The European Community’s Sixth Framework Programmes for research, technological development and demonstration (FP6) were established in 2002 and ran until 31 December 2006. They aimed to contribute to the creation of a European Research Area and to support innovation in Europe.

In 2008, the Commission appointed an Expert Group to undertake an evidence-based, ex-post evaluation of FP6, the group meeting six times between July 2008 and January 2009. This report is the result of our work. In addition to analysing and drawing conclusions from the past, we make recommendations and formulate a vision for new dimensions of European Research and Technological Development (RTD) policy. One of the paradoxes of European RTD policy is that in successfully building connections between researchers in different European countries and developing infrastructures across national boundaries, it has to an extent fallen victim to the very disease it seeks to treat, i.e. a lack of global orientation. Some aspects of that policy now seem inwardly focused and defensive in the face of challenges posed by the globalisation of research and innovation. Hence, one of our main messages is that Europe should to a much greater extent open up and by intensifying its science and technology diplomacy seek academic as well as industrial cooperation and competition with the other parts of the world. We wrote this evaluation as the 2008 banking crisis began to trigger economic recession. Our analysis strongly supports the view that investments in research and innovation to build global competitiveness must be central to Europe’s response and that the European Framework Programmes must be key components of this response. The understanding and capabilities provided by science and technology have consistently underpinned ‘Game Changing’ developments and they again represent a historic opportunity in these times of severe problems. Using investments in science and technology to help overcome the present crisis will also, it can be hoped, lead to greater understanding and acceptance of the contribution of RTD to Europe’s economic, political and societal well being.


European Commission: Evaluation of the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development 2002-2006, Luxemburg 2009, availble online at: http://www.forschungsrahmenprogramm.de/_media/EPEG_Final_090217.pdf, as accessed on March 24, 2009.



Publication Year



European Commission

Geographical focus
  • International; Other

Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on March 24, 2009
Modified on March 24, 2009