The working group on science policy was set up straight from the start of EuroScience. One of its major goal is to support whenever possible policy decisions in favour of the European research community and of science and technology in general. This prompted us to set up a series of propositions to improve the management of the Framework Program 5 in 1997 and of Framework Program 6 in 2001, or to organise a debate within the European Parliament on the role of the MEPs in research policy at the eve of the European elections of 1999.
One of our major work concerns the project from European commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin on a European Research Area. This project (lien vers: http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/index_en.html) provides a global analysis of the present state of research in Europe and puts forward a number of proposals for improvement in the European research effort. The workgroup, following an extensive consultation with all Euroscience members, drew up a detailed document which included comments on the various analyses and proposals contained in the Commission's communication as well as some concrete suggestions and constitutes Euroscience's answer to the commission which was sent to commissioner Busquin. Following the publication of a more precise document by the commission, highlighting the guidelines proposed for EU research activities in the next few years, a complementary analysis was also elaborated and given to the commission. The European Commissioner Philippe Busquin presented the perspectives opened by his communication at a meeting organized jointly by Euroscience and the French Association for the Advancement of Science (AFAS), on December 2000.
The workgroup will continue to follow closely the development of the commission's proposals and will also provide a detailed analysis on the plan proposed by ESF for the creation of a European Research Council in the next few months.
National research policies are also of interest to us since we advocate a stronger link between national and European research policies, and a questionnaire was sent to all candidates for the French presidential election, whose responses were summarized in a press release from AFP. A similar questionnaire is being prepared for the future German general elections.
Another of our current interest concerns the European policy regarding biotechnologies (GMOs, use of stem cells, gene patenting etc), subjects which are of great public concerns. We therefore reacted to the Fiori report propositions to the European Parliament in November 2001 by sending a letter to all MEPs and sending a press release (lien vers: PR20011128.doc) summarizing our position. In addition, we expressed our position regarding the French project of law on bioethics submitted to the parliament in January 2002, particularly on stem cell research, in a paper published on the web site of La Recherche.
We also wish to encourage all institutions which foster scientific exchanges and discussion within Europe. This is the reason why we are developing a project of European award for best practice in Ph.D. programmes for European universities.
In order to possibly be able to respond to the numerous policy decisions which affect the R&D at the European scale and to set up suggestions and propositions beneficial for the science community, we are always trying to gather information from among the various decision centres. In this respect, we need the help of all Euroscience members, so do not hesitate to contact us if you are aware of particular information relevant to our work or if you feel we should react on a specific subject, and why not: join us !