The leaders of the European Union vowed this week that they would make it a priority to finally wrap up a deal on the region's research and development funding program--an agreement the region's scientists have been waiting months to see.Two years ago, the European Commission, which acts as the EU's executive body, made a proposal to double EU research funding and give more emphasis to basic research unfettered by political motives. Since then, however, negotiations between member countries have seen the planned increase undergo significant cuts.When discussions over the total EU budget collapsed in 2005, any agreement on the science funding program - known as Framework Programme 7 (FP7) - was also frozen. Late last year, however, an 11th-hour agreement on the overall EU budget paved the way for FP7 negotiations to move forward.With the current program (FP6) due to expire at the end of 2006, the Austrian government has...

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