained that FP7 is a new type of Framework Programme, having a higher budget than previous programmes, of 54 billion euro, lasting longer, seven years rather than four, having a more business and risk-friendly approach, leading to real innovation, and introducing major new instruments, such as the European Research Council, which provide more freedom to researchers.

    He said the four main programmes in FP7 are Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities, with Cooperation accounting for 60% of budget and focusing on 10 strategic areas, such as ICTs, energy, health and transport.

    The Ideas programme offers a new remedy for old problems, the People programme is all about improving conditions for researchers, and the Capacities programme focuses on providing infrastructures and facilities that single nations could not achieve.

    ``In FP7, we want to see more SMEs take part in research themes specially dedicated to their areas of interest. We have increased research funding available to them, to up to 75%. And we have introduced a new guarantee fund, which will help many SMEs who previously found providing financial guarantees difficult,`` he said and expressed hope that ``the changes we have made will ensure a healthy Cypriot participation in FP7.``

    ``Your record to beat is the 30 million euro funding in 188 projects during FP6,`` he said and pointed out that it is much easier to participate in FP7, with less reporting and auditing, a single help desk and clearer documentation.

    Potocnik said he was pleased to see that research in Cyprus has been moving up the political agenda. ``Cyprus is making great efforts to catch up. Research spending as a percentage of GDP has doubled in the last five years. And this rate of increase, for both public and private financing, is far above the EU average,`` he added.

    ``Freeing knowledge completely requires effort from everyone,`` he concluded, adding that the on-line public consultation opened by the Commission will lead to concrete proposals, probably next year.


    Leaders and representatives of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot political parties had their regular meeting under the auspices of the Slovak embassy in Cyprus, during which they exchanged views ``on the issue of a Common Assembly for the reunification of Cyprus``.

    A joint press release issued after the meeting says ``they debated on the basic ideas of the proposal and suggested that the issue remains on the agenda``.

    The next regular meeting of the leaders and the representatives of political parties from both sides will be held on the 25th of June 2007 at 10.30 a.m.

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