Boosting research investment by 2010 to match the expenditure of global competitors is a top priority for the European Commission. The latest step toward the goal came April 30 with the adoption of the Commission document "Investing in research: an action plan for Europe." If European Union (EU) member states follow its precepts, Europe's research investment level will be hoisted from its current average of 1.94% of gross domestic product (GDP) to 3%, bringing it closer to the national levels of the United States and Japan.

"This is Europe's chance to boost its competitive potential and ensure sustained improvements in peoples' quality of life," said Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin.

One key measure in the plan is establishment of "European Technology Platforms." These will be groups of experts and stakeholders in key areas of technology, including genomics, nanotechnology, information technology, and transport. These are intended to develop...

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