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   The  Community's COMETT programme, which encourages  cooperation  between
   universities and industry in the field of technology training, will  next
   year reach the end of its second phase (1990-94). Since 1987, COMETT  has
   given  rise  to some 7 000 technology-oriented  training  courses,  3 000
   training  materials and 25 000 student placements within companies.  More
   than  22 000  European  organizations have so  far  participated  in  the
   programme, including around 13 000 companies.

   In  order  to  take stock of the programme's activities and  to  make  an
   objective assessment, the Commission of the European Communities asked  a
   panel of seven independent "wise men" to carry out a review of the COMETT
   programme  and,  in  the  light of  their  conclusions,  to  put  forward
   proposals for the future. Under the chairmanship of Mr Liam Connellan,  a
   member of the Economic and Social Committee and formerly Director-General
   of  the  Confederation  of  Irish  Industries,  the  panel  consisted  of
   luminaries  from  the  academic, social and  industrial  spheres(1).  The
   panel  has  officially  notified the Commission of  the  outcome  of  its
   analysis.

   The panel's recommendations

   In its recommendations, the panel called for the creation of a  "European
   Community  of  technology  based on training".  Noting  that  the  COMETT
   programme  has  proved to be a successful venture, the  panel  considered
   that  the  aims of COMETT should be widely incorporated into a  range  of
   Community   policies   encompassing   human   resources,    technological
   development, and social and cultural aspects, and that "COMETT should  be
   the  primary  vehicle  for  Community  actions  entailing   transnational
   cooperation  between  universities  and  industry  in  the  interest   of
   technological development". Moreover, since COMETT is the only  Community
   programme  devoted to cooperation between universities and industry,  the
   panel considered that "this crucial objective must be retained". Finally,
   the panel put forward seven specific recommendations:

   
   (1)   The panel, chaired by Mr Liam Connellan, Member of the Economic and
         Social Committee and formerly Director-General of the Confederation
         of  Irish  Industries,  comprised:  Prof.  R.  Dillemans,   Rector,
         Catholic  University  of Leuven; Mr W.  Greaves,  Director-General,
         Mercedes-Benz  UK  Ltd; Mr C. Michel, President of the  "Comité  de
         Formation et d'Enseignement de l'Union Patronale de la Région  Ile-
         de-France";  Prof. L. Oro, Director, "Secretaria General  del  Plan
         National   de  I+D",  Madrid;  Prof. S. Papaionnou,  Professor   of
         Sociology, University of Crete; Prof. G. Sohlenius, Vice-President,
         Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

   . strengthen the continuing training aspect of the programme,
   . keep initial and continuing training within the same programme,
   . intensify the rate of participation by SMEs,
   . enhance the mobility of technologists in the field,
   . recognize the potential of certain COMETT projects for improving  links
     between R&D and training,
   . increase  the  budget,  "in  view  of  the  importance  of  the  COMETT
     programme",
   . reduce red tape.

   Two further assessments

   While this review was being carried out, a further independent assessment
   of  COMETT II was conducted by the French company GMV Conseil,  with  the
   support  of a consortium of businesses. The conclusion reached from  this
   assessment was that "the main objective of COMETT has been achieved:  the
   social   and  economic  impacts  of  numerous  projects  illustrate   the
   importance of training in the latest technologies".

   Moreover,  each  country  participating  in the  programme  has,  at  the
   Commission's request, carried out a review of its own experience and  the
   impact  which  COMETT  has  had, especially  in  relation  to  equivalent
   programmes  at  national and regional level. Most of the  countries  have
   pointed  out  that  COMETT has bridged a considerable  gap  in  terms  of
   transnational cooperation and dialogue between universities and industry.

   Future prospects

   With the Community facing serious employment problems, the conclusions of
   the  panel  and  the  other  assessments  of  the  COMETT  programme  are
   particularly timely. These analyses demonstrate that COMETT will prove to
   be  highly beneficial in terms of stimulating employment. By  emphasizing
   the importance of initial and continuing training, promoting the  concept
   of mobility (both intellectual and geographical), and providing the young
   (and not-so-young) with a sounder skills base, COMETT is helping to groom
   the Community's citizens for the challenges of modern technology and  the
   Europe of tomorrow.

   There is no doubt that the conclusions of the panel will provide valuable
   input  to  the discussions which will shortly be held regarding  the  new
   generation of Community programmes for education and training.

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