In 2004 the Research Framework Programmes (FPs) had their 20th anniversary. From their inception in 1984 until now, with the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the FPs enjoyed steady growth and might, if present intentions for the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) become true, experience even higher growth in the future. The record of the FPs is truly astounding. What was inconceivable when the European Union (EU) was founded is now daily practice in the European RTD community: enterprises, universities and research institutions from all member states collaborate with great ease to create new scientific and technological knowledge for the good of society. .