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November 26th, 2007
EU gives cautious go-ahead to research institute
European Union ministers have agreed in principle to establish a research organization to spur innovation and growth, but funding remained unresolved even as several countries jostled to host the so called "European Institute of Innovation and Technology."
At a meeting in Brussels, EU research minters also approved research initiatives worth Euros 9.3 billion ($13.8 billion) for electronics, computers, medicines and aerospace.
The projects include a Euros 3 billion effort into nanotechnology; Euros 2.7 billion for a computer project; and a Euros 1.6 billion initiative for cleaner and quieter aircraft. Companies would fund as much as 60 percent.
The Institute initiative was originally proposed two years ago by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who envisaged a Euros 2.3 billion ($3.43 billion) campus-based institute that would work in the same way as the rival Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. It was to be called the European Institute of Technology (EIT), the moniker that will still be used for the initiative.
The plan approved last Friday (Nov. 23) in Brussels is a much watered-down version of the original idea because of skepticism amongst many member states as well as the European Parliament.
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