50 years of research
The EU has promoted research and technology since its first research institute – the joint research centre – was set up in 1958.
To compete with the rest of the world, EU countries realized the advantages of joining forces – making it easier for scientists in different countries to work together.
Europe has a proud history of discovery and invention, with revolutionary products, such as the world wide web, developed at the Geneva-based European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). The EU’s most high-profile projects include Galileo – a satellite navigation system that will ensure European independence from other state systems such as the US’s GPS – and the rocket launcher project Ariane, which since the 70s has given Europe independent access to space.
The flagship for EU research activities, the research framework programme (now in its 7th version) provides funds for research and development activities in almost all fields of science. Encouraging Europeans to take up a career in science, and raising awareness of ‘what science can do for you’ are other priorities. Examples of successful EU-funded projects are the researchers' night – this year's event involved more than 150 cities all over Europe – and the contest for young scientists.
More about research in the EU
50 years of EU research