Quality of life and management of living resources
for young researchers without any previous industrial experience.
Further information on the system of Marie Curie Fellowships and application forms may be obtained from its web site (http://www.cordis.lu/improving/home.html) or from the IHP Programmes information desk.
II. The Specific Programme: Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources
II.1. Programme objectives
Economic and political developments in Europe have resulted in greater prosperity, increased life expectancy and better working conditions. These improvements have, however, been accompanied by challenges, such as higher health-care costs, an ageing population, environmental degradation and heightened ethical concerns. A gap has become increasingly evident between the availability of natural resources and human activities. Paradoxically, this has occurred just as there is an "explosion" in the knowledge base concerning the structure and function of all living things, pointing towards new developments in, for example, health-care, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food.
This programme aims to unlock the resources of the living world and improve the quality of life. To achieve this, the links between discovery, production and end-use must be consolidated. The needs of society and the requirements of the consumer are paramount and research must lead to quantifiable future wealth and job creation, while respecting the principles of sustainable development.
II.2. Programme strategy
The strategy of this programme is to focus on specific areas where the growing knowledge base should provide solutions to some of the pressing needs of society that need to be tackled on a European scale. Fundamental ethical values must be respected.
Based on the criteria laid down for selecting the major research themes for the Fifth Framework Programme, emphasis in this programme will be placed on the following:
European added value. This will be achieved by addressing specific cross-border challenges, such as improving health and managing and exploiting renewable natural resources. Themes such as drug abuse, biosafety, bioethics and issues related to agriculture, forestry and fisheries should reinforce the scientific base in support of Community policies. Indeed many of the activities addressed in the programme, such as genomic research, neurosciences, infectious diseases, ageing and disabilities sustainable management and utilisation of forestry resources, fish management and human, animal and plant diseases, due to their size and complexity, are more meaningful if they are addressed at the European level.
Social objectives. Research must be developed which promotes health and quality of life, secures safe and wholesome food, preserves and restores a healthy environment, stimulates rural and coastal communities, improves response to consumer needs and facilitates information flow to the consumer.
Economic development. The huge potential for economic growth and job creation must be realised, both in the traditional industries, including primary production and in the rapidly growing high technology industries dominated by small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). To contribute effectively to European competitiveness and employment, results must be transferred from research into commercially successful products and processes. Intrinsic to this approach is the effective use of demonstration, training, dissemination and exploitation of research results, along with stimulation of innovation and entrepreneurship.
II.3. Programme structure and contents
The programme is primarily built around six specific key actions that are goal-oriented and problem solving. The key actions are targeted at identifiable socio-economic and market needs, such as improving quality and safety of food; controlling infectious diseases; harnessing the power of the cell; health and environment; sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries, integrated rural development, sustainable development; and promoting healthy ageing. A unique feature of key actions is their response to Community policy objectives, in areas like agriculture and fisheries, industry, consumer protection, environment and health.
In addition, the generic activities of the programme aim to build up through RTD the knowledge base in identified areas of strategic importance for the future, in relation to chronic and degenerative diseases, genomes, neurosciences, public health, persons with disabilities and ethical and socio-economic issues surrounding the life sciences. Support for research infrastructures, dissemination and exploitation of results, training and an increased role for SMEs, and entrepreneurship are also an integral part of the programme.
The following section represents a short overview of the programme structure and contents. Detailed objectives and RTD priorities are specified in the Work Programme. Be sure to consult the current version, since the Work Programme is revised periodically.
II.3.1. Six key actions
1. Food, Nutrition and Health
To improve the health of European citizens by providing safe, healthy and varied food products. RTD priorities include the development of safe and flexible manufacturing processes and technologies, the detection and elimination of infectious and toxic agents throughout the food chain, and gaining a more profound understanding of the role of food in promoting and sustaining health.
2. Control of Infectious Diseases
To combat established, emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases, linked to old, new or mutated infectious agents in humans or animals. RTD priorities include vaccine development; strategies to identify and control infectious diseases; and aspects of public health and care delivery systems.
3. The "Cell Factory"
To help the Communitys enterprises exploit the advances made in life sciences and technology, particularly in the fields of health, environment, agriculture, agro-industries and high value-added products. RTD priorities include developing innovative health-related processes and products; energy-efficient bioremediation and waste biotreatment processes; and new biological processes from cell factories.
4. Environment and Health
To tackle environmentally related health issues. RTD priorities include diseases and allergies related to or influenced by the environment; risk assessment and risk management processes to reduce causes and harmful environmental health effects.
5. Sustainable Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Integrated Development of Rural Areas including Mountain Areas
To implement innovative approaches to production and exploitation and to improve the quality of life, RTD should concentrate on: Competitiveness and its direct implications for employment in rural and coastal areas, especially in light of the need to adapt to the evolution of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, to the evolving world trade situation and globalisation
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