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On 4 March 2005, the Council of Ministers approved the research programme “Science for a Sustainable Development” (2005-2009) - SSD. This research programme is the continuation of the first and second Scientific Support Plan for a Sustainable Development Policy (SPSD I (1996-2001) and SPSD II (2000-2005)). Compared to SPSD I and II, the Programme integrates new themes, namely "Health and Environment" and "Standardisation". On 9 July 2010, the Council of Ministers approved the contination of the programme for 2010.

The programme SSD is composed of 8 priority research areas: Energy, Transport and mobility, Agrofood, Health and environment, Climate (including Antarctica), Biodiversity (including Antarctica and the North Sea), Atmosphere and terrestrial and marine ecosystems (including Antarctica and the North Sea) and Transversal Research.

At the moment, 115 research networks are financed including 10 clusters for a total amount of 70 M€.

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