Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Fourth Framework Programme of European Community activities in the field of research and technological development and demonstration, 1994-1998

Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 11 879 million

Official Journal Reference

L 126 of 1994-05-18

Legislative Reference

1110/94/EC of 1994-04-26
To implement research and technological development (RTD) programmes and demonstration programmes by promoting cooperation with and between enterprises, research centres and universities; to promote cooperation in the field of Community RTD and demonstration with third countries and international organizations; to disseminate and optimize the results of Community RTD and demonstration activities; and to stimulate the training and mobility of researchers in the Community.


The activities covered by the Fourth Framework Programme must contribute to the attainment of three fundamental objectives: support to the competitiveness of European industry; contribution of science and technology to the satisfaction of society's needs; and, support to the Community's common policies. In keeping with the Community's industrial policy and in order to meet society's growing needs, research activities must contribute to a series of other objectives, such as:

- Efficient and safe infrastructures;
- To ensure technological and industrial integration within the internal market (in particular by strengthening coordination between RTD policy and standardization policy);
- To anticipate technological and industrial changes so as to that greater account is taken of market and society's needs;
- To increase the synergies between international cooperation in science and technology and the Community's external activities;
- To ensure efficient dissemination, throughout the whole economic and social system, in particular to small and medium-sized undertakings, of the scientific and technological advances made;
- To produce efficiently, cleanly, safely and in a way which is environmentally friendly on the basis of modern organization of production taking into account human factors;
- To promote environmental protection as an opportunity for industry to increase its competitiveness;
- To promote quality of life, with emphasis on health care and hygiene;
- To encourage the mastering of new technologies.

In pursuing these objectives, the Community undertakes four main activities, as described in Article 130(g) of the Maastricht Treaty:

- First activity:
Implementation of RTD and demonstration programmes, by promoting cooperation with and between undertakings, research centres - including the JRC - and universities. This first activity consists of 13 specific programmes covering information and communications technologies, industrial technologies, the environment, life sciences and technologies, agriculture and fisheries, non-nuclear energy, transport and targeted socio-economic research;

- Second activity:
Promotion of cooperation in the field of Community RTD and demonstration with third countries and international organizations. This activity covers various related forms of Community intervention, including international scientific and technical cooperation activities hitherto undertaken outside the framework programme. Cooperation is based on the principle of mutual benefit and aims to reinforce the Community's capacities in the field of science and technology and to support the implementation of Community policies as regards third countries;

- Third Activity:
Dissemination and optimization of the results of activities in Community RTD and demonstration. This covers all RTD themes and aims to ensure the widest dissemination of research results, to facilitate their optimal exploitation, to support technology transfer (particularly to SMEs), and to support initiatives at national or regional level in order to give them a Community dimension;

- Fourth Activity:
Stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers in the Community. The objective of this activity is to promote the training and mobility of Community researchers in fields, including those of fundamental research, not eligible for support under the first activity.

The scope of the Fourth Framework Programme has been determined on the basis of one of the new RTD provisions introduced in the Maastricht Treaty and incorporates the guidelines set out in the Commission's Communication "Research after Maastricht: an assessment, a strategy" (SEC(92) 682). Under the Maastricht provision, the programme is to encompass all Community RTD activities, whatever their form and whichever common policy they fall under, including basic research, basic industrial research, applied research, technological development, and demonstration projects. As under previous framework programmes, all these activities are explicitly confined to the pre-competitive stage.

Also to be included are measures which up until now have been implemented outside the programme, namely APAS ("Actions de preparation, d'accompagnement et de suivi"). The most obvious case is international scientific cooperation. Measures which up until now have been executed on an annual basis are now subject to multiannual planning. The same applies to measures with a multiannual horizon, such as SPRINT, and to the horizontal measures needed to define, implement and support RTD policy (studies, exploratory and evaluation activities, promotion, support and coordination activities). Measures which are not significant in size and are based on a demand that varies from year to year (e.g. JRC technical support services to other Commission Directorates-General) are included in the programme and are to be implemented with the procedural flexibility required.

A separate Council Decision concerning a framework programme of Community activities in the field of research and training for the European Atomic Energy Community (1994-1998) was adopted at the same time as the Fourth Framework Programme (Council Decision 94/268/Euratom).


The scientific and technological objectives are built around four activities:

- First activity (ECU 10,045 million):
Research, technological development and demonstration programmes:

Information and communications technologies (ECU 3,626 million):
. Telematics (ECU 898 million);
. Communication technologies (ECU 671 million);
. Information technologies (ECU 2,057 million);

Industrial technologies (ECU 2,125 million):
. Industrial and materials technologies (ECU 1,818 million);
. Measurements and testing (ECU 307 million);

Environment (ECU 1,150 million):
. Environment and climate (ECU 907 million);
. Marine sciences and technologies (ECU 243 million);

Life sciences and technologies (ECU 1,674 million):
. Biotechnology (ECU 588 million);
. Biomedicine and health (ECU 358 million);
. Agriculture and fisheries (including agro-industries, food technologies, forestry, aquaculture and rural development) (ECU 728 million);

Non-nuclear energy (ECU 1,067 million):
. Non-nuclear energy (ECU 1,067 million);

Transport (ECU 256 million):
. Transport (ECU 256 million);

Targeted socio-economic research (ECU 147 million):
. Targeted socio-economic research (ECU 147 million);

- Second activity (ECU 575 million):
Cooperation with third countries and international organizations;

- Third activity (ECU 352 million):
Dissemination and optimization of results;

- Fourth activity (ECU 792 million):
Stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the Fourth Framework Programme through specific programmes, each of which shall determine its precise objectives along the lines of the scientific and technological objectives set out in Annex III of this Decision, define the detailed rules for implementing it, fix its duration and provide for the financial means deemed necessary. The implementation of the Fourth Framework Programme may also give rise to the establishment of supplementary programmes.

A specific programme is also established to cover activities carried out by the JRC in support of Community R&D policies during the period 1994-1998. Under the Fourth Framework Programme, the JRC is to progressively compete for the funds available under the activities of the framework programme, other than direct action, including support activities which are suited to a competitive approach.

Research under the Fourth Framework Programme is conducted according to the following principles:

- Focusing financial resources on a limited number of subjects selected for their specific added value (shared-cost activities);
- Encouraging the integration of national, Community and European research activities by appropriate means (thematic networks of excellence, concertation networks, consortia for integrated projects).

Alongside the traditional networks established under previous framework programmes, the following means may be used:

- Thematic networks bringing together interested parties for a particular technological or industrial objective in order to facilitate the integration and transfer of knowledge and technologies and to ensure that fuller account is taken of the needs of the market;

- Concertation networks organized with the support of the Commission along the lines of what has already been carried out in the past, for instance in the biomedical programmes;

-Consortia for integrated projects along the lines, as in previous framework programmes, of the fusion programme.

Community research, technological development and demonstration activities should complement the activities undertaken in the Member States and focus on clearly defined objectives. Community RTD and demonstration activities must form part of projects to be assessed on the basis of their scientific and technical excellence, with priority being given to:

- Projects which allow closer integration of the research being conducted in the Member States, at Community level and within other European and international cooperation forums;
- Projects which make it possible to respond as effectively as possible to the Community's objectives regarding economic and overall industrial competitiveness.

Exemptions to these general rules may only be made under the conditions set out in each specific programme.

To ensure flexibility, a limited amount of financial resources may be set aside in each specific programme for unsolicited proposals (mainly from SMEs, technical centres and research organizations) which have to be processed very quickly (technology promotion).

New mechanisms are to be set up for taking into account projects within the EUREKA framework outside the timetable for Community calls for proposals. The financial resources to be allocated to this activity may be included on an indicative basis in the work programmes for the Community programmes. This may also apply to projects which are part of a research activity within other European scientific and technological cooperation forums.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the Fourth Framework Programme amount to ECU 11,046 million, including ECU 600 million for participation of the JRC and ECU 91 million for programmed scientific and technical support activities in the first area of activity. In addition, a sum of ECU 37 million is earmarked for ad hoc scientific and technical support for other policies which is to be allocated on a competitive basis. The Council has the power to raise the overall budget to ECU 11,641 by June 30 1996 at the latest.

A separate budget of ECU 1,254 million has been established to cover research activities pursued under the framework programme of research and training activities for Euratom, 1994-1998.

The financial participation of the Community in RTD activities undertaken within the specific programme takes the form of:

(a) Indirect action:
- Shared cost actions with third parties:
. For RTD projects, including consortia for integrated projects, not more than 50% of the costs of the project with a progressively lower participation the nearer the project is to the market place. Universities, higher education establishments and other research centres which do not use analytical budget accountancy will be reimbursed on the basis of 100% of the additional costs;
. For thematic networks and training and mobility of researchers: 100% of the additional costs;

- For measures appropriate for certain specific programmes, such as feasibility awards: up to 100% of the costs of the measures;
- For preparatory, accompanying and support measures: up to 100% of the costs of the measure;
-For concerted actions consisting of the coordination of RTD projects, such as concertation networks: up to 100% of the costs of the concertation.

(b) Direct action:
For direct action carried out by the JRC consisting of RTD programmes or parts of programmes, as well as scientific and technical and support activities of an institutional character: normally 100% of the costs;

(c) Competitive support activities:
For scientific and technical activities in support of other Community policies which are suited to a competitive approach: normally 100% of the costs.

There may be no derogation from these general rules, except under the conditions set out under each specific programme. The rules concerning the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in Community RTD activities are published in the Official Journal of the European Communities No L 306 of 30.11.1994. The rules concerning the dissemination of the research results from the specific programmes, as well as the rules for participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in research and training activities of Euratom, are contained in the same volume of the Official Journal. The Commission will continuously review the implementation of the programme to ensure that its objectives, priorities and financial resources remain appropriate to the changing situation. On the basis of this review process it shall, where appropriate, submit proposals to adapt or supplement the programme.

At the beginning of each year, the Commission is required to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council with information on RTD activities and the dissemination of results during the previous year, together with the work programme for the current year.

In addition, each specific programme will be systematically monitored and, on completion of the programme, will provide an independent evaluation assessment to the Council and the European Parliament.
Record Number: 342 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05