The European Union’s (EU) sixth framework funding program (FP6) can be summed up in three words: innovation, integration, and administration. This latest reincarnation of the five-year funding scheme is designed to boost scientific and technological excellence across a united Europe, generating a strong and internationally competitive research base. Considerable emphasis is being placed on collaboration: between individuals and groups from different fields; between university academics and industrialists; and between partners from East, West, and Central Europe. Projects will be larger, goals more ambitious, and budgets increasingly generous. Competent management will consequently be more important than ever before.There was little razzmatazz and chest-thumping in evidence at November’s official launch of FP6, the EU’s main vehicle for funding scientific research in Europe. Commission officials appeared quietly confident as they unveiled new plans for investment in scientific and technological projects (all subject to last minute change, of course). Draft documents were subsequently tidied and necessary revisions made, as consultative committees gave their final seal of approval. Initial calls for proposals have now been issued. Let the funding bonanza begin!

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(03)00235-9