Archive pour janvier 2009

On the path to answer to the energy demand all over the world?

Vendredi 23 janvier 2009

The Commission has announced that it will allow an access to all the European researchers working in the sustainable energy (nuclear fusion)to the national supercomputers the more efficient in Europe (DEISA). The reason for this decision? A progress could be done in this field, creating a huge sustainable energy source, able to meet the energy demand all over the world

This will allow them to carry out complex parts of their work, such as simulations of a fusion reactor’s operation. DEISA, Europe’s distributed high-performance computing service, uses Europe’s GÉANT (MEMO/08/133), the world’s largest computer network to share the huge amounts of data and processing power of Europe’s supercomputers, and is receiving €26 million from the EU from 2004-2011. The scientists are part of an ongoing global research project, ITER (latin word for ‘the path’), that aims to demonstrate the potential of fusion power as a clean, safe and lasting power source. Possible sources of fusion fuel are widely available, and one gram of fuel could provide as much energy as 11 tons of coal. The Commission is promoting the researchers’ access to European supercomputing facilities to contribute to the work of ITER the world-wide fusion energy experiment that is being built in France.

fusion power, involves scientists from 25 European countries and all over the globe, and is being built in France (Cadarache, South of France).

Today the Commission announced it will give these scientists access to DEISA (Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications), Europe’s consortium of leading supercomputing centres, which will provide them with essential supercomputing services and support for fusion related simulations. Supercomputing simulations play a crucial role in the design of fusion power plants and optimise their performance during operation.

DEISA currently operates 12 of the world’s 100 most powerful supercomputers, providing Europe’s leading scientists with a powerful, unified and easy to use supercomputing environment.


The European Commission’s research programme funds efforts to optimise Europe’s best research infrastructures, to help create pan-European research interest to support the creation of novel research infrastructures and to help industry strengthen its knowledge base and technological know-how.

More information on research Infrastructures:

The European Commission funded the DEISA project under research programmes from 2002-2006 and 2007-2013 with a total €26 million. DEISA is a consortium of leading national Supercomputing Centres in Europe to advance computational sciences in the area of supercomputing. The consortium operates a Europe-wide complex high performance computing infrastructure. More than 160 European research institutes and universities (and others from North and South America, Asia and Australia) use DEISA.

ITER is a joint international research project that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. The partners in the project are the European Union (represented by EURATOM), Japan, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the USA. ITER will be constructed in the South of France (Cadarache). Europe is the leading partner contributing near half of the total resources both in terms of personnel and funding.

The Cohesion Policy to deal with the crisis - Danuta Hübner in Austria

Vendredi 23 janvier 2009

Commissioner Danuta Hübner, in charge of the Regional Policy, will visit Austria on Monday 26 January to talk about what can be done by the Commission to help regions to face the crisis. She will also get information on research projects in the region, partly funded by the European Union’s Cohesion Policy.

On the morning of her visit, Commissioner Hübner will address the members of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Vorarlberg Parliament. Her speech will focus on measures proposed by the European Commission in response to the economic and financial crisis. The measures include extra advance payments from the cohesion budget to encourage investment – Austria as a whole will receive an extra EUR 30 million in 2009 – and further simplification of the rules for accessing regional development grants.

The Commissioner will congratulate Vorarlberg for being one of the first regions in Europe to demonstrate that its management and control systems for monitoring EU payments are in line with the Commission’s updated rules, aimed at ensuring EU funding is used efficiently. This means Vorarlberg is in a position to invest in new projects on the ground immediately.

During her visit, Commissioner Hübner will also hold talks with the Landeshauptmann (regional governor), Dr Herbert Sausgruber, and the Lantagspräsident (President of the regional Parliament), Gebhard Halder. They will discuss the objectives of the new Cohesion Policy programme for Vorarlberg, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in 2007-13 (see MEMO/07/177). The programme is expected to trigger a total investment of €110 million (six times the level of EU assistance). The programme aims to create 450 new jobs, of which 50 will be in the R&D sector, to increase the region’s renewable energy capacity and to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 400 tonnes/year. Protection against natural risks such as avalanches and flooding is a priority for the programme.

In the afternoon, Commissioner Hübner will visit several projects led by the University of Vorarlberg (Fachhochschule) in Dornbirn, including the Institute for Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics. This research institute is, until 2012, coordinating a project called STEP (Shaping and Transformation in the Engineering of Polysaccharides), part of the Seventh Framework programme of the EU for Research and Development. The project aims to promote increased use of renewable and biodegradable fibres to replace petroleum-based materials. (ERDF contribution: €217.000).She will also see the Research Centre for User-Centred Technologies which offers companies a regional contact for efficient R&D cooperation and support for research laboratories.

Vorarlberg is also actively involved in the Bodensee cross-border programme (total budget of €40 million) together with Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. This is a pilot project aimed at enhancing territorial cooperation among the Alpine regions, following the example of the Baltic Sea regions. It focuses on environmental protection and natural risk management (see MEMO/08/485).

Commissioner Hübner will complete her visit by travelling to neighbouring Liechtenstein for talks on cross-border cooperation with Prince Alois.

Note for editors:

In 2007-2013, Vorarlberg will receive support worth €17.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The region will also benefit from the national programme supported by the European Social Fund (EU contribution: €472 million), and from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development which represents €3.9 billion for the whole Austria.

Launch of the 2009 European Parliament Prize for Journalism

Jeudi 22 janvier 2009

For its second edition, the European Parliament Prize for Journalism will award prizes in the following categories : print media, radio, TV and the internet.

Any work published or broadcast between 1 May 2008 and the closing date of 31 March this year is eligible. Journalists can enter individually or as part of a team of up to five people.

Articles or reports that are entered will be shortlisted in each country before being submitted to an award jury of three MEPs and six journalists who will make the final decision.

The 2008 winners included the BBC’s Shirin Wheeler for her weekly EU politics programme “The record: Europe”.

The award for best internet article went to Finnish reporter Pete Pakarinen of “Verkkouutiset” for his piece on illegal migration into Europe.

2009 is an essential year for Balkans integration to UE

Jeudi 22 janvier 2009

During the visit of European commissionner for Enlargement Olli Rehn in Slovenia, the EU’s enlargement agenda was discussed.

Yesterday, Commissioner Olli Rehn was visiting Slovenia to discuss the outlook for the EU’s enlargement agenda for 2009, in particular as regards the region of the Western Balkans. Following the meeting with the Prime Minister Borut Pahor, Commissioner Rehn stated: “I welcome Slovenia’s strong commitment for stability and progress on the Western Balkans. We have reviewed the outlook for 2009 which is going to be an important year for the EU integration process of the Western Balkans.” In the meetings with his Slovenian counterparts Commissioner Rehn also discussed the state of play in Croatia’s EU accession negotiations. They explored ways forward concerning the border issue and the accession negotiations. He also met President Danilo Türk and Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar.

A more attractive European Research Area which still meet difficulties

Jeudi 22 janvier 2009

Despite of an increasing attractivity of the European Research Area, the European R&D activity increases hardly.

The 2008 Science, Technology and Competitiveness (ST&C) key figures report published today provides for the first time an overview of progress from 2000 to 2006 in both EU R&D investment and in implementing the European Research Area (ERA). It shows that Europe’s pool of researchers is growing and the EU is becoming more attractive for foreign researchers and for private R&D investments from the US. However, the stagnation of the EU-27’s R&D intensity (R&D expenditure as % of GDP) at 1.84% is denting the EU’s ambition to become a globally competitive knowledge-based society. Despite increased investment in research by many Member States and an improved efficiency of their research systems, the EU is still far from reaching its Lisbon target of investing 3% of GDP in R&D. A continued low level of business R&D investment, linked to an EU industrial structure with a smaller high tech sector than in the US, hampers the EU’s performance. The 2008 Innovation Scoreboard published in parallel provides detailed results of EU innovation performance. Both reports prove that the EU must change its industrial structure, gear up on innovation and ensure more and better use of R&D.

The main findings of the ST&C report 2008 show that

1. Research is a key competitive asset in a globalised world.

Major S&T players have emerged, notably in Asia. Knowledge is more and more evenly distributed with the EU now accounting for a share of less than 25%. The ERA must become more attractive, open and competitive on the global scene.

2. The overall EU R&D intensity is stagnating but this hides diversity at the national level.

All EU Member States have increased their expenditure in R&D from 2000 to 2006, which shows their commitment to the Lisbon strategy. However, GDP experienced the same rate of growth over the period, which meant that R&D intensity stayed at around 1.84% since 2005[1]. Between 2000 and 2006, 17 Member States, mainly those which are catching up, have increased their R&D intensity, but 10, representing 47% of EU GDP, have seen their R&D intensities decrease. Japan has increased its R&D intensity from 3.04% to 3.39%, Korea from 2.39% to 3.23% and China is catching up fast, going from 0.90% to 1.42%.

3. Private Sector Investment intensity still too low.

The main reason for the R&D intensity gap between the EU and its competitors is the difference in business sector R&D financing, which decreased in the EU from 2000 to 2005 while it increased substantially in the US, Japan and China. This is mostly due to the smaller size of the research-intensive high-tech industry in the EU. Building the knowledge intensive economy requires structural changes towards higher R&D intensities within sectors and a greater share of high-tech sectors in the EU economy. This requires framework conditions that favour the development of fast-growing high-tech SMEs, the development of innovation-friendly markets in Europe and cheaper access to EU-wide patenting.

4. Excellence in research: a growing pool of researchers a still lower capacity of knowledge exploitation than competitors.

The number of researchers has grown twice as fast in the EU as in the US and Japan since 2000, even if the share of researchers in the labour force is still lower. As regards impact of research, the EU still ranks as the world’s largest producer of scientific knowledge (measured by publications), but contributes less than the US to high impact publications.

5. An increased attractiveness to foreign investments and S&T professionals.

The EU has been attracting a growing share of private R&D investments from the US despite the rise of Asia as a new R&D location. In 2005, US affiliates made 62.5% of their R&D investments in the EU and only 3.3% in China. It has also been attracting a growing number of S&T professionals from third countries.

BLES project: innovating in the waste sector

Jeudi 22 janvier 2009

The BLES project (Blended Learning Environmental Science) implemented on Gozo Island in Malta, aims at supporting innovation transfer across the European waste sector.

The transfer is made possible through the unique ‘Blended Learning’ concept, which combines internet-based learning modules with face-to-face meetings in participating countries. Somewhat surprisingly, an arts institution (Gozo’s Wistin Camilleri Gozo Centre for Art and Crafts) is participating in BLES with outstanding results.

Each year, Europe produces about 1.3 billion tonnes of waste, of which 150 million tonnes is biological. Most organic waste around the world is simply dumped untreated, resulting in ballooning quantities of methane gas (considered a culprit of climate change). This organic waste, however, has huge potential for biodegradability, and could be used more efficiently for energy production. BLES has taken the lofty responsibility of educating Europe about these benefits. BLES is funded by the European Union and is partly based on existing projects and their results, particularly the projects known as European RecyOccupation Profile, and European Waste Sector Assistant (EUWAS).

During its participation in ‘RecyOccupation’, Gozo’s Wistin Camilleri Gozo Centre for Art and Crafts (GCAC) was able to recycle waste material and develop new biodegradable products that can be used for the manufacture of artisan products as well as for use in packaging. Waste material was not only able to be recycled but also became a source of employment, team members said.

Now GCAC is embarking on the second phase of the BLES project, which hopes to provide an online learning course for workers in the field of waste management. ‘The Eco-Recycler - Treatment of Biodegradable Waste’ course aims in particular at exploiting the potential resource of biodegradable waste.

GCAC has already received responses from 33 high school students keen to participate in this course. Through online tuition and teaching support at GCAC, these participants will receive certificates that will eventually help them when they apply for related jobs.

Due to BLES, a new qualification is now possible for workers who have to manage organic waste fractions. Ultimately, this project seeks to create and evaluate a training level that is uniform across every European state. Currently, qualification levels differ greatly from one European country to another.

185 European cities covered by the new smart tool to development.

Jeudi 22 janvier 2009

Whether big or small, European cities need reliable and comparable urban planning information for safe, sustainable and prosperous development.

This year, for the first time, 185 cities from all 27 EU Member States, will benefit from the “Urban Atlas”, which has been produced by the European Commission and Member States with the support of European space technology.

Compiled from thousands of satellite photographs, the Urban Atlas provides detailed and cost-effective digital mapping, ensuring that city planners have the most up-to-date and accurate data available on land use and land cover.

The Urban Atlas will enable urban planners to better assess risks and opportunities, ranging from threat of flooding and impact of climate change, to identifying new infrastructure and public transport needs. All cities in the EU will be covered by the Urban Atlas by 2011.The Urban Atlas is part of the implementation of the Global Monitoring of Environment and Security (GMES) service. It is financed with the support of 1 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and full operability is foreseen for 2011.

Due to economies of scale, the mapping cost of EUR 2.45 per square km yields at least a tenfold reduction of costs compared to other mapping methodologies. The Urban Atlas maps provide a pan-European classification of city zones, allowing for comparable information on density of residential areas, commercial and industrial zones, extent of green areas, exposure to flood risks and monitoring of urban sprawl which is important for public transport planning in suburban areas.

The first edition of the Urban Atlas will be delivered in 2009 to 185 cities (see Annex for a complete list). The Urban Atlas covers all EU capitals and a large sample of large and medium-sized cities participating in the European Urban Audit, a data collection covering over 300 cities in the EU. Future editions of the Urban Atlas are planned in 3-5 year intervals, to complement the Urban Audit exercise.

The Urban Audit is co-financed by the European Commission and managed in close consultation with National Statistical Institutes in all EU Member States.

Agenda 2009 : the Commission makes the local authorities participate

Mardi 20 janvier 2009

For the second time, the local authorities, represented notably by the President of the Committee of the Regions, will meet the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. It aims at taking into account the problematics and interests of the regions for the priorities 2009.


Regions for Economic Change conference - Conference on 16/17 February

Mardi 20 janvier 2009

You have until Monday 2 february to register to the annual ‘Regions for economic change’ conference of the European Commission. The 2009 RegioStars award ceremony will take place during this event. You can register on the website. More than 500 participants are expected!

The European Commission is holding its annual ‘Regions for economic change’ conference under the title “Regions for Economic Change – Networking for Results” on 16 and 17 February. The two-day event is organised by the European Commission’s Regional Policy Directorate-General and other Commission services in cooperation with the Committee of the Regions. Deadline for registration is Monday 2 February.

The conference will also include the 2009 RegioStars award ceremony, rewarding original, inspiring and innovative projects funded under Cohesion Policy, and the launch of the 2010 RegioStars award categories. The list of 25 finalists has been drawn up by an independent Jury of experts.

More than 500 participants from regions all over Europe are expected to attend the conference. The aim is for practitioners in European regional policy to showcase examples of good practice and have an opportunity to translate success stories into mainstream policy and programmes. In nine workshops and four plenary sessions, politicians, academics and experts will debate and discuss projects, strategies and experiences focused on cooperation, within the context of implementing the 2007-2013 programmes.

European Border Breakers Award Ceremony 2009

Mardi 20 janvier 2009

The European Border Breakers award has been rewarded on January the 15th to 10 artists during the Eurosonic / Noorderslag fetival. Those artists can benefit of this opportunity to make themselves known in the European market.

Music and television legend Jools Holland presented the show and performed with his orchestra together with Ruby Turner and Gabriel Rios, a previous EBBA award winner. Gabriel Rios praised the award as a glittering asset on artist’s cv’s and a means of getting more performances abroad.

This years’ show was developed in cooperation with the European Broadcast Union, many of who’s partners showed interest in the show and will be highlighting the award winners’ work throughout their network.

This greatly helps open up the European market to debut artists by highlighting their music during the broadcast.
It also helps raise awareness of Europe’s rich musical cultural diversity in pop music more generally.