The European Commission is offering billions of euros to developers of new technologies in the manufacturing, construction and automotive sectors.

The European Commission is offering billions of euros to developers of new technologies in manufacturing, construction and automotive sectors.

The Commission has earmarked a total of €3.2bn (£2.7bn) to European public-private partnerships (PPPs) in these key market areas to trigger economic recovery and make it more sustainable and knowledge-based.

It is hoped these collaborations between the Commission and industry will foster global competitiveness for European businesses, bring down the excessive energy consumption of Europe's buildings that make up one-third of European Union CO2 emissions and develop new and sustainable forms of road transport.

The partnerships are part of the Commission's European Economy Recovery Plan, an effort endorsed by the European Council on December 2008 to promote the convergence of public interest and industry commitment for research.

Janez Potocnik, EU commissioner for science and research, said: 'It is now recognised that investing in R&D is not a luxury when times are easy, but a necessity when times are hard. If Europe makes "smart" investments in strategic sectors today, this will create jobs and sustainable growth tomorrow. Through these innovative partnerships, the Commission and industry join forces to foster the development of clean technologies and to position Europe as a leader in this field. The early launch of the calls also proves our capacity to act together rapidly to respond to the research demands of the European Economic Recovery Plan.'

The Commission's first set of calls for research proposals will be officially launched on 30 July 2009. The project will begin running by mid-2010.

The Commission will initially inject €268m of research funding. From 2010 to 2013, a total of €3.2bn will be allocated.

The funds will help support, among other things, innovative manufacturing technologies that produce more and consume less energy and create less waste.

Other objectives include more energy-efficient buildings, including new constructions and greening of existing buildings, new materials and construction techniques. The funds will also help promote research into greener cars, hybrid technologies and smarter transport systems, including electrification of road and urban transport.