Archive pour juin 2008

EU Funding: EURAXESS: Putting researchers on the road to success

Lundi 30 juin 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants and individual fellowships to allow researchers to enrich their career by mobility experience, abroad or in other sectors

The European Commission is making it easier than ever before for researchers to increase their employment opportunities and network with other researchers and organisations with the launch of the EURAXESS web portal

To stay ahead of the competition, the EU needs to further cement itself as a leader in scientific research. While opportunities exist in Europe for researchers, these often gets drowned out in the ‘noise’ of other events or lost in a plethora of web sites.

This sentiment was mirrored by the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik who made the importance of EURAXESS quite clear.

EURAXESS provides a single access point to information and support services. This portal assists researchers and their families in moving to and pursuing careers in another Member State.

The EURAXESS web portal offers four initiatives focussing on jobs, services, rights and links.

EURAXESS Jobs takes over from the former European Researcher’s Mobility Portal, and operates as a recruitment tool which will be constantly updated with job vacancies for researchers throughout Europe.

EURAXESS Services, formerly the ERA-MORE Network, helps researchers and their family to organise their stay in a foreign country. EURAXESS Rights sets out the rights and duties of researchers and their employers; this is based on the European Charter and Code. Finally, the EURAXESS Links service, formerly ERA-Link, is a networking tool for European researchers working outside Europe.

Also at the launch was Philippe Busquin, Member of the European Parliament and former EU Research Commissioner. He joined Janez Potocnik and research partners from across Europe to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the European Researcher’s Mobility Portal which is embedded in the new EURAXESS Web Portal.

 
  Source:
Cordis
 
 

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EU Funding: Erasmus programme receives award for the second time in 2008

Lundi 30 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for students and teachers mobility projects, for networks and partnerships in the field of higher education

The EU’s Erasmus Programme, which promotes student and staff exchanges in higher education, has been awarded the “Chemical Engineering Medal” from the University of Valladolid, Spain

The award, handed over on 27 June 2008, is a recognition of the programme’s contribution to academic and professional performance in chemical engineering, a section of Valladolid’s university in which almost 80 % of students participate in an Erasmus exchange. This is already the second award Erasmus received in Spain this year.

The President of the Chemical Engineering Section at the University of Valladolid, Prof. Maria José Cocero Alonso, handed out the “Chemical Engineering Medal” to the EU’s Erasmus programme at the 2008 graduation ceremony on 27 June 2008.

According to the University of Valladolid, student and staff mobility has always been considered as one of the most relevant aspects in its undergraduate and graduate training. In recent years, almost 80 % of its chemical engineering students spent at least one semester at one of the university’s 27 partner universities across Europe under an Erasmus exchange agreement.

The Erasmus programme is a sub-programme of the EU’s global programme in the area of education and training, the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). Erasmus has an overall budget of approximately € 3.1 billion for the period 2007-2013, and aims at enhancing the quality and reinforcing the European dimension of higher education as well as at increasing student and staff mobility.

Currently, more than 3,100 higher education institutions in 31 countries in Europe participate in the Erasmus programme, which has so far supported 1.7 million students.

Founded in the early 13th century, the University of Valladolid is Spain’s oldest university and therefore the forerunner of many other prestigious universities in the country. The university has about 3,500 staff with campuses in four cities, enabling over 30,000 students to choose from more than 100 study programmes, 17 postgraduate programmes and 50 Master’s programmes. Since the beginning of the Erasmus Programme, the University of Valladolid has been an active partner and the leading European university in the mobility of teaching staff under Erasmus. More than 180 lecturers and 800 students from the university move abroad and at the same time more than 850 European students come to study in Valladolid, which holds the number 20 spot of the top 100 European universities under Erasmus.

This is already the second award for Erasmus in 2008: in May, the programme received the “Prize for Excellence in integrating young people into the workforce” from the NoviaSalcedo Foundation of Bilbao, Spain.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU Funding: Young Photographers Competition: INSTINCT

Lundi 30 juin 2008

Photography students from all around the world are invited to take part in this competition

Up to 60 entrants will be selected to have a sequence of work included in the shots Directory 2009, along with their contact and college details. The overall winner will have his or her work featured on the cover. The Directory has a different theme every year. For 2009, the theme is INSTINCT.

shots showcases cutting-edge creativity in global advertising. Launched in 1990, it provides ideas and inspiration for creative people internationally as well as being a source of information for the industry.

 
  Source:
Youth portal

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EU Funding: European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award 2007

Vendredi 27 juin 2008

On Friday, June 27 at 18:30, the exhibition about the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2007 opens at the Triennale di Milano, where it will remain on view until August 10

In addition to the Prize-winner and the Emerging Architect Special Mention, this exhibition includes the jury’s selection of 38 shortlisted projects, providing a unique overview of current European architectural production and the vitality, diversity and high-quality that characterise it.

In addition to photographic panels, texts and audiovisual documentation, featured are 33 models made expressly by the architects of the respective works for this exhibition

 
  Source:
European Commission Culture Portal

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EU Funding: IST research in Europe: good, but could do better

Vendredi 27 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 6th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration aimed at creating the European Research Area
 Grants for the development of both hardware and software technologies and applications at the heart of the creation of the Information Society
 Individual grants for training and career development of researchers
 Grants for research projects to develop products, service and process innovation and creativity through the use of ICT for citizens, businesses, industry and governments

EU funding for information society technologies (IST) research under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) has helped make Europe a world leader in a number of key areas, including high-speed networking and nano-electronics. Nevertheless, systemic changes are urgently needed to remove the remaining barriers to innovation which are preventing the full exploitation of research results

This is the key message from a new report on the effectiveness of information society research under FP6. The report, entitled ‘Information society research and innovation: delivering results with sustained impact’, was written by a panel of six experts chaired by former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho. The experts’ aim was to analyse how EU research spending could be improved in order to boost Europe’s competitiveness. The report was presented to the EU’s Information Society Commissioner, Viviane Reding, who said it should serve as ‘a wake-up call’ for policy makers responsible for economic and research policy and budgetary rules.

On a positive note, the report notes that much of the IST research carried out under FP6 would probably not have happened without EU funding. Furthermore, many of the researchers brought together in these EU-funded projects have remained in close contact, forming long-lasting, pan-European networks.

In addition to high-speed networking and nano-electronics, areas where EU investments have reinforced European leadership include mobile communications, advanced robotics, quantum communications and complex systems, the report states.

Among other things, Mr Aho and his colleagues call for greater synergies with venture capital investment, regional innovation strategies and public procurement procedures. The experts also recommend that public-private partnerships such as the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) be consolidated.

Another recommendation concerns international research cooperation. ‘If the best researchers from around the world participate in the framework programme, it will also become more attractive for the best European researchers,’ the report reads.

The report recommends that participation from both developing and industrialised non-European countries be encouraged.

The experts also warn against trying to become a world leader in every area. Instead Europe should focus its research effort areas where it already has an advantage and where Europe has the opportunity to take the lead. Furthermore, the work programme should remain flexible, so that it can take into account the latest developments and challenges.

‘The Aho Report has rightly concluded that the effectiveness of Europe’s high-tech research is too often stifled by red tape, a lack of venture capital and a risk averse mentality in both national and European administrations,’ commented Mrs Reding. ‘The consequences to be drawn from the Aho Report will have to be discussed intensely by the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and also the European Commission itself under the forthcoming French Presidency.’

Mrs Reding pledged to address the issues raised by the report in a Communication to the European Parliament and Council in autumn this year.

Between 2003 and 2006, the EU invested over €4 billion in information society research; during the same period, the Member States and private companies spent some €100 billion. In the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) theme has a total budget of €9.1 billion, more than any other theme.

 
  Source:
Cordis

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EU Funding: Budget report 2007 confirms better management but warns time is running out for unspent funds

Vendredi 27 juin 2008

The latest data on EU spending shows, once again, the growing trend for higher investment in long-term economic progress and employment

The Financial Report 2007 also reveals how the first budget of the new programming period 2007-2013 and of an enlarged EU-27 saw the share of funds for new members increase, while the biggest overall recipients remained the same as 2006. High spending (almost the entire 2007 budget left EU coffers) confirms active budget management is bearing fruit. However lessons for future spending must be drawn from the unspent funds on which Member States lost out last year. Ensuring the continuous, effective absorption of all funds is vital.

Out of the €114 bn spent in 2007, a massive €44 bn (38.4%) went on growth and employment – a 3.7% rise on 2006 and higher than funds for farming, where market expenditure and direct payments enjoyed almost a €43 bn share (37.4%). 2007 also saw 10.5% (€12 bn) of EU cash go on rural development, fisheries and environment and over 5% (€7.3 bn) was spent on EU actions abroad.

Most of the 2007 funds - over 92%, or €105 bn – were spent on the ground in the EU’s 27 Member States with the four biggest recipients taking almost half of the total budget. France held on to its position of overall top recipient, with €13.9 bn, followed by Spain (€12.8 bn), Germany (€12.5 bn) and Italy (€11.3 bn). The EU-12 made steady ground with their share of spending growing from 12.9% in 2006 to 17% in 2007 –five and a half billion more. Poland benefited most, receiving €7.8 bn (7.4%).

The division of payments for agriculture and cohesion show a similar picture to 2006. For farming and rural development, France stayed in first place, taking more than €10 bn - nearly 20% of agricultural spending. Spain followed with €7 bn (12.9%) then Germany with €7 bn (12.8%). Italy and the UK were next in line with €6 bn (11%) and 4.2 bn (7.9%) respectively. Of the EU-12, Poland received the biggest share, €3.1 bn (5.8%). As in 2006, the top cohesion policy beneficiary was Spain, taking €5.4 bn or 14.7%. Greece moved up to second place with €4.6 bn (12.4%), followed by Italy and Germany. Poland also moved up the cohesion policy ladder, ahead of Portugal, France and the UK.

However, 2007 also saw €227m lost in unspent funds from the previous programming period (2000-2006). Under the n+2 rule, Member States lose committed money that is not claimed as a payment within two years. The highest 2007 loss was €66m for Germany, but the largest share lost was in Luxembourg: €3.5m - nearly a quarter of their funding - and the Netherlands which lost €19.9m, over 4% of its total funding. The only EU-12 losers were Slovenia (€0.2m) and Slovakia (€1.4m). From the EU-15 only Ireland and Finland avoided any losses.

Speaking to the media, Commissioner Grybauskaitė stressed how the loss of funds in 2007 serves as a harsh warning for next year.

Although the budget 2007 grew by €8 bn (+6.9% on 2006), it remained stable in terms of EU wealth, staying at 0.93% of EU GNI like the previous year. The nominal increase was mainly due to the arrival of Romania and Bulgaria.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU Funding: Commission opens up new prospects for transport links with the Western Balkans

Jeudi 26 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the frame of the Trans-European Networks for transport

The European Commission opened on june 24th negotiations on a treaty establishing a Transport Community with the Western Balkans

This first meeting, held in Brussels with the region’s Transport Ministers, will be followed in the autumn by technical meetings with a view to concluding the Transport Community Treaty in 2009.

The treaty aims to establish an integrated market for infrastructure and land transport, maritime transport and inland waterways and to align the relevant legislation in the Balkans region with the EU legislation, so as to enable transport users and the general public to benefit sooner from the advantages of accession.

The treaty will help to accelerate the integration of the transport systems and to harmonise rules on safety, environmental protection and services. A Transport Community is a solid way to foster cooperation, stability and peace in the region.

Also, for the Balkans, this Community will go alongside the rapid development of a region with exceptional economic potential, providing a major boost to sustainable economic growth and the revitalisation of the rail networks.

For the EU, the Transport Community will help to promote stability and prosperity throughout Europe. It will also allow our trans-European transport network to expand and contribute to the further development of our internal market.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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EU Funding: Lower charges, greater consistency, more competition: Commission consults on bringing down mobile phone tariffs in Europe

Jeudi 26 juin 2008

Aiming to spur competition among operators and lower phone charges for European consumers, the Commission today starts a public consultation on the future regulation of “voice call termination rates” in the EU based on a draft Commission Recommendation on termination rates

Voice call termination rates are the wholesale tariffs charged by the operator of a customer receiving a phone call to the operator of the caller’s network. Included in everyone’s phone bill, and therefore eventually paid by the consumer, these tariffs are determined by the intervention of national telecoms regulators. At the moment the decisions of the national telecoms regulators result in very divergent rates across the EU. Mobile termination rates range from €0.02/min (in Cyprus) to over €0.18/min (in Bulgaria) and are 9 times higher than fixed line termination rates (on average €0.0057/min for local call termination). This distorts competition between operators from different countries and between fixed line and mobile phone operators. The public consultation on this proposal will be open until 3 September 2008.

The Commission, after assessing over 770 regulatory proposals by national regulators over the past 5 years, warned today that price regulation of termination markets across Europe lacks consistency. It said that gaps between fixed and mobile termination rates and between mobile termination rates imposed by national regulators cannot be altogether justified by differences in the underlying costs, networks or national characteristics. This could have the following negative effects:

* Legal uncertainty and increased regulatory burden for operators providing cross-border services.
* National regulators bringing down mobile termination rates in their country risk punishing their own mobile industry if a neighbouring regulator still allows higher rates.
* Investment in new networks and services hampered if operators face different regulation in every country.

At present, fixed operators and their customers are indirectly subsidising mobile operators by paying higher termination rates for calls made from fixed lines to mobiles. This cross-subsidisation is estimated at €10 billion in Germany for 1998-2006 (WIK Consult) and €19 billion in the UK, Germany and France for 1998-2002 (CERNA-Warwick-WIK).

The Commission today presented a draft Recommendation for convergence of termination rates in Europe, including clear principles on which cost elements should be taken into account when national telecoms regulators determine termination rates, an efficient costing methodology, and symmetric regulation (where the same price caps apply, within a country, to mobile and fixed operators, respectively). This will help foster an effective regulatory environment and avoid distortions such as cross-subsidies from fixed to mobile consumers. The advice of the European Regulators Group (ERG), which has made several attempts towards more consistent regulation of termination rates since 2006, was taken into account by the Commission in the draft Recommendation.

Background

The Commission will issue the final text of the Recommendation on the regulatory treatment of fixed and mobile termination rates in October under article 19 of the Framework Directive of the EU Telecom rules, which allows the Commission to further harmonise the application of EU Telecoms rules in the single market to promote competition and consumer benefits. Member States have to ensure that national regulators take “the utmost account” of Commission Recommendations.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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EU funding: Commission launches debate on relations with Overseas Countries and Territories

Mercredi 25 juin 2008

The Commission today tabled a Green Paper on the future relation with Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), aimed at launching a broad debate on the EU–OCT relations.

Following the public consultation, the Commission will propose a new partnership that takes better account of the special characteristics and present economic situation in the 21 islands .

Because of their special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the UK, OCTs are closely associated with the EU. For historic reasons, the current relationship was very much modelled on the relationship with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) Such an agreement does not correspond to the specific social, economic and environmental challenges faced by OCTs today.

The Green paper is intended to launch a broad discussion on the opportunity of replacing the current agreement with an innovative partnership for the OCTs. Any future partnership should be tailored to their specific status, needs, challenges and potential whilst also recognising the close link, mutual interest and solidarity between the OCTs and the EU. Any future partnership should fully or partly replace the current one when the present Overseas Association Decision expires on 31 December 2013.

The Commission will hold a online consultation covering these issues from 1 July to the 17 October 2008.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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Eu funding: The Commission launches Single European Sky II for safer, greener and more punctual flying

Mercredi 25 juin 2008
 
 

The European Commission adopted today the second package of legislation for a Single European Sky (SES II).

These proposals aim to further improve safety, cut costs and reduce delays. That will in turn mean lower fuel consumption, so that airlines could save up to 16 million tons of CO2 emissions and cut their annual cost by between two and three billion euros. This full reform of the European air traffic management system will be key to managing the doubling of traffic expected by 2020. Not only airline passengers, but also freight forwarders and military and private aviation will benefit. The package will create additional jobs in aviation. Meanwhile, European manufacturing industry will gain from being at the forefront of innovation in air traffic management technology (i.e. satellite based systems - Galileo, datalink, etc.), thus giving it a competitive edge on global markets.

The SES II package is based on four pillars: updates to existing legislation from 2004; the SESAR ATM (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) Master Plan or ‘technological pillar’; the ’safety pillar’ and an airport capacity action plan.

The first pillar introduces several enhancements to the original SES legislation, including binding performance targets for air navigation service providers, a European network management function to ensure convergence between national networks and a definitive date for Member States to improve performance ,initially through a cross border cooperative approach known as Functional Airspace Blocks.

The new package places environmental issues at the core of the Single European Sky and improved air traffic management should realise its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. Prospective improvements are up to 10% per flight, which amounts to 16 million tons of CO2 savings per year and a reduction of annual costs by €2.4 billion.

The technological pillar focuses on introducing better technology. The SESAR programme brings together all aviation stakeholders to develop and operate a new generation, Europe-wide air traffic management system. Its deployment will enable the safe, sustainable and cost-effective handling of twice the current traffic by 2020.

The safety pillar provides for increased responsibilities for the European Aviation Safety Agency. This would ensure precise, uniform and binding rules for airport safety, air traffic management and air navigation services, as well as sound oversight of their implementation by Member States.

Finally, the airport capacity pillar tackles the shortage of runways and airport facilities, which currently threatens to become a major bottleneck. The initiative seeks to co-ordinate better airport slots issued to aircraft operators with air traffic management measures as well as the establishment of an airport capacity observatory to fully integrate airports in the aviation network.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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