Research and development
Research and development policy is one of the European Union's priorities, at the heart of the Lisbon Strategy to boost employment and growth in Europe. Research, with education and innovation, forms the "knowledge triangle", which it is hoped will allow Europe to maintain its economic dynamism and social model. The Seventh Framework Programme for Research (2007–2013) seeks to consolidate the European Research Area (ERA) and stimulate the national investment needed to reach the target of 3% of GDP.
Moreover, the creation of a European Institute of Technology by 2009 should enable European excellence to fully take shape.
Coordination of research and development initiatives within the Union is based on various instruments:
- The framework programmes for research and technological development. These multi-annual programmes, introduced in 1984, encompass more specific programmes covering fields as varied as information and communication technologies, the environment, biotechnology, energy (including nuclear power), transport and mobility of researchers. The Seventh Framework Programme (2007–13) has the largest budget since the creation of a European research identity. It responds to the needs of industry and of European policies, placing knowledge at the service of economic, social and environmental progress.
- The Joint Research Centre (JRC) — the research body which supports the action of the Union — is made up of eight research establishments distributed in the European Union which meet the specific needs of the various policies of the European Commission. It is at the forefront of research in nuclear energy (especially safety) and has diversified into sectors such as materials, the environment, industrial risks and satellites. It is funded through the EU framework programmes for research and by its own earnings from commercial contracts.
European research and development policy is based on provisions in the founding treaties (Euratom and Title XIX of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).