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Competitive and Sustainable Growth

Open Call


The Open Call for proposals under the Growth Programme - "continuous submission scheme" remains open until the last year of the Framework Programme. The present document provides detailed information on Accompanying Measures and Expressions of Interest for the needs of Research; in support to research infrastructures in particular.
Separate information and participation documents are available for the SMEs specific measures, Marie Curie Fellowships and Intelligent Manufacturing Systems -IMS. An overview of these actions is provided in Part 1 of this Guide.
Other versions of Part 2 of the Guide for Proposers are available for those who wish to submit proposals for the activities implemented through Periodic and Dedicated Calls respectively.

Types of actions

The Open Calls of the Growth programme published on March 16, 1999 - Official Journal C72, invites submission of proposals for the following types of actions:

a) Accompanying Measures (indicative budget 28 million euros);

b) Expressions of Interest for the needs for research; in support for Research Infrastructures;

c) SMEs Specific Measures (Exploratory Awards and Co-operative Research - indicative budget 200 million euros from the Growth Programme);

d) Marie Curie fellowships (Industry Host Fellowships and Experienced Researchers€™ Fellowships - indicative budget 12 million euros);

e) Intelligent Manufacturing Systems - IMS (IST and Growth Programmes Joint Call for RTD proposals - indicative budget 35 million euros from each of the specific programmes).

The "action lines" or "research priorities" concerned by the call are identified in the call text.

Proposers are normally free to define the timescale and resources required to carry out their proposed work, unless guidelines are supplied in the call for proposals or the work programme, depending on the type of activity to be carried out.

Accompanying Measures

Accompanying measures (1) are aimed at contributing to the implementation of the programme, to the up-dating of the Work programme, the preparation of future activities and the dissemination of results.

For the specific case of accompanying measure proposals consisting of policy-driven research studies contributing to the specific priorities of the Key Action 2 "Sustainable mobility and intermodality", these proposals must be submitted in response to periodic calls and conform to the priorities specified in these calls. Accompanying measures on very specific topics may be included in dedicated calls.

The Open Call published on March 16,1999 covers the following types of measures:

  • Measure 1. Studies contributing to the implementation of Key Actions, Generic activities or Support for Research Infrastructures: prospective, impact assessment, or strategic studies addressing scientific, technical, socio-economic, and policy dimensions related to a specific objective or activity (e.g. targeted research action, technology platform) of the programme (2) .

  • Measure 2. Studies in preparation of future activities: proposals should address, with a European perspective, broad cross-cutting RTD policy issues related to industrial competitiveness and sustainable growth, aiming at an emerging transport problem or focus on important specific socio-economic problems/needs, emerging technologies, technological systems, industrial sectors, or changing techno-industrial clusters. They should include as appropriate a combination of the following: socio-economic challenges and opportunities, driving forces and directions of change, short/medium/long term goals for technological innovation, technological bottlenecks and research roadmaps, prospective assessment of the impacts of new technologies, comparative assessment of European capabilities, needs and opportunities for European and international RTD cooperation, technical and non-technical barriers to technology deployment, and implications for European RTD and other policies.

  • Measure 3. Innovation support actions to promote and facilitate the diffusion, transfer, exploitation and broad use of results, particularly in SMEs, through a variety of mechanisms, including, innovation support networks and events (e.g. investment fora, technology brokerage events), promotion of best practices regarding the use of well-founded and established methods and technologies, assessment actions (e.g. user needs), publications, web sites, and other dissemination actions and means aimed at various user communities (including policy makers, standardisation bodies). Actions addressing not only the technical aspects of innovation but also, where appropriate, social, organisational, management and skill related aspects are encouraged.

    Take-up measures involving significant technical work (e.g. trials, first user actions, and assessment and qualification actions) are not funded through Accompanying Measures. They should be included in or submitted as Cooperative Research, R&D, demonstration or combined R&D/demonstration projects submitted in response to relevant calls for proposals.

  • Measure 4. Awareness, assistance and information exchange actions: to increase awareness about specific objectives or activities of the programme and encourage the participation of particular communities (e.g. users and socio-economic researchers in RTD activities, SMEs in the Marie Curie fellowship schemes); to promote exchange of information between the research community, users and other stakeholders. Actions may include conferences, seminars, workshops or other scientific and technical meetings, publications, web sites, etc.

    Information and assistance actions to promote the participation of SMEs in SME specific measures (Exploratory Awards and Co-operative research projects) will normally be supported by the horizontal programme "Innovation and participation of SMEs". Exchange of information and collaboration within network of projects is supported via Thematic Networks or Concerted Actions.

  • Measure 5. Training actions in support of RTD activities of the programme (other than Marie Curie Fellowships), addressing researchers and users.

Proposals consisting of the organisation of an event (e.g.conference, workshop, exhibitions, etc.) (Measure 3 and 4) should be submitted sufficiently in advance of the planned date for evaluation (the time between the deadline for receipt of proposals and the date of the event should be at least 6 months).

Actions devoted to the commercialisation of products, processes or services, marketing activities and sales promotion are excluded. Proposed actions must have a clear European dimension and well defined and significant contribution to the relevant objective or activity of the programme and be of interest to a wider group of organisations than the proposers themselves. Financial participation can be up to 100% of the total eligible costs if the action is of broad interest and the proposers do not benefit directly from the results of the action; up to 75% for studies and up to 50% for the other types of actions if the proposers benefit directly from the results of the action (3) .

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 documents 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 documents 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) ).

Joint Call "Intelligent Manufacturing Systems" (IMS)

The Call published on March 16, 1999 also implements RTD activities under the specific programmes for RTD on a « User Friendly Information Society » (IST) and on « Competitive and Sustainable Growth » (Growth) on « Intelligent manufacturing Systems » (IMS).
The Guide for Proposers Part 2 specific for IMS is available on CORDIS or through the programme Information Desk ( (email removed) ).

SMEs Specific Measures (Exploratory Awards and Co-operative Research - CRAFT); Marie Curie Fellowships

These two actions are also implemented through the open Call published on March 16,1999.

An overview of these actions is provided in Part 1 of this Guide (Section II) and in the Growth Work Programme.

As far as the SMEs Specific Measures are concerned, they are implemented following common rules established in the horizontal programme "Innovation and the participation of SMEs". These rules include common contractual and proposal evaluation, a single complementary entry point for the reception of proposals, common rules for eligibility, common legal and financial provisions as well as a harmonised and rapid feed back to applicants. A separate information brochure is available via the "SME" Infodesk: E-mail: (email removed) or through CORDIS: /sme/home_en.html .

Marie Curie Fellowships: a separate guide is available via the Marie Curie Fellowships Infodesk: email: (email removed) or the web site: /improving/fellowships/home.htm

Proposal preparation

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

Forms have been prepared which collect the information required for each proposal - the Proposal Submission Forms . These are designed both to ensure that all necessary information is collected and also to allow a fair and equal comparison between proposals. There are several versions, differing according to the types of action proposed (RTD projects - including Demonstration projects, Accompanying Measures, Concerted Actions, etc.). Proposers must ensure they are using the appropriate form for the type of action they are proposing.

The Proposal Submission Form for Accompanying Measures is in three parts:

  • Part A collects necessary administrative information about the proposal and the proposers (e.g. proposal name, proposers€™ names and addresses, brief description of the work, total funding requested by type of expense etc.). This information is collected to assist in the preparation of a contract if the proposal is successful. It is subject to verification by the Commission services.

  • Part B (which unlike Part A is in the form of a structure or list of topics which should be followed, rather than a pre-prepared form) describes in detail the nature of the work which will be undertaken.

  • Part C (which is also in the form of a structure to be followed) then identifies and describes fully the partners and their role in the consortium and in the proposed project. Only after the evaluators have recorded their scores for Part B are they given Part C to review, except if otherwise specified.

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 Annex 1 and any additional documentation; the acknowledgement of receipt must also be included.

IMS proposals, Marie Curie Fellowship applications and applications for the SME Specific Measures also have their own forms, which are included in the specific Guides that have been prepared for these actions.

Application forms for Accompanying Measures are included in the Growth Information Package .

The form for acknowledgement of receipt, provided in PDF - Word , must be attached to the proposal in order to ease confirmation of receipt of the proposal.

Proposal preparation Tool (Pro-Tool)

The Commission has prepared a software tool (the Proposal Preparation Tool or "ProTool" ) which is available on CORDIS. This tool helps proposers to prepare the administrative and financial information of a proposal (part A) in conformity with the appropriate Proposal Submission Form. This tool is therefore used by the Coordinating Partner. A version of the tool is also available for participants, allowing them to prepare their contribution electronically for electronic communication to the Coordinating Partner.
ProTool includes help-texts and references, as well as assistance in making the forms complete and consistent and assembling part A with part B and C. Its use supports proposers as well as the Commission services with high quality and efficient entry of administrative data.
Once the proposal has been prepared with the tool, it may be sent either electronically or on paper, as preferred by the proposers.
Pro-Tool is not available in the case of Expressions of Interest for the needs.

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.
It should be noted that there is no anonymity requirement for Accompanying Measures proposals, or bursary applications.
Anonymity requirements for IMS proposals, SMEs specific measures and Marie Curie Fellowships are described in the Guides specific to these actions.

Optional pre-proposal check

The Commission services offer to make a check of pre-proposal for the eligibility of consortia and that the proposed work is within the scope of the current call. As far as the actions under the €˜continuous submission scheme€™ are concerned, please note that this service is only offered for IMS proposals . Details are available in the Guide for Proposers Part 2 specific to IMS.
No pre-proposal check service is offered for Accompanying Measure proposals and Expressions of Interest for the needs.

Notification of intention to propose

As far as the Growth programme is concerned, the Notification of intention to propose may be sent in case of electronic submission only . The co-ordinating contractor (Co-ordinator) of the proposal should prepare a request for a proposal number using the appropriate form ((Please download in PDF - MS Word ), which is sent to the Commission services via fax or electronic mail. The requested proposal number is sent back to the proposer by fax or electronic mail from the Commission. This proposal number is used to identify the proposal throughout the evaluation process.

(1) In addition to calls for proposals, certain accompanying measures will be implemented through other processes. Services to the Commission (e.g. studies) will be carried out following specific calls for tenders, to be launched as appropriate. In particular cases (see Work programme, Objective 7.4), Certified Reference Materials can be produced via a modality being developed for this purpose in co-operation with JRC-IRMM. Recourse to external experts will be based on calls for candidates. Exceptionally, unsolicited applications for a subsidy may also be supported.
(2) Note that the integration of socio-economic research in proposals for R&D, demonstration or combined R&D/demonstration projects, is encouraged where appropriate to complement or support technical research.
(3) With regards to the financial participation in Accompanying Measures covered by Periodic and Dedicated calls, details will be indicated in the additional information on the content of these calls.