The 6th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) was a collection of actions at European Union (EU) level to fund and promote research. It was active between 2002 and 2006, with a budget of 17.5 billion euros for that period, which represented about 4-5 % of the Research and Technological Development (RTD) overall expenditure in the EU Member States. The 6th Framework Programme was intended as one of the main tools for the creation of the European Research Area (ERA) by integrating and coordinating research in Europe. It has now been superseded by the 7th FP, for the 2007- 2013 period.
The 6th Framework Programme was structured according to three main blocks of activities:
Integrating and strengthening the ERA. The first programme had a budget of 13.345 billion, and established seven priority areas of added value for Europe, also attending to fulfill the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and the collaboration with specific groups of third countries.
- Life sciences, Genomics and Biotechnology for Health: it focused mainly on integrating post-genomic research into the more established biomedical and biotechnological approaches, and discussing theirs ethical matters.
- Information Society Technologies: RTD about future generation of technologies integrating computers and networks into the everyday environment.
- Nano-technologies and nano-sciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials, new production processes and devices: it attempted to set a scientific base for fostering the transition from a resource-based industrial production to a more environment-friendly one.
- Aeronautics and Space: this area consolidated and concentrated RTD efforts in the context of the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe and the European Strategy for Space.
- Food Quality and Safety, for improving health of European consumers through a higher quality and a better control of food, also changing the “farm-to-fork” paradigm to “fork-to-farm” (priority of consumers demand against producer interests).
- Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems, dedicated to implement a sustainable development model in the short and in the long term in several dimensions, and unifying international efforts for mitigating adverse effects of global change.
- Citizens and Governance in a knowledge-based society, which tried to study the new forms of relationships between its citizens, and between citizens and institutions.
Furthermore, this programme promoted networking and joint actions of national and European initiatives in research and innovation.
Structuring the ERA; A budget of 2.605 billion was allocated to this specific programme, which covered four areas of activity:
- Research and innovation;
- Human resources and mobility;
- Research infrastructures;
- Science and society.
Strengthening the foundations of the ERA. This programme had a budget of 320 million. The activities carried out under this heading aimed to step up coordination at national and European levels and to support the coherent development of policies and activities in Europe as regards research and stimulating innovation.