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Janez POTOCNIK
Member o Luropean Commission




Address at


Crossing Borders-Research Funding in the Heart o
Lurope"

Conerence organised by the Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschat

Luropean Parliament 28 February 200S











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Proi.Vinnacker,
Proi. Niebler,
lonourable Members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

!hank you ior inviting me. It is both an honour and privilege that I
can address you today, and I see it as another prooi oi our iruitiul
cooperation. !his cooperation has been very valuable ior me, as
well as ior the colleagues in my services. !he DlG is the largest
research council oi this type in Lurope and one oi the major
iunding agencies ior basic research in the world. I wish to thank
you in particular ior your strong support to the creation oi the
Luropean Research touncil. I trust that I can continue to count on
your expertise and determination in pursuing this ambitious and
indispensable goal. I should say at this stage that the tommission
is also thankiul and iortunate to be able to count on the
continuous support oi the Luropean leads oi Research touncils
LUROlORts, in developing the concept oi an LRt.
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Allow me to use this opportunity to tell you more about the
proposal we are preparing ior the next lramework programme and
what we wish to achieve with it.

But beiore I say how, I think it is appropriate iirst to say why.

!he discussion on
th
lramework programme is important not just
ior research. It is a debate about nothing less than Lurope`s
credibility to reach the Lisbon objectives, a debate which is taking
place at a crucial point oi time, only several weeks beiore Lurope
will hopeiully agree on its iinancial means ior the next decade. !he
discussion about the new iinancial perspectives is the moment oi
truth and the question oi suiiicient iunding ior Luropean research
is an essential part oi it.

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Vhy- As Proiessor Vinnacker has already stated today - and I
warmly thank him ior his words oi support - because research is
about knowledge and knowledge is a truly Luropean strength in
global competition.

Let me explain:

Some oi our trading partners are competing with primary
resources, which we do not have. Some compete with cheap
labour, which we do not want. Some compete on the back oi their
environment, which we cannot accept. !he only way ior Lurope
and Luropean enterprises to build sustainable leadership is to iully
exploit the knowledge triangle: the creation, transmission and use
oi knowledge, through research, education and training and
innovation.
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My strong conviction is that we will achieve competitiveness and
leadership ior Luropean enterprises on global markets, only ii we
rapidly put Lurope in the lead as an economy and a society oi
knowledge. Ve are strong in knowledge. But we can become much
stronger still: ii we pool our eiiorts in an intelligent way, ii we give
iull emphasis to excellence, and ii we use the iull research potential
throughout the LU, old, new and iuture. And this is what I want
the iuture research programme to stand ior.

Knowledge does not only make business more competitive: it also
brings continuous progress to society. Progress in iields such as
health, preservation oi the environment, sustainable energy supply,
rests largely on the progress oi knowledge.

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In this context oi knowledge ior growth, the th lramework
Programme, which we are iinalising in these days, will be a key
component.

My idea ior it is to give a more poweriul instrument to leverage
knowledge ior growth, with more ilexible, simple and easily
applicable procedures. !he lP needs to be the Programme oi the
Growth ior Jobs strategy.
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Let me now turn to how.

!he duration oi the programme will be years as is the case oi the
next iinancial perspective. !his allows us more stability but also
ilexibility. Both are needed.

As you know, we have proposed doubling the annual budget.
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!he doubling oi iunds is necessary in order to show our
commitment towards the implementation oi the renewed Lisbon
agenda and to the Barcelona 3 target on R&D spending. In
addition to this, doubling is necessary because oi the new activities
that will be proposed, such as Luropean Research touncil or the
Luropean technology initiatives, to name just a iew oi them. Ve
need doubling to be able to implement these activities without
prejudice to the existing ones which will continue also in the
iuture. An additional reason ior doubling is the oversubscription in
some areas which iorces us to reject a number oi excellent
proposals just because we lack iinancial resources. And iinally, we
should not iorget that the cost oi research itseli is also growing.
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As regards the structure, there will be more emphasis on themes
and less on instruments. tooperation projects, iormer
collaborative research, will be more iocused on industry needs and
thereiore growth supportive. !here would be a strong part on
ideas with actions concerning irontier research and LRt. I will
get back to this later on. !he people part oi the lP will
strengthen the existing mobility actions under Marie turie and the
capacities part will deal with the issues oi inirastructures, SMLs,
regions, research potential, science and society and international
cooperation.
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In order to provide ior smooth implementation oi the programme,
an important simpliiication and rationalisation will have to be
provided throughout the legislative part as well as in the liie-cycle
oi the projects. I am aware that this will be one oi the most
diiiicult tasks but it is worth we do our best to achieve progress in
this iield.

As regards the management oi the iunds that are to double, this
will oi course also be a major challenge. But with simpliiication and
rationalisation on one hand and modernised management as well as
externalisation oi some oi the activities, such as LRt, SMLs and
the mobility actions, we will do everything to cope with this
challenge.

!he links to other programmes that will also implement the
renewed Lisbon agenda are essential. !his concerns in particular
the tompetitiveness and Innovation Programme and the structural
iunds operations. Only through synergies between all these
programmes can we achieve a coherent iramework ior an eiiective
implementation oi the renewed Lisbon strategy.
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linally, just a iew words on the component which is very
important ior you.

It has become increasingly obvious that we need to support the
best researchers with the most exciting ideas with a mechanism at
Luropean level. Ii we want to unlock the potential oi big ideas we
must support to investigator-driven research. As you know, we
currently do not have such a mechanism at Luropean level,
although it recently became widely accepted that we need it. Ve
need it ii we want to introduce ilexibility in reactions to new
developments in various iields oi research. Ve need it to introduce
competition at Luropean level, which will in turn reiniorce
Luropean research and thus also our knowledge base.
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!his is to be accomplished with creation oi the Luropean
Research touncil LRt,. I can coniirm that our proposal will take
into account the main principles listed by Proiessor Vinnacker.
Perhaps I should try to underline two iundamental principles ior
which I intend to iight ior vigorously - autonomy and scientiiic
excellence. Regardless oi the constraint that current legal
iramework might place on us in our concrete proposal ior its
structure, I wish to assure you oi my determination to guarantee
the autonomy. In turn, autonomy will be best guarantor ior
scientiiic excellence ior being sole criterion ior selection oi
proposed projects.

I have to admit to you - I am getting very excited about the LRt.
It may well prove to become not only a mechanism ior attracting
and supporting the very best researchers to Lurope and
strengthening our knowledge base but also one oi most important
tools in our quest ior global competitiveness.
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Let me conclude by saying that I intend to do my best to
implement the vision I have just described - because I believe it is
the right one. I am asking ior your support and I trust I will receive
it.


!hank you very much.