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Competitive and Sustainable Growth

Expression of Interest for the needs of research;
in support for Research infrastructures

The "Expressions of Interest" is a mechanism that enables the GROWTH programme to focus on specifically identified needs related to research or research infrastructures for Europe. The process is described in the flow chart that follows. The mechanism provides a flexible and efficient approach both in targeting resources towards the most important needs in pursuit of the Community's objectives and in assisting eventual project proposers by ensuring that their efforts are directed towards those needs.

Interested parties can send to the Commission their research related needs as topics they would like to see developed, provided they are within an area covered by the "Expressions of interest" call. The topic must be presented as a brief but structured supporting document as described below.

The supporting document received by the Commission that are within scope are evaluated periodically by external experts. The evaluation will be made on the basis of the programme priorities, objectives and available budget, and the clarity of the supporting document. The selected priority topics are published in a second stage in the Official Journal of the European Community as a "Dedicated Call" for proposals (typically twice a year).

The supporting document of the published priority topics are made available to all interested parties to prepare and target their proposals in open competition.

The Call for "Expressions of interest" is applicable to the following R&D and Networking activities of the Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme :

  • Methodologies in support of European standardisation (R&D)

    The aim should be to provide research for European standards to promote compatibility of systems, prevent the duplication of effort and enable advantages of economies of scale for the competitiveness of European industry and the operation of the internal market. Priority will be given to research needed for the development of new or improved standards in support of the "New Approach Directives" and will focus upon:

    • the development and validation of measurement and testing methods,
    • the production of scientific and metrological data needed to define performance, reliability and safety criteria for products and services

    Note : The feasibility studies for Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) which are needed to support the implementation of European and international standardisation and to favour mutual recognition agreements must be submitted following the format described for feasibility studies for CRMs on the following page.

    Pre and co-normative research in the areas of agriculture, food, health, energy and the environment will be the responsibility of the relevant Thematic Programmes.

  • Methodologies in support of the fight against fraud (R&D)

    The aim should be to develop, improve and validate the measurement and testing methodologies that are needed in order to keep the know-how and technology ahead of the defrauder. The systems will help in the routine detection, control and prevention of fraud and/or provide the detailed scientific evidence that will stand up in a court of law. General methodologies used for characterisation of products in the field of food, feed and the environment are outside of the scope of this activity. Priority will be given to:

    • Characterising, mapping, tracking, and tracing procedures (including sampling) for industrial products, components, process ingredients, and consumer goods.

    • Sampling, measurements, tests, and databanks for checking the authenticity of different industrial products and components in order to detect illegally used compounds, components or undesirable (e.g. toxic) substances in relation to safety and origin.

    • Measurements and testing procedures including sampling plans, and chemometrical/ statistical techniques to establish the authenticity of (or modifications to) products, goods, etc.

    • Procedures for screening, identification and confirmatory purposes. These procedures should allow a reliable identification of the origin of products, components, and dangerous goods, as well as of product categorisation in custom tariffs and for pursuing the control of subsidies and quotas.

    • Databases for various methods used for the identification of physical, chemical, and other properties in order to speed up or improve the identification of the origin of products, dangerous goods and components.

    • Sampling, analytical procedures, and harmonised databases to detect illegal drug trafficking, to identify persons and illegally traded species; to determine the origin and age of cultural artefacts; and to permit comparison of investigation and prosecution activities (in consultation with stakeholders such as for example EUROPOL and relevant counterfeiting and industrial associations/federations).

    • Sampling, analytical procedures, and harmonised databases for the detection of doping in sport.

    The fight against fraud may require specific measures, particularly with regard to dissemination/exploitation.

  • Feasibility studies for certified reference materials CRMs (R&D)

    Research to develop the ability to produce and certify reference materials can be related to: preparation, properties of materials, sources of error in measurements and agreement between methods and laboratories, etc. The work can include the preparation of small test batches. The actual production of batches of CRMs for sale will be the subject of separate calls for tenders.

    To enable the Commission to assess priority topics it is important to demonstrate the socio-economic importance and the European dimension of a possible project. Demonstration should also be made that a similar CRM does not (anymore) exist or is not under preparation elsewhere, or which essential requirements are currently not met by current existing CRM.

    Topics for the "Expressions of interest" for CRM feasibility studies must relate to activities listed in the Work programme:

    - CRMs for European standards : CRMs representative of manufactured products to verify quality and safety standards and for the testing of materials following a standard method; CRMs in support of Directives and Community policies including the fields of agriculture, food, health care, energy and the environment.

    - CRMs for the fight against fraud : CRMs for checking the authenticity of origin of materials and components, for the identification of species, for the control of subsidies and quotas, for the verification of product category in relation to custom tariffs, subsidies and quotas, for the detection of illegal substances and dangerous goods, for the detection of illegal drugs in sport, for the determination of the origin and age of cultural artefacts, for the identification of persons.

    - CRMs for the improvement of quality (traceability and calibration) : CRMs for the calibration and performance testing of instruments, for material testing, for product testing and process monitoring, for chemical and biological analysis of industrial importance.

    Research will develop the ability to produce and certify reference materials that are fit for purpose. The planned exploitation of the results of the projects has to aim at the production and certification of the RMs in compliance with prevailing international quality standards (in accordance with the general contract rules the research consortia can transfer the intellectual property rights for the production and certification of CRMs to a third party, e.g. the Commission, see also objective 7.4).

    Type of CRM concerned :

    Topics for feasibility studies may deal with CRMs for identification, calibration or quality control purposes:

    • Reference substances, species or specimens for the purpose of identification or control of origin.

    • Reference materials for calibration e.g. transfer standards for metrology, pure substances for use as calibrants, pure substances serving as generic reference standards in chemical analysis, stable isotope reference materials, CRMs to which commercial clinical test kits would become traceable, reference materials for the validation and calibration of a range of common instrumental methods, and reference microbiological preparations.

    • Tools for quality control (certified control specimens, "matrix" CRMs including CRMs certified for composition, physical or technical properties, or effects).

  • Support for research infrastructures (Networking)
  • The aim of this activity will be to enhance the problem solving approach of the GROWTH Programme by supporting via networking activities the relevant research infrastructure. The objectives are:

    • the optimum utilisation of geographically dispersed medium and large scale research facilities;
    • the rapid transfer and implementation of RTD results into industrial applications;
    • the improvement of interoperability and common protocols.

    The "Expressions of Interest" call will cover all four categories of activities in the Work programme, as mentioned below:

    1. Support activities to medium and large-scale facilities

    These activities will aim at identifying the needs and creating networks for optimum use of medium and large scale facilities having a strong and innovative scientific, technical or socio-economic relevance to the Programme.

    Note: This activity will neither provide funding to specific RTD projects requiring the use of medium and large scale facilities (these costs should be included as eligible costs in the RTD proposal submissions) nor will it provide funding to individual researchers requiring access to medium and large scale facilities (support may be provided through the ‘Enhancing Access to Research Infrastructures’ specific action of the fourth activity "Improving Human Research Potential").

    2. Setting up of virtual institutes

    A virtual institute is a network linking geographically dispersed complementary research and industrial capabilities with the potential to become a legal and self-supporting entity. The broad aim is the rapid exploitation of RTD results into industrial applications. A degree of flexibility is foreseen so that virtual institutes may be set up in such a way as to meet the differing needs of research/industrial sectors related to the GROWTH Programme. Proposers of topics should give particular emphasis to topics that are strongly market-oriented. Eventual proposals for Virtual Institutes will need to demonstrate through a business plan that the institute can become self-financing in the longer term. Thus an outline to indicate the feasibility of the business plan should be given in the expression of interest.

    3. Reference databases

    The aim will be to provide improved access to existing databases. This could include initiatives that link data from various sources and which will be of value to European researchers and industry. The creation of so-called "platforms" of databases could for example create a single entry point of linked or related databases, other activities could aim to promote acceptability, quality, comparability and interoperability of data, particularly that produced by EU funded research.

    4. Measurement and quality management infrastructure

    The aim is to develop and strengthen the European metrology infrastructure, to reinforce traceability and to improve cohesion of metrology systems and to promote the "measured once accepted everywhere" philosophy. Such activities could for example cover:

    • transnational traceability chains and accreditation activities (including intercomparisons) particularly at inter-regional and candidate member state level and in the less developed metrological sectors;

    • mutual recognition agreements for calibration capabilities of laboratories; and for the quality certification and accreditation measures via harmonisation and integration of accreditation and certification audits;

    • the capability of National Metrology Institutes and Official Control Laboratories to set up international traceability systems including for example intercomparisons, in particular for metrology in biology and chemistry;

    • the development of user-friendly guidelines needed for the certification and use of CRMs and other quality control tools such as proficiency tests and statistical control charts in order to improve international cohesion;

    • the harmonisation of implementation associated with novel quality management and accreditation standards;

    • helping consumer associations and industry to develop and test guidelines for good practices for the organisation of comparative studies on products and services.


When? What? Refer to
Call for Expressions of Interest
Open from March 1999
until 30 April 2001
Call for expressions of interest in the areas and for the objectives covered by this procedure

Interested parties prepare brief definition and justification of need (max. 6 page "supporting document")
Publication in Official Journal,
Info. pack and this guide on request
Any time until
30 April 2001
Submission of supporting documents

Typically twice per year
until final evaluation in
Spring 2001
External experts evaluate
the "supporting document"
Same information as supplied to proposers

Identification of priority topics
Typically twice per year
Until Summer 2001
List of priority topics published as
a dedicated call
Publication in Official Journal,
Info. pack and "supporting document" on request

Organisations or individuals seeking further information on this call are invited to contact the programme Information Desk ( (email removed) ).

Proposal language

Proposals may be submitted in any official language of the European Union. If your proposal is not in English, a translation of the full proposal would be of assistance to the evaluators and an English translation of the abstract and proposal summary should be included in part A of the Proposal Submission Form.

Proposal structures and submission forms

The submission of a topic for the Expressions of Interest for the needs of Research; in support to Research Infrastructures Call should comprise the following elements: the specific administration form (with name, institution, address and other co-ordinates); the supporting documents (in the form of a given structure to be followed) as provided in Guide for Proposers Part 2 (Download in PDF - ZIP/MS WORD ) ( or alternatively consult the Open Calls of March 16, 1999 ) and any additional documentation; the acknowledgement of receipt must also be included.

The form for acknowledgement of receipt is also included in the above-mentioned Guide for Proposers Part 2, must be attached to the proposal in order to ease confirmation of receipt of the proposal.

Proposal anonymity

The supporting documents to be prepared for the Expressions of Interests of the needs for research; in support for Research infrastructures must be anonymous.

Submission of proposals (Expressions of Interest for the needs)

If the proposal has been prepared on paper following the format given in the appropriate Proposals submission Form, it may be submitted on paper to the European commission. If the proposal is made with the Pro-Tool and is then printed out on paper, this paper version may also be submitted.

If the proposal has been made with the Pro-Tool it may be submitted electronically. This electronic submission may be made by any member of the consortium (not only the Co-ordinating partner). The partner who makes the submission must obtain certification (see below) so that electronic submission can be securely carried out.

The co-ordinator has to have in his possession either the original signatures of the participants who would contribute to the funding of a project (i.e.) principal contractors and assistant contractors (or the commitment letters from the participants stating that the co-ordinator is authorised to submit the proposal on behalf of the consortium and that the proposal is agreed by the partners.

Please note that electronic submission is not applicable for the Expressions of Interest for the needs. All topics for the Expressions of Interest call must be submitted in paper form, with a copy (including administrative information) on floppy disk, preferably in Word format.

Acknowledgement of receipt

Once a proposal, either electronic or paper, has been received and registered by the Commission, an acknowledgement of receipt will be despatched. Proposers who do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt within three weeks after the deadline, and fear their proposal is lost, should contact the programme Infodesk. Proposers are reminded that it is their own responsibility to ensure the safe delivery of their proposal.

Type af action
Opening/closing dates
Deadlines for receipt
Call for Expressions of Interest for the needs for research:

- Measurements and Testing (objectives 6.2.1, 6.2.2, 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.3)
- Support for Infrastructure (objectives 7.1 to 7.4)

15 March 99 / 30 April 2001
30/4/99, 15/6/99, 15/12/99, 15/6/2000, 30/4/2001

Delivery of proposals (Expressions of Interest)

Proposals must be submitted before the deadline by one of the following methods:

  • Post, preferably registered, as confirmed by the postmark, to:
    European Commission
    DG XII-C.O - GROWTH 1999
    The Research Proposal Office (ORBN 8)
    Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200
    B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
  • Courier (2) or hand-delivery, as confirmed by acknowledgement of receipt, to:
    European Commission
    DG XII-C.O - GROWTH 1999
    The Research Proposal Office (ORBN 8)
    Square Frère Orban 8
    B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

Footnotes :
(2) For courier services that require a telephone number for the recipient, please use +32/2-296.02.45