The cluster is a defined group of RTD projects. Its aim is to guarantee complementarity among projects, to maximise European added value within a given field and to establish a critical mass of resources at the European level.
An integrated approach towards research fields and projects financed is needed to solve complex multidisciplinary problems effectively. The clusters reflect this problem-solving approach. Indeed, in a cluster projects are joined together because they complement each other in addressing major objectives in the context of a key action or a generic activity (sometimes even across different key actions or specific programmes). Clusters are expected to optimise scientific networking, management, co-ordination, monitoring, the exchange of information and, on voluntary basis, the exploitation and dissemination activities. The cluster may thus become a natural process to generate European added value, wherever it makes sense, beyond the limited resources of an isolated project.
All types of projects can be assembled and integrated within a cluster, including those funded by different EU RTD activities (key action, generic activity, infrastructure). By the same token, and as part of an overall European approach, relevant activities under other research frameworks (notably EUREKA, COST) could also be taken into account whenever this can reinforce synergy. Clusters will be set up through thematic networks or complementary clauses.
I.3.4. Gender equal opportunities
In line with the Commissions strategic approach of mainstreaming equal opportunities in all Union policies, particular account is taken in the Fifth Framework Programme of the need to promote the participation of women in the fields of research and technological development. Therefore women are encouraged to participate in proposals for the above mentioned RTD activities.
Box 1 - Bursaries for young researchers from Developing Countries
Quality of life and management of living resources
When preparing a joint research proposal1 or concerted action proposal for submission to any of the programmes, a consortium may, if it wishes, include an application for an international co-operation training bursary2. These bursaries will be funded from the budget of the Specific Programme Confirming the International Role of Community Research and are intended to allow young researchers from Developing Countries, including Emerging Economies and Mediterranean Partner Countries3 to work for up to 6 months in a European research institute participating in a FP-5 project. The bursaries will be granted for training activities only (e.g. to allow the applicant to learn a new scientific technique or for work on a particular experiment or set of experiments where the host institution has particular expertise and which cannot be performed in the home institution of the candidate).
The bursary application must be submitted together with the proposal application and will be evaluated together with it. Spontaneous, individual bursary applications will not be accepted. Inclusion of a bursary application will neither enhance nor detract from the chances of success of the proposal. Only if the whole proposal is selected for funding and the bursary application is highly rated, will the bursary be granted. A poor bursary application can be rejected without harming the chances of success of the proposal.
In order to be eligible, the bursary applicant must not be more than 40 years of age at the time of application, must
be a national of one of the eligible countries3 and be established and working in that country and intending to return there at the end of the training period. She/he must also have a good knowledge of a working language of the host institute. Applications from female researchers are encouraged.
The host institute must be established in an EU Member State or in a State Associated to FP-54 and must be a member of the consortium proposing the research project or concerted action.
Eligible bursary applications will be evaluated according to the excellence of the scientific and/or training objectives of the application, its potential value to the applicant and his/her institute and to the project as a whole, as well as the experience and professional training of the candidate.
The 6 month training period may start at any time up to 12 months from the Commission signature of the main project contract. A fixed sum will be granted to cover the cost of one (apex) return fare from the place of origin of the candidate to the host institute, and a daily allowance for the duration of the training period (based on the rates for Marie Curie Fellowships, see the corresponding brochure for applicants).
1 Research and Technological Development projects, Demonstration projects and Combined projects (see point I.3.2.a)
2 Application forms can be downloaded from the CORDIS web site page (http://www.cordis.lu/fp5) for the Calls to which you reply, or ordered from the Programmes information desk.
3 Developing countries are: African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) countries, Asian and Latin American (ALA) countries, Mediterranean countries (MC).
4 For the list of Associated States, see box 4.
Box 2 The System of Marie Curie Fellowships
As described below, there are two types of application for a Marie Curie Fellowship: individual fellowships, where individual researchers apply to the Commission for a fellowship; and host fellowships, where institutions apply to the Commission to host a number of researchers.
Marie Curie Individual Fellowships
Fellowships for young researchers at post-doctoral level or equivalent
Marie Curie Return Fellowships
Fellowships for Marie Curie Fellows, originating from a less-favoured region, to return to a less favoured region of their home country after their initial two year post-doctoral fellowship
Marie Curie Experienced Researchers Fellowships
Fellowships for experienced researchers: for the transfer of expertise and technology between (i) industry and academia and (ii) towards less-favoured regions of the European Community.
Stays at Marie Curie Training Sites
Giving young researchers pursuing doctoral studies the opportunity to spend part of their studies within an internationally recognised group, in their specialised area of research.
Marie Curie Development Host Fellowships
Fellowships for institutions located in less-favoured regions, which are active in research and have a need to develop new areas of research competence, to host post-doctoral level researchers in the area of competence required.
Marie Curie Industry Host Fellowships
Awarded to enterprises, including SMEs, for the training of young researchers, at postgraduate and post-doctoral level, in an industrial or commercial environment. These fellowships particularly aim at providing research training opportunities
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