European Portal of National Heritage Organisations

EU Research and Technology Opportunities

Roderick Hurst, European Commission DG XII, (Science, Research and Development), led the Syndicate Group on EU Research and Technology Opportunities. The session was chaired by Tamas Pinter, Head of International Co-operation, National Board for the Protection of Historic Monuments, Hungary and the Rapporteur was Ryszard Nawrocki, Head of Foreign Relations, Policy Heritage – Culture and Nature, Poland.
Roderick Hurst gave a brief history of the Research and Technological Development (RTD) Framework Programmes, which had developed since the 1950s and explained that the current one was the 4th RTD Framework Programme and the 5th was shortly to be implemented. The 5th RTD Framework Programme would cover the period 1998-2002 and aimed to reflect the changes which have occurred in terms of globalisation of economic activity and a decline in European competitiveness over the last few decades.
Roderick Hurst explained that there were to be four Thematic Programmes:

  1. Quality of Life and management of Living Resources
  2. User Friendly Information Society
  3. Competitive and Sustainable Growth
  4. Preserving the Ecosystem

and three Horizontal Programmes:

  1. Confirming the International Role of Community Research
  2. SMEs and Innovation
  3. Improving the Human Research Potential and the Socio-Economic Knowledge Base.

Each thematic programme would have a number of key actions which were intended to act together in a multidisciplinary way to tackle problems and to pool the Community effort with national research. Roderick Hurst highlighted those which he believed to be of most interest to the delegates: Preserving the Ecosystem included a Key Action concerned with the City of Tomorrow and cultural heritage; The International Role of Community Research involved pre-accession research; Improving the Human Research Potential would finance research training networks; User-Friendly Information Society dealt with multimedia, including digital heritage and the cultural content to improve access to cultural heritage.
Roderick Hurst’s introduction preceded a lively discussion amongst the group, which raised many questions. Participants highlighted challenges which they had encountered previously in applying for funding, such as finding partners from other Member States for Central and Eastern European countries, and managing to complete the application process within the time allocated. It was suggested that research was very important so that the process of putting together a bid could be started before the Call for Proposals was announced.
The Cordis Database was considered to be an invaluable research tool by many participants. Cordis was the European Community’s R&D; Information system which was accessible on the Internet and contained much information about Calls for Proposals, details of projects which had already received support, how to find partners, results of Calls for Proposals etc.
It was agreed a network such as ENNHO (European Network of National Heritage Organisations) could be a very useful tool in establishing active partnerships. This led to the question of eligibility. Roderick Hurst confirmed that there was no limit to the number of countries which could be involved in a project, but there had to be at least two Member States or associated countries.
It was concluded that partner organisations who applied for funding had to ensure that they were not perceived as just taking money from the European Union: rather there had to be a much broader outlook, taking into account the benefits to be gained from international co-operation.