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DTI punts lean, mean science programme

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The Department of Trade and Industry today published a paper detailing how the seventh EU Research and Development Framework Programme will operate. The publication recommends establishment of a European Research Council responsible for allocating grants for basic research, and a focus on the latter plus industrial research and research in support of policy.

The report also advises that research be given a higher priority within the overall budget cap of 1 per cent of gross national income, assuming that there is sufficient evidence that spending European money will produce useful results. It argues that EU funding should cover the cost of running and equipping laboratories by funding the full economic costs of research, and not just scientists' salaries and project costs.

The paper also recommends that Europe be made more attractive to top researchers by allowing them mobility and easy transfer of information.

Science and innovation minister, Lord Sainsbury, said: "There have been many successes in previous years under earlier Programmes but the system now needs a thorough overhaul. It is too bound up in red tape and does not provide applicants with sufficient support, guidance or feedback. The UK government wants access to funding across Europe to be streamlined and simplified." ®

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