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Facts and figures of the European Research Area

Commission Européenne - MEMO/07/128   04/04/2007

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MEMO/07/128

Brussels, 4 April 2007

Facts and figures of the European Research Area

The Commission has today published its vision for the future of the European Research Area (see IP/07/469). This background note gives some supporting facts and figures about research in Europe. It draws on material produced to support the Green Paper adopted today, which can be found in full at ec.europa.eu/research/era

General background on research in Europe

Effort still needed to progress towards the EU R&D investment target of 3% of GDP (two thirds of which to come from private sources). The latest figures (2005) show that EU-27 is investing 1.8% of GDP. If Member States fulfil the national targets set down in their national reform programmes, the figure should be 2.6% by 2010.

The EU still lags behind the US and Japan in terms of business R&D spending. The percentage of R&D funded by business was 55% for EU-27 in 2004, compared with 64% in the US and 75% in Japan.

The deficit in R&D intensity of the EU versus the US has not been reduced - on the contrary - and China may have caught up with the EU-27 by 2009 in terms of its share of GDP devoted to R&D.

Recent evidence on citation impact and highly-cited publications shows that Europe's scientific impact still lags significantly behind that of the US in 35 out of 37 scientific sub-fields, and that it has not been improving in this regard since the mid nineties.

Facts and figures about researchers

Universities across the EU employ about 37% of researchers, compared to around 15% in the US and 26% in Japan.

The business sector in Europe currently employs fewer researchers than it does in other regions of the world – around 50% of its researchers work in the business sector, compared with nearly 70% in Japan and 80% in the US.

The number of researchers in full time equivalent (FTE) per thousand labour force amounted to 5.4 in the EU in 2003, compared to 10 and 9 in Japan and the US respectively and remains essentially unchanged since 1999. At Member State level the picture is quite varied, with sometimes considerably lower figures in 15 Member States, while a handful of Member States show a figure close to or above those for Japan and the US.

Nonetheless, the number of researchers per 1000 workforce in the EU has been growing at an average annual rate of 2.8% between 1997 and 2003. Only few Member States showed a negative or slow growth rate. Data for 2004 show that the share of researchers in the workforce is slightly up (+ 3.5%) compared to the past average.

The deficit in the share of researchers of the workforce as compared to the US and Japan is mainly located in the business sector. Of the estimated total of 1,180,000 researchers (FTE) in the EU-25 in 2003, about 50% were employed in the business sector. This compared to some 68% in Japan and about 80% in the US.

EU countries still produce more science and engineering graduates and train more researchers for a doctorate than the US and Japan. Strong imbalances within national labour markets mean that in a number of EU countries many graduates find better employment and career prospects in other economic sectors. In fact, the EU shows some serious levels of unemployment among researchers, and the lower salary levels of researchers in comparison with other employment-sectors would seem to indicate that there is no overall shortage of researchers either, although some may be observed in specific sectors or countries.

Imbalances between national labour markets also cause a drain of researchers to other countries, including outside the EU, in particular to the US. Although an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 EU-born researchers (in head-count) are active in research in the US, this only amounts to some 5% to 8% of the total EU researchers' population. Set against the concept of a beneficial 'brain-circulation', such a contingent of internationally mobile researchers would even be desirable if there was a clear prospect that a large portion of this group would (eventually) return to the EU. However, a majority is reluctant to return because of a lack of attractive research and career prospects.

Facts and figures about research infrastructures

Pan-European infrastructures must play a key role in reinforcing overall European research capacity. A striking example of how more can be done is in the area of health research where the development of a pan-European network of bio-banks representing the diversity of the European population would provide vastly increased analytical power. In several research fields, the situation is simply that no single Member State can afford to develop the required infrastructures.

Building on the widespread consensus that emerged following the 2000 ERA Communication on the need to forge a more co-ordinated European approach to key research infrastructures, a first major milestone was reached with the adoption in 2006 of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap. But the Roadmap will only be a success if the proposed projects are built. For this to happen there is still a long way to go: New approaches are required - new legal, institutional and financial tools need to be developed.

Details of the road map can be found at http://cordis.europa.eu/esfri/

Facts and figures about research institutions

Universities are key actors in both the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the European Research Area (ERA). Their importance in relation to ERA is illustrated by their share in total research expenditure, which is around 22% in Europe, compared to some 14% in the US and Japan. Research-active universities are the main producers of scientific knowledge in Europe today, acting as 'knowledge creators' and an important training ground for researchers. In Europe, universities employ about 36.6% of researchers (2004), compared to around 14.7% in the US (2000) and 25.5% in Japan (2003).

This prominent role of research-active universities in the production and dissemination of knowledge is well documented and has led many public authorities to 'preserve' their universities at national or regional level, by subjecting them too often to detailed regulations and fostering a large degree of uniformity among them.

For the most part this has resulted in the continued fragmentation of the sector into mostly small scale national systems and sub-systems, with few incentives for competition or collaboration at national level, let alone competition at European or international level.

Although there is a general lack of precise and comparable data on research-active universities in Europe, there is evidence of public authorities and universities working to address fragmentation. 33% (or 6400) of the FP6 participations (contract signed in 2005) were higher education institutions.

Nonetheless, and again taking into account that systematic, comparable data are not available, the overall situation in Europe in terms of quality of university-based research can be at best characterised as generally good on average, but with a very limited basis of universities at world-level, indicated by several international universities rankings. For instance, the Shanghai Ranking of World Universities shows only 34 out of the top 100 universities located in Europe, compared to 207 out of the top 500.

Research and Technology Organisations are organisations “which as their predominant activity provide research and development, technology and innovation services to enterprises, governments and other clients...”

This broad definition encompasses several categories of organisations, including in particular public research centres but also private ones, while noting that there exists a full spectrum of situations in-between. Even public research centres which started as fully publicly funded fundamental research organisations are now broadening their funding base by engaging in strategic research programs (such as the EU framework programme) and contract research. In the case of the Max Planck Society, for example, these additional funding sources represent about 20% of the budget, even though none of this is formally labelled as contract research.

Moreover, the borders between RTOs and universities are increasingly blurred by several factors: not only do certain universities actively engage in industrial collaborations and in the commercialisation of their R&D results, but in addition several RTOs have developed educational activities. This means that most of the above considerations regarding universities (more specifically university research) also largely apply to RTOs.

A detailed study on RTOs is given in a comparative analysis of European research centres compiled by PREST on behalf of the “Eurolabs” project consortium. The data come from a data base with 769 European R&D organisations. The following summarised data provide a snapshot of RTOs in the EU-15:

  • Most RTOs are active in applied research (92%) and development (80%), about half of them in diffusion/extension (67%) and basic research (52%), and some in certification/standards (32%) and in the provision of facilities (33%).
  • Predominantly, their skills base is in engineering and technology (63%) and natural sciences (58%), and to a lesser extent in agriculture, medicine and social sciences (27%-32%) and humanities (languages, culture, societal issues) (10%).
  • RTO's predominant linkages are with national authorities (89%), industry (77%), the European Community (74%, mainly through the EC Framework Programmes) and universities (74%), and to a lesser extent with regional authorities (53%).

The growing effect of internationalization can be seen in core RTOs activities. For example, the German Max-Planck-Gesellschaft also has research centres in Italy and the Netherlands. In addition, its "International Max Planck Research Schools" focus particularly on international cooperation and strive to attract foreign students to Germany to pursue their Ph.D. studies.

Facts and figures about knowledge-sharing (see also MEMO/07/127)

There is a wealth of policy measures in place across Member States to promote the building of long-lasting and strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors. Such partnerships can take a number of forms:

  • Joint research centres, e.g. Austria: Christian Doppler Laboratories; Netherlands: Leading Technological Initiatives; Belgium: some of the Flemish' region's competence poles.
  • Long term cooperation agreements having a sectoral or thematic focus, e.g. France: competitiveness poles; Belgium: competitiveness poles; Estonia: competence centre programme; Hungary: cooperative research centres; Ireland: centres for science, engineering and technology; Italy – Technological districts.
  • Networking and clustering schemes, e.g. Czech Republic: national cluster strategy – KLASTRY, Denmark: High Tech networks, UK: Knowledge Transfer Networks.
  • Large scale, long term collaborative R&D, e.g. France: Agency for Industrial Innovation, Spain: CENIT – National strategic consortia for technical research.
  • The establishment of national technology platforms (along the model of the European Technology Platforms), e.g. national technological platforms in construction (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain), Poland: Polish Technology Platforms, UK: Innovation Platforms, Italy: national Technology Platforms.

Through the establishment of public-private partnerships, R&D policy makers are increasingly stimulating their public research organisations to take into account the strategic needs of the economy and at the same time are creating incentives within their businesses to articulate their needs and draw upon the public research base in support of their innovation processes.

University-industry knowledge transfer – a comparison between the US and EU


EU (ASTP)
US (AUTM)
Ratio
Average research exp. (million US$)
156.4
214.6

Invention disclosures
0.305
0.407
0.75
Patent applications
0.121
0.255
0.47
Patent granted
0.057
0.089
0.64
Licenses executed
0.134
0.115
1.17
Start-ups established
0.016
0.011
1.45


Source: The table is a compilation of the ProTon and ASTP surveys.[1]
Note: Figures given relating to invention disclosures, patent applications, etc. are all per million PPP$ of R&D expenditures

Venture capital (VC) investment in technology – US and EU (2003)


US
EU
Ratio
VC investment in technology, € billion
13.7
3.1
4.4 times
Number of companies
2 208
4 354
0.5 times
Average investment, € million
6.2
0.7
8.9 times


Source: European Commission, DG ECFIN, 'The profitability of venture capital investment in Europe and the US', ECFIN/L/6(2004)REP/50386, Brussels, 28 September 2004.

Facts and figures about national research programmes and priorities

A large majority of Member States now have specific strategies in place for stimulating both the quantity and quality of R&D activity. Common elements of those strategies are their long term character and a strategic view based on identifying bottlenecks, formulating challenges and matching the portfolio of policy instruments to address those challenges. The scope of Member State strategies varies, with some focussing on R&D (e.g. France: Pact for Research, Netherlands: Science Budget 2004 – Focus on excellence and greater value, Czech Republic: National Research and Development Policy of the Czech Republic for 2004-2008), others tackling R&D and broader innovation aspects in an integrated manner (e.g. UK: Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014, Ireland: Strategy for science, technology and innovation 2006-2013, Spain: Ingenio 2010, Sweden: Innovative Sweden – A strategy for growth through renewal) and a limited number that put R&D and innovation under an overarching umbrella (e.g. Denmark: Progress, Innovation and Cohesion: Strategy for Denmark in the Global Economy;). In some Member States, due to specific divisions of competence between policy levels, strategies are primarily developed at the regional level (e.g. Belgium: Flanders in action. A socio-economic stimulus for Flanders). More in general, a large and increasing number of EU regions have now developed R&D strategies to complement national policies

Some Member States have gone one step further and have introduced the (partial) unilateral opening up of their national research systems as part of their overall strategy, inspired by the view that knowledge spill-over from abroad can add to the existing R&D capacity, that this can increase its quality through increased competition or can give access to fields in which national capacity is limited. A study carried out on behalf of the European Commission made a number of interesting observations in this respect, leading to the conclusion that opening up is still a relatively minor part of national policy: [2]

  • The funding of trans-national research projects is most commonly observed as an element of opening up. Although a majority (60%) of the programmes surveyed in the study reported having funded trans-national projects, the actual spend on trans-national activities remains marginal, the majority of programmes remaining below 5% of total budget.
  • Only a small proportion (16%) of programmes report having contributed to multilateral programmes with a central budget.
  • Around two thirds of surveyed programmes allow participation of non-resident researchers from other EU countries. Only 23%, however, have actually paid for the participation of foreign partners and an even smaller number (16%) state that foreign participation is actively encouraged.

Apart from generic support to R&D activities in the public and private sector, most national policy makers nowadays pay attention to concentrating public resources in a limited number of key sectors or technology areas, deemed of strategic importance to their local economies.

The policy tools used to implement this element of specialisation and matching of the research base to the needs of the economy vary widely across Member States, including:

  • Thematically structured research programmes (e.g. Austria – FFG thematic programmes, Bulgaria – National Strategy for Scientific Research: thematic priorities, Cyprus – RPF Framework Programme thematic actions, Italy – Strategic programmes, Spain – National Plan for Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation – Thematic actions).
  • Dedicated public research centres (Belgium – Strategic Research Centres, Netherlands – Leading Technology Institutes, Spain/Portugal joint nanotechnology research centre).
  • Public-private partnerships, e.g. competence/ competitiveness poles.

There has been some progress towards joint programming of regional and national research efforts

The ERA-NET action was introduced in FP6 as a way for regional and national programmes to engage in dialogues, learn from each other, identify issues where an increased level of cooperation would be beneficial and finally develop joint activities (see section 2.1 for further information on the goals and implementation of ERA-NET: the European Research Area Network). Although it was a measure introduced at the Community level, the attainment of its goals necessitated Member States’ participation and commitment.

ERA-NETs aim to establish variable geometry networks pursuing some or all of the elements of a four-step process:

  • Systematic exchange of information and good practice on existing programmes and activities.
  • Identification and analysis of common strategic issues.
  • Planning and development of joint activities between national and regional programmes.
  • Implementation of joint trans-national activities, including joint calls and programmes.

There is evidence that ERA-NET has delivered in terms of exchange of information, mutual learning and strategic analysis. Furthermore, by November 2006, 39 ERA-NET coordination actions had progressed towards the fourth step of the process and had implemented, were implementing or were preparing joint calls. ERA-NET participants have up to date committed some € 250 million in the known joint calls, although little of that was spent in open competition, programme owners and managers preferring to keep full control over their own budgets.

The intergovernmental organisations for European scientific and technological cooperation ESF (European Science Foundation), ESA (European Space Agency), EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation), EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory), CERN (l'Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire), ESO (European Southern Observatory), ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility), ILL(Institut Laue-Langevin)[3], EUREKA,[4] and COST (European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) have an important role to play in helping construct the ERA as they together represent some 9% of total public expenditure on R&D in Europe and offer European researchers both top notch research infrastructures and worthwhile instruments for trans-national networking and collaboration

Facts and figures about the globalisation of knowledge

In the 2000 Commission Communication on ERA, Europe compared itself mainly to the US and Japan. Countries like China and India or in South East Asia or Latin America were not mentioned. However, the Communication already pointed to signs of the internationalisation of private R&D, mainly through multinational enterprises (MNEs).

Since 2000, the internationalisation trend has strengthened. Some economists predict that in 2020, the world's largest economies will be the US, China, India and Japan. Other economists predict more modestly that China and India will indeed become major players in the world economy, but certainly not the only ones. The share of world GDP produced by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries is expected to shrink from about 55% in 2000 to 40% in 2030. Knowledge production and R&D have become part of a global dynamic. As a consequence, an increasing share of global R&D will be located outside Europe. Given the current trends, Europe's share of research may one day represent less than 10% of global knowledge production.

Stocktaking of ERA actions at EU level in regard to the objectives defined in the ERA Communication of 2000


Objectives defined in 2000
Actions undertaken
and results obtained/expected
Barriers and difficulties encountered

1. A SERIES OF MATERIAL RESOURCES AND FACILITIES OPTIMISED AT EUROPEAN LEVEL

1.1. Networking of centres of excellence and creation of virtual centres
To reduce the fragmentation of European research by combining complementary expertise to attain a critical mass of financial and human resources.
  • The sixth Framework Programme (FP6) introduced Networks of Excellence (NoE) [aimed at establishing durable, virtual centres of excellence in specific research areas by grouping expertise and research capacities around a joint programme of activities] and Integrated Projects (IP) [aimed at large-scale, strategic, objective-driven co-operative research requiring the integration of a critical mass of activities and resources] to address this objective.
  • 532 IP and 152 NoE were launched under FP6 by July 2006. For NoEs, the EC contribution represents about 56% of the total costs of all NoE. For IPs the figure is 60%. For all other instruments the figure is 67% implying a greater leverage on national and private funds by new instruments compared with traditional ones. The HERMES IP for example receives € 15M EC contribution to total estimated project costs of € 60M. This may imply that IP and NoE have a greater effect on Member State (MS) research priorities than traditional project types.
  • Networking of centres of excellence and creation of virtual centres is also dealt with in section 1.3.
  • The purposes of NoE and of IP were not fully understood by all stakeholders, in particular with respect to the concept of 'integration', as opposed to co-operation. This led to some NoE resembling IP and to some NoE being established where IP would have been more appropriate. Consortium size posed problems for management of both IP and NoE.
  • For NoEs:
  1. The participation of industry, particularly SMEs, is unacceptably low.
  2. Integration and durability were either misunderstood or ignored by representatives of NoE Governing Councils (participants' management) with the result that long-term binding commitments to support the Networks are rare. This risks re-fragmentation when EC funding ends.
  • For IPs
  1. Large consortia created not only management difficulties but also IPR difficulties.
1.2. Definition of a European approach to research facilities
To develop a European approach to infrastructures covering both the creation of new installations and the functioning of / access to existing ones. Concerning the creation of new installations, a specific objective was to make an accurate assessment of future needs to be addressed at European level.
  • A series of 3 conferences organised by EC, the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the French Ministry of Research from 2000 to 2005 illustrated the wide consensus for a co-ordinated approach on European infrastructures.
  • The FP6 Integrated Infrastructures Initiatives combine networking activities, provision of access to infrastructures to trans-national users and joint research activities. Thus far, 248 facilities covering most research fields in Europe have been linked, representing 40% of all existing European facilities.
  • The European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) involves Member States (MS), Associated Countries (AC) and EC and has published the First Strategic Research Infrastructures Roadmap for Europe in 2006. It proposes 35 projects for the construction or upgrading of pan-European Research Infrastructures. FP7 supports the creation of these infrastructures.
  • Existing European research infrastructures were surveyed in 2006 by the EC, ESF and Eurohorcs in order to establish a database. The results of this survey will shortly be presented to ESFRI.
  • Infrastructures often require significant funds over a long period which cannot be provided by FP. Available FP7 funds compared with the original EC proposal limit the extent to which the ESFRI roadmap can be implemented.
  • The inflexibility of FP contracts can reduce the effectiveness of the infrastructure in responding to new developments.
  • Industrial reluctance to commit funds compounds this problem.
  • Not only do MS (and non-MS for international projects) vary in the level of commitment to infrastructure projects, their internal governance processes retard development even when there is agreement to proceed.
  • There is competition and inconsistencies between Community actions and intergovernmental ones (see section 2.2).
1.3. Maximising the potential offered by electronic networks
  • To encourage the use of electronic networks in the various fields of research in European as well as national research programmes, in view of increasing the productivity of European research while helping to structure collaboration on a continental scale.
  • To encourage researcher awareness-building and training campaigns at national and European levels on the possibilities created by information technologies and communications.
The topic Communication Network Development, in the Programme Structuring the ERA launched actions in e-Infrastructures:
  • GÉANT2, a pan-European communication infrastructure for the research and education community, launched in September 2004, is the first network in the world to run at 10 Gb/s.
  • EGEEII - Enabling Grids for E-SciencE is the world's largest production Grid infrastructure addressing 10 different areas of science, linking 50 research organisations, having started its second two-year phase in 2006.
  • DEISA (launched in 2005) is a grid of 11 of the most important national supercomputers and is linked to the USA supercomputing infrastructure (TeraGrid)
  • Complementary initiatives designed to encourage researcher awareness were also launched.
  • Limited budget hindered greater deployment of Grid infrastructures to many more scientific communities.
  • The uptake of advanced communication and collaboration techniques (e.g. Grids, scientific data repositories) to enable new ways of conducting science is still far too limited.

2. MORE CONSISTENT USE OF PUBLIC INSTRUMENTS AND RESOURCES

2.1. More co-ordinated implementation of national and European research programmes
  • The main policy objective defined in 2000 was the reciprocal opening of national programmes to potential participants from other Member States.
  • Related more specific objectives included information exchange and the establishment of an information system on existing national programmes as well as the evaluation of national research activities by international panels.
  • The ERA-NETs of FP6 aim to co-ordinate implementation of research programmes. Programme owners and managers across MS are brought together to reduce fragmentation in the funding of research activities across Europe.
  • A key element of ERA-NET is its bottom-up, variable geometry (in terms of participating countries) approach.
  • More than 1000 national and regional research programme owners participate to date in 71 ERA-NETs. Some 30 Joint Calls were launched by 2006. Early indications suggest that trans-national proposals submitted in response to joint calls have led to increased commitments by MS: by the end of 2006, MS had already committed together some M€ 250 in joint calls. The number of joint calls will double in 2007 and should reach in total some M€ 500 by end of 2007.
  • The FP7 ERA-NET "Plus" tool will allow EC to contribute to the funds available in trans-national calls initiated by MS.
  • FP6 also saw the Implementation of the first pilot action under 'Article 169' of the Treaty: the European Developing countries Clinical Trials Partnership ('EDCTP').
  • These initiatives have helped MS recognise the potential of interacting with other MS in funding research. More attention is now given to improving mutual compatibility regarding structural (governance level), administrative (e.g. eligibility, contracting, overheads levels) and timing (duration of programme cycles) aspects. In particular, new Member States are considering re-structuring their research efforts into programmes in order to increase compatibility.
  • Other initiatives with a structuring and/or co-ordinating effect at a strategic level include
  • the National IST RTD Directors forum which is the main mechanism to develop and discuss common visions and strategies for ICT R&D in Europe, to share knowledge and best practice and to improve coordination in ICT RTD in Europe
  • The Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) which brings together representatives of Member States funding agencies to co-ordinate research in this area.
  • European Technology Platforms (ETP) which group stakeholders together in industry-led initiatives to define Strategic Research Agendas (SRA) for technological fields. ETPs have in turn given rise in some cases to the establishment of 'national' technology platforms which bring together national stakeholders and develop SRAs in line with the aims of the overarching ETP.
  • Examples of reciprocal opening of research programmes initiated by MS include the CNRS funding positions accessible to all EU researchers and the Nordic countries' Northern European Innovative Energy Research Programme (M€ 6 budget for projects).
  • Regarding an information system on EU research programmes, a pilot ERA-WATCH system has been launched and is being developed further. It is a web-based “research inventory” of national and regional structures, actors, policies, relevant legislation, programmes, budgets, priorities, human resources and support mechanisms in Member and Associated States. Comparative information will also be provided on major research partners such as the USA, Japan and China. The inventory will be regularly updated and will be used to produce regular analyses and reporting on general science policy issues relevant to research policy- making.
  • EC has also mapped research activities (outside ERA-WATCH) in specific domains: in the field of ICT, CISTRANA (htpp://www.cistrana.org) aims to develop a map of the national research landscape in the area of ICT and establish a portal with comparable information on national ICT R&D policies and programmes across Europe. Inventories of research activities have been constructed in other research domains (Nanotechnologies, materials science and production technologies; Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. This is also planned for the Animal Health domain under the activities of SCAR).
  • ERA-NET is only a first step. MS remain reluctant to restructure their research programmes to allow joint programming. Subsidiarity is insufficiently observed. FP funds research which could be handled at national level.
  • In some areas (e.g. genomics), different ERA-NETs were set up on rather focused national programmes (e.g. on plant genomics, or pathogenomics). Better, strategic co-ordination is required to avoid 'fragmentation by ERA-Net'.
  • Progress in the first Art.169 Initiative (EDCTP) was hampered by MS's unwillingness to fully integrate programmes and to commit finances in the long term. Legal and administrative rules also caused difficulty. The new generation of Art. 169 initiatives under preparation aim to overcome these weaknesses.
  • There are also bottlenecks at the governance level :
  • Lack of human resources and/of suitable structure by programmes, particularly in particular Southern and new Member States, make joint programming difficult.
  • Different funding rules/ administration cultures make joint calls difficult.
  • National authorities are reluctant to open research programmes even when to do so would improve the science funded.
  • A single information system covering all the opportunities offered to researchers in Europe is lacking.
  • Funding opportunities and programmes are not well known outside MS borders; this can also be the case within an MS when multiple funding bodies are involved.

2.2. Closer relations between European organisations for science and technology cooperation
To provide the intergovernmental organisations for European scientific and technological co-operation (ESF, ESA, EMBO, EMBL, CERN, ESO, ESRF, ILL, EUREKA, COST) with a framework in which they could discuss their respective roles on the European scientific and technological scene and their relations between one another and with the Union.
  • The EIRO forum is composed of CERN, ESA, EMBL, ESO, ESRF, ILL, EFD and was formed in 2002, aiming to pursue joint initiatives, combine resources and share best practices.
  • EuroHORCs (European Heads of Research Councils) and ESF: Cooperation on specific issues has developed, including through joint EuroHORCs and ESF–Commission working groups.
  • Efforts are underway to establish co-operations with other groups of research organisations such as TAFTIE, EARTO and Research Performing Organisations.
  • COST: A partnership was established between COST and the Commission to reinforce coordination between the FP and COST and to seek complementarities and synergies between the two frameworks.
  • EUREKA: Collaboration between EU activities and EUREKA progressed and has taken concrete forms:
  • A Commission-Eureka Inter Service Group was set up to spread information about Eureka across Commission services and discusses issues of cooperation.
  • Joint Technology Groups between EUREKA Clusters (Mega-projects in Eureka) and Umbrellas (thematic networks to generate smaller Eureka projects) and Thematic priority directorates in the Commission were set up. A number of these JTG's contributed to the development of ETPs
  • Cooperation between the FP and EUREKA is being strengthened, notably through the preparation of the following two actions:
  1. The "Eurostars programme" initiative, under Art. 169 of the Treaty, aimed at highly innovative SMEs
  2. The involvement of EUREKA Clusters in the preparation of two candidate Joint Technology Initiatives: Artemis (embedded computing systems) and Eniac (nanoelectronics).
  • The various types of European level Research Organisations and initiatives are different in nature and tend to operate in different ways. Networking is therefore not simply achieved. Diversity of mission, of legal status, of the governance and budget structure, national legislation and the variable geometry of membership (the membership of EIROforum organisations -in terms of countries- varies from one to another) all set limits to the degree of coordination with and between these organisations.
  • EUREKA has shown repeatedly a weakness of synchronisation of funding and of insufficient funding in many of its Member Countries. Although this is not directly an EU matter, it has bearings on the coordination between the FP and EUREKA.
  • The long and complex discussion around the setting up of the Eurostars programme shows the difficulty of many countries to transfer control to a central structure over the final decision on how to allocate their financial contributions.


  • Whilst not an explicit objective of the 2000 Communication, the establishment of a public procurement expert group represents a direct means to support R&D and as such falls under the heading "more consistent use of public instruments and resources"

3. MORE DYNAMIC PRIVATE INVESTMENT

3.1. Better use of instruments of indirect support for research
  • To encourage the exchange of information and spread of good practices on mechanisms aiming to stimulate private investment in research, particularly among SMEs, and innovation.
  • To respect Community State aid rules where measures constitute State aid.
  • CREST set up in 2004/5, expert groups on R&D fiscal measures, to identify best practices and to set out guidance for the design, implementation and evaluation of R&D fiscal measures.
  • In 2006, the Commission adopted i) a new Community Framework for State aid for R&D&I, and ii) a Communication "Towards a more effective use of tax incentives in favour of R&D" accompanied by a Staff working document on "Good practice guidance for the design, implementation and evaluation of R&D tax incentives".
  • The Commission will promote the sharing of experience and good practices on the methodologies of evaluation of the effectiveness of R&D tax incentives by setting up in 2007 a network of national experts.
  • Lack of consistent evaluation studies of national R&D tax incentives.
  • Absence of Community competence.
3.2. Development of effective tools for the protection of intellectual property
  • To start the European [Community] patent as soon as possible. It must be readily affordable and comparable in cost to a European patent covering a limited number of countries.
  • To assess how the effects of disclosures prior to filing can be taken into account by European patent law (issue of "grace period").
  • To improve the relevance and consistency of the intellectual property arrangements used to implement public research programmes.
  • Several proposals for a Community patent were presented by the Commission but further progress has not been made.
  • "Grace period": Following two workshops organised by DG RTD in 2002, the Council working party on IP issued a statement recommending that EU Member States should introduce a grace period in their patent law, if this takes place in the context of an international harmonisation. A new international treaty (SPLT) being negotiated under the auspices of WIPO contains a provision which, if adopted, would oblige all WIPO Member States (including all EU ones) to introduce a grace period in their patent law. However, negotiation of this treaty is stuck (for other reasons). Nevertheless, a sub-set of the WIPO Member States are trying to reach an agreement on a more limited initiative, covering only four points of the SPLT, including the grace period.
  • A new Commission Communication on an "EU patent strategy" is in preparation. It will encourage progress regarding the Community patent and support the creation of a European patent judiciary hearing patent infringement and invalidity action.
  • The IPR and technology transfer-related issues tackled by the Commission after the adoption of the initial ERA Communication are much broader than those mentioned in the Communication. In particular, they include additional R&D-related IPR issues such as the experimental exception and knowledge transfer issues (concerning in particular university-industry relations).
  • A Community patent system based on the March 2003 political agreement would lead to savings of only 20-30 % compared to the current European patent.
  • Concerning the Community patent, the main issues are i) problems regarding translations (into which languages does a Community patent need to be translated after grant? Does this concern only the claims of the patent? How binding are the translations?), ii) jurisdiction issues, and iii) to some extent, the role of the national patent offices.
3.3. Encouragement of risk capital investment and company start-ups
  • To step up initiatives to provide innovative start-up companies with the technical support and expertise they need to develop.
  • To encourage initiatives to bring scientists, industrialists and financiers at all levels into contact.
  • The Commission issued guidelines on State aid for risk capital in 2001 and renewed them in 2006. The guidelines offer a framework for public funding of risk capital that follows market principles as much as possible and is supportive of markets rather than distorting.
  • On the Community level, direct investment into venture capital funds comes from the Community programmes (ETF Start-up Facility) and the EIF (the fund's own resources and those of the EIB under the Risk Capital Mandate). The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) will provide for funding of innovative SMEs.
  • On the demand side, the Commission organised a number of workshops in 2006 in relation to the issue of making potential recipient companies more aware of the possibilities to obtain risk capital financing and increasing their investment readiness by appropriate counselling and coaching.
  • Barriers on both the supply and demand sides still hamper efficient deployment of risk capital, and more specifically early-stage venture capital in the EU.
  • The Single Market does not operate well in the area of risk capital: different regulatory and tax environments reinforce fragmentation of the risk capital market and inhibit cross-border operations.

4. A COMMON SYSTEM OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL REFERENCE FOR POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

4.1. Development of the research needed for political decision-making
4.2. Establishment of a common system of scientific and technical references
  • The results of research undertaken as part of European programmes should be systematically exploited in support of the various Union policies and all the Union's research activities better co-ordinated in this respect.
  • A reliable and recognised system of validating knowledge and methods of analysis, control and certification also needs to be put in place and centres of excellence in Europe in the field concerned networked.
  • In 2002 the Commission adopted guidelines and principles on the collection and use of expertise by the Commission services, in order to improve the knowledge base for better policies.
  • In order to promote a more efficient use of scientific information and expertise in support to policy making, the Commission is developing the web communication platform SINAPSE.
  • Via the Scientific Support for Policy –SSP- programme of FP6, the Commission has financed research projects aimed at meeting the needs of policy makers in different fields like agriculture, fisheries, crime prevention, environment protection, migration, etc.
  • The JRC functions as a reference centre of science and technology for the Union. Its institutes provide scientific information useful for the design, implementation and assessment of Commission services' policies. The JRC has also aims to produce socially robust knowledge and thereby contribute to enhancing the credibility and legitimacy of science inputs in public policy and social discourse.
  • The "Information Society Policy Link" initiative aims to ensure that policy development takes full account of the most recent and relevant developments emerging from ICT research.
  • "Science for Environment Policy" News Alert service aims to strengthen the links between science and policy by promoting easy-to-read new scientific information relevant to top priority environment policy issues. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/research_alert_en.htm
  • The scope of scientific advice processes and the number of actors involved both as producer and user of advice and expertise is large making the establishment of a common system challenging. Work to establish common systems focussed on the identification of good practice and lessons learnt, as well as the identification of impact assessment practices only in a limited number of national systems.
  • The logistic support for the scientific advice activities provided by SINAPSE needs both time and resources to be developed. The human resources currently allocated are insufficient.

5. MORE ABUNDANT AND MOBILE HUMAN RESOURCES

5.1. Greater mobility of researchers in Europe
5.2. Introduction of a European dimension into scientific careers
6.3. Making Europe attractive to researchers from the rest of the world
  • To encourage and develop the mobility of researchers both
  1. geographically (through opening up recruitment of researchers at European level, and -in the frame of career assessment- proper valuation of experiences elsewhere in Europe),
  2. and between the academic world and the business world (as an instrument of technology transfer).
  • To attract the best researchers from all over the world (through setting up of European grants for third-country researchers, encouraging the opening up of European and national programmes to third-country researchers and simplifying regulations and administrative conditions applicable to admission and residence of third-country researchers), as well as to encourage the return to Europe of researchers who have left Europe, in particular for the United States.
  • Two main achievements were:
  • the development, implementation and follow-up of the Recommendation on the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment, a landmark instrument for raising the awareness of and amelioration of career management and recruitment of researchers,
  • the development and adoption of the "scientific visa" package, a Directive and two Recommendations on the admission and residence (long and short-term stays) of third country national to carry out scientific research in the EU; proposed in March 2004, adopted in October 2005.
  • A number of tools for improved practical assistance to the researchers have been developed (e.g. Pan-European Researchers Mobility Portal with some 30 connected national portals on training and job-opportunities in research; European Network of Mobility Centres (ERA-MORE) with coordinated and customised assistance to researchers and their families in all matters relating to their mobility experience).
  • In the area of social security and taxation various surveys, awareness raising and training activities were carried out by the Commission and the Member States.
  • On the subject of inter-sector mobility information gathering and sharing of good practices have led to a better understanding of the issues at stake, while in 2006 a set of practical recommendations to various stakeholders was produced.
  • Marie Curie actions under FP6 and "People" programme under FP 7 have been / will be instrumental in meeting the above-mentioned objectives.
  • Mobility is viewed as counterproductive both by the employer (loss of expertise) and by the employee (perceived lack of stability when moving).
  • Administrative and legal obstacles to mobility persist at national level; they are often situated outside the specific research sector and therefore outside the area of competence of those in charge of research policy. Progress could be made in the areas of (supplementary) social security and taxation. However competence of the Community is limited in these fields.
  • Inter-sector mobility is still hampered by predominantly cultural as well as practical issues (e.g. pensions).
  • Despite the significant attention that the Charter and Code have raised, there is evidence that many stakeholders are insufficiently aware of the issues at stake (this also impedes the actual uptake and implementation of Charter and Code principles).
5.3. Greater place and role for women in research
  • To stimulate discussion and exchanges of experience in this field among the Member States.
  • To develop a coherent approach towards promoting women in European funded research with the aim of significantly increasing the number of women involved in research.
  • Establishment of ETAN – Experts Working Group on Women and Science, ‘Enwise’ Expert Group (Enlarge Women In Science to East), Helsinki Group on Women and Science, Working group on women in research decision–making.
  • A European Platform of Women Scientists was created in November 2005. Its purpose is to build a structural link between women scientists and research policy makers.
  • The "Gender Action Plan" (GAP) was an instrument available within FP6 to promote gender equality within projects.
  • Gender and science research is to be carried out at national and European level in FP7. A Help desk for Gender Mainstreaming will be created. Finally, an expert group on scientific excellence's evaluation criteria and gender bias will be created.
  • Mental barriers: Frequently scientists perceive that scientific excellence and measures to increase the participation of women are not compatible.
  • No harmonised public data, which makes difficult interpretation and action on the European level.
5.4. Giving young people a taste for research and careers in science
The Member States and the Union should rapidly undertake a joint in-depth study of the room made for science subjects in education systems and how the teaching of sciences in the Union can be improved at all levels of education, primary, secondary and higher.

Using the experience gained at national level, awareness-raising campaigns should be stepped up to create conditions conducive to the sharing of experience and good practice.
Under the Science and Society action line of FP6 a number of actions were launched:
  • In 2004 a M€ 7.7 pan-European Initiative 'NUCLEUS' supporting science education was launched to develop and disseminate best practice.
  • A high level group on Increasing Human Resources for S&T in Europe was set up and its findings were published in 2004. The need for experience sharing in Europe on science curricula and teaching methodologies was stressed.
  • Two targeted calls for proposals were published in 2004 and 2005 covering these issues as well as the need to reinforce the transfer of research-based best practice into the classroom.
  • Actions have been taken to stimulate better coordination between organisers of science festivals.
  • A high level group chaired by Michel Rocard MEP will examine existing European collaborative activities in the field of supporting science education and identify best practice. Recommendations will be available in May 2007.
There is a delay in transferring research based innovation from the proof-of-concept stage to the classroom. Collective action at the European level is limited to activities that support the science curricula while respecting the principle of subsidiarity.

6. A DYNAMIC EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE, OPEN AND ATTRACTIVE TO RESEARCHERS AND INVESTMENT

6.1. Greater role of the regions in the European research effort
6.2. Integration of the scientific communities of Western and Eastern Europe
  • To negotiate on the structural assistance planned for the years 2000 to 2006 in order to examine how best to combine projects implemented within this framework with projects undertaken in the European programmes
  • To put in place the conditions for research policies adapted to the socio-economic context of a regional territory and to strengthen the role that regions can play in establishing a more dynamic ERA.
  • € 10.6 billion of cohesion policy funding, notably from the European Regional Development Fund, is estimated to be used to support R&D and innovation in the 2000-2006 programming period. This investment plays a significant role in fostering research and innovation activity, particularly in the Community's less developed Member States and regions, especially when the national, regional and private co-financing leveraged by cohesion policy programmes is also taken into account. Cohesion policy programmes offer a platform for regional stakeholders to increase their capacity to undertake excellent research and exploit its results. They are the EU's main instrument for fostering research activity in less developed Member States and regions and thus help to address the lack of cohesion and S&T development gaps identified as a problem in the ERA Communication of 2000. The Community Strategic Guidelines on economic, social and territorial cohesion 2007-2013 give an even more prominent place to R&D and innovation as a driver of economic growth.
  • Through its “innovative actions” programmes, cohesion policy has also supported the development of regional strategies in less favoured regions on the theme of knowledge-based technological innovation. Such strategies help regional stakeholders in less favoured regions to implement measures appropriate to their specific context.
  • The regional dimension of the European research effort is also acknowledged in the RTD Framework Programme. Positive results of the 'Regions of Knowledge' initiative launched in 2003 to promote more and better investment in research through mutual learning, coordination and collaboration among regional players has led to an extended 'Regions of Knowledge' activity in FP7. In addition, the new FP7 'Research Potential' action will focus explicitly on strengthening research capacity in 'convergence regions' and 'outermost regions' in terms of physical and human capital.
  • The Commission has tried to create a framework for co-ordination of cohesion and research policy with the proposals for cohesion policy programmes and the 7th RTD Framework Programme for 2007-2013. However, the different levels of governance mean that national and regional stakeholders are in practice responsible for co-ordinated use of the two instruments and for co-ordination of projects. A report on "How to achieve better co-ordinated use of the EU Structural Funds and the 7th Research Framework Programme to support R&D" will be delivered in early 2007 in the framework of the CREST mutual learning process between Member States.
6.3. Making Europe attractive to researchers from the rest of the world
See 5.1., 5.2.


7. AREA OF SHARED VALUES
7.1. Tackling science/society issues on a European scale
To organise “Citizens’ Conferences” at European level [NB: This has been extended to other techniques aiming to raise the participation of citizens and civil society organisations to research and research based policies]
  • The Science and Society Action Plan, adopted in 2001, lists 38 actions aiming to close the gap between citizens and science policy makers, and to place science at the heart of policy making.
  • A study and a conference set the scene for Commission's action in the field of governance through policy recommendations (IFOK GmbH study), and 19 projects were selected for financing by the FP6 Science and Society line.
  • Two real size experiments on participation ("Consensus Conference") were organized in 2005 and 2006 (one in Brain Science, another in the field of Urban Development).
  • A European platform of stakeholders and experts in participation has been created (Citizens Participation in Science and Technology - CIPAST). It has produced a reference database gathering cases of participation in Europe and is aiming to produce, and use, a training package.
  • FP7 Programme Implementation: Based on the lessons from FP6, support to participation of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and preparation of pilot Co-operative Research Processes (CRPs) will be provided as well as training for policy makers at European level. A new instrument for the benefit of CSOs as specific groups has been created (BSG-CSOs). Co-operative Research Processes could be the embryo of a specific European way to "define and implement research priorities, engaging citizens and respecting common ethical norms".
At Member State level there is not always a counterpart to the Science and Society activity of the Commission. The open coordination initiated in 2001 has therefore not been successful.
7.1. bis
To develop more consistency in foresight exercises at national and European level and within the framework of the numerous existing networks. To establish a platform for exchange, to create points of synthesis and to align methodologies. To better use the results of foresight exercises for policy decision making.
  • Setting up of trans-national networks between sponsors and practitioners of foresight (for instance, a network of national representatives on foresight meeting twice a year to exchange information and best practices). Organization of "mutual learning workshops" addressing both policy-makers and foresight practitioners in Member States.
  • Development of tools, for stakeholders, including regional stakeholders, wishing to launch foresight initiatives. The FOR-LEARN web site (http://forlearn.jrc.es) is providing a Support to Foresight practitioners" and an "Online Interactive Foresight Guide" supports the new comers in foresight considering designing, running and using a Foresight exercise.
  • Setting up of a monitoring system on foresight in Europe (EFMN), with a web EFMN portal (www.efmn.info) as dissemination tool.
  • The direct impact of foresight studies on decision making on Science and Technology in the Member States and in the Commission cannot easily be measured. Impact on decision making is likely to have been indirect.
  • Potential users in the Commission and in the member countries are insufficiently aware of the potential of Foresight as a policy tool.
  • The community's reluctance to embrace new actors and innovation may be a limitation to the use of Foresight as a policy tool. Private sector expertise is insufficiently used.
  • Several factors explain why foresight activities have not yet reached the same state of integration and coherence at EU level as many other policy fields:
  • Foresight activities are embryonic or relatively weak in some Member States;
  • The main Foresight work is often done in national settings and targeted to specific issues. Players pursue contacts at EU level mostly on an ad-hoc basis, if at all;
  • European policies and issues are not systematically taken into account in national and regional Foresight studies.
7.2. Development of a shared vision of ethical issues in science and of technology
  • The links between the ethics committees established at national and European levels should be strengthened.
  • To help make for mutual understanding of points of view and the development of harmonious approaches there should be encouragement to open up the various national committees to experts from other European countries.
  • The rules in force and the criteria on ethics used in national and European research programmes should be compared with a view to alignment around shared principles and respect for differences in sensitivities and opinions.
  • The Forum of National Ethics Councils (NEC Forum) was formed in 2003, as an independent informal platform for exchange of information, experience and best practices. An electronic database of opinions of NECs has been established.
  • A network of Research Ethics Committees (RECs, i.e. committees which evaluate, at local and regional level, any type of research protocols involving human beings) was established in 2005 to enable mutual learning and exchange of experiences (European Network of Research Ethics Committees – EUREC).
  • A number of conferences, studies and workshops and have been organised to stimulate international dialogue, map existing rules and practises, identify best practise and encourage capacity building. Also a number of FP6 research projects focussing on ethical frameworks for new technologies have been funded.
  • The Ethical Review of projects submitted under FP6 has been fully implemented.
  • A central challenge is that the EC has no formal competence to harmonise ethics in member states; it is the realm of subsidiarity.
  • Ethics is deeply embodied in national cultures, and on a number of issues opinions diverge significantly.
  • The institutional infrastructure to address ethical issues in most member states would benefit from networking opportunities and exchange of best practice as foressen in the EUREC and NEC Forum's activities
  • Ethical issues in science often internally divide 'traditional' forms of organised representation such as political parties or consumer organisations. It is therefore difficult for representatives from such stakeholders to speak with a clear mandate on ethical issues in science.
  • Increasingly, frontier research activities take place in an international environment beyond the control of Member States (and EU) influence.
8. Developing an ambitious and extensive programme of international S&T co-operation[5]
  • Opening the European Research Area up to the rest of the world
  • S&T agreements promote interaction between the participants' knowledge systems and create excellent conditions for: Europe’s access to knowledge systems in partner countries to tackle problems of common interest. Such agreements also safeguarding intellectual property rights. Furthermore, bi-regional and bilateral dialogues have been established where an agreement is not in place.
  • New applicant countries have been associated to the Framework Programme providing full rights and access for co-operative research with Member States.
  • The number of 3rd countries where dedicated EC science counsellors are located has been increased with the addition of Brazil, Israel, Egypt, Russia.
  • Changes in the EC management of FP international co-operation projects resulted in the targets for international participation in EC funded research not being met in FP6. Efforts were made to improve this situation by, for example, dedicated international co-operation calls for proposals.
  • S&T agreements with emerging economies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Russia, India, China, South Africa) do pose some problems. Cutting-edge S&T may not address the development requirements of the majority of the population of these countries. Reciprocity clauses of these agreements give researchers in both partners access to each others' research funding. Take up of these opportunities by European scientists is severely limited by funds available in partner countries.

  • Focusing EU efforts on specific objectives
  • Through the CREST mechanism a working group has been established in 2007 which is working towards producing an inventory of international S&T co-operation activities conducted by the Member States.
  • As a result of INCO activities, research capabilities in partner regions have been strengthened.
  • Technology platforms established during 2005-6 have helped to provide industry centred strategic research agenda but these, with some exceptions such as the Global Animal Health TP, have not considered international co-operation in great depth.
  • At present there is no mechanism to determine horizontal international co-operation priorities across and between thematic areas of the Framework Programme.
  • Furthermore, only a few Member States have determined their own national strategies in this area hence there is also no explicit European mechanism to determine priorities.
  • The scale of the INCO programme in relation to the challenges faced is insufficient to have longer-term institutional effects on a larger scale

  • Stepping up international 'technology watch' activities
  • ERA-NETs with particular focus on international co-operation have been established for some regions (e.g. the Mediterranean, Balkans, China, etc).
  • The ERAWATCH network is also of relevance here (section 2.1)
  • The mission of the DG-JRC Institute of Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) is to provide prospective techno-economic analysis in support of the European policymaking process and includes consideration of developments in 3rd countries.
  • Limited effort is devoted to technology watch actions across Europe.

  • To align EU scientific co-operation policies with EU foreign policy and development aid programmes
  • Research is an important component of EU external policy and cross references to research actions are made in relevant EU external policy initiatives.
  • No formal mechanism currently exists by which an overview of coherence of potential external policy actions and international research co-operation can be assessed.

  • Enlisting EU scientific and technological capabilities to deal with world problems
  • The conclusion of the ITER agreement which brings together the European Union, Japan, the People´s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA, places Europe at the forefront of nuclear fusion research.
  • The EC is supporting a long-term partnership between Europe and Developing Countries by providing €200 million for the development of new medicines and vaccines against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB) in the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). It brings together EU Member States plus Norway, Developing Countries, other donors and industry in a joint effort to combat poverty-related diseases through more and better structured research and development that meets the needs of the populations in need.
  • Currently no mechanism (outside the Framework programme) exists to jointly identify which global issues are appropriate for an EU response or how such a response could be organised.
  • Several potential frameworks for enlisting EU S&T exist (e.g. various UN fora).


[1] http://www.protoneurope.org/news/2006/art2006/artjanmar06/2asfy2004/attachment_download/file,
http://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/docs/200605_ASTP.pdf

[2] 'Examining the design of national research programmes', December 2005, Optimat Ltd – VDI/VDE-Innovation + Technik GmbH

[3] Institut Laue-Langevin is an international research centre at the leading edge of neutron science and technology.

[4] EUREKA is a pan-European network for market-oriented, industrial R&D. EUREKA supports the competitiveness of European companies through international collaboration, in creating links and networks of innovation.

[5] Objectives and actions as defined in COM(2001)346 'The international dimension of the European Research Area'


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