Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Specific programme of research and technological development, including demonstration, to be carried out for the European Community by the JRC (direct actions) - Targeted socio-economic research -, 1995-1998

Framework programme


Programme funding

EUR 33 million

Official Journal Reference

L 361 of 1994-12-31

Legislative Reference

918/94/EC of 1995-12-15
Institutional research activities focused on prospective technological studies and on the operation of the European Science and Technology Observatory; Institutional scientific and technical support activities intended to provide the services of the Commission in charge of sectoral policies (such as the environment, transport, energy, information technology, science policy, regional development, etc.), and other interested public and private bodies, with independent and neutral background information and analyses concerning scientific and technological developments and innovations.


Under Fourth RTD Framework Programme (1994-1998), the JRC carries out both institutional research and institutional scientific and technical support activities for the specific RTD programme in the field targeted socio-economic research.

JRC direct actions have two components: institutional research activities, which are described as those for which the JRC has expertise and special, if not unique, facilities in the Community which contribute to the implementation of the RTD policy of the Community; and institutional scientific and technical support activities, which are defined as those activities which are necessary for the formulation and implementation of Community policies and other tasks undertaken by the Commission which necessitate the neutrality of the JRC.

The strategic and prospective studies already carried out by the JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) in the energy, transport and the environment sectors are to be consolidated and expanded during the period 1995-98. (These studies comprise, for example, reviews of scientific evidence emerging from research in progress and analysis of different policy options). In particular, the JRC is to further develop its relationship with DG XII by supporting work being conducted on other R&D activities, such as indicators, analysis, drafting of biannual reports, etc.

With regard to institutional research, the European Science and Technology Observatory (ESTO) of the JRC's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies is to provide the European Parliament, the Commission and any other interested public or private bodies with an information service on progress in science and technology. It is further responsible for ensuring surveillance of scientific developments and technological innovation. These services may contribute to an analysis of the situation in the Community and in the rest of Europe in a global context, as well as to an analysis of the technological strategies of economic operators (industry, public authorities, etc.). Particular attention is to be paid to making JRC expertise in this area available to the Parliament, notably through its Scientific and Technological Options Assessment (STOA) programme.

To complement the above information service, a technology watch system is to be established at a European level to provide Community decision-makers with accurate and up-to-date information on the comparative state of R&D in Europe and the potential impact of scientific and technological breakthroughs. The technology watch system is to cooperate with existing units and organizations in the field at both Member State and local level.

In order to improve communications and to avoid duplication of effort, the ESTO is to work in cooperation with Eurostat and establish close links with European organizations (such as ESA, CERN, Eureka, etc.) and the OECD. Moreover, it is expected that it will act within the European Technology Assessment Network (ETAN) which consists of various similar observatories in certain Member States (including the Parliament's STOA unit) and which cooperates with academic and industrial experts responsible for evaluating the relevance, development and impact of scientific and technological breakthroughs.

The institutional scientific and technological support activities are focused on gathering basic information and analyses on scientific and technological developments and innovation in order to provide policy options for, and assistance in, the formulation and implementation of Community policies. Through its impartiality, the JRC is in a position to provide independent opinions, in particular by taking account of the results of studies carried out by both private and public bodies in the Member States (e.g. experts, consultants, institutes, etc.) in the fields in which it has acquired competence. The output will not only contribute to decision-making at the Community level, but may also be of use to public authorities in the Member States and to businesses.


Institutional research:

- Prospective technological studies:
Operation of the European Science and Technology Observatory (ESTO) providing an information service on scientific developments and technological innovations, including trends, and acts as a base to undertake complex prospective technological studies. Activities include:
. An information service on current scientific and technological work which focuses mainly, though not exclusively, on publicly funded R&D projects in the industrialized countries, international organizations and, more specifically, the Member states. The service provides an up-to-date picture of S&T underway in the main domains, producing surveys of research in progress and comprehensive indicators on the evolution of European S&T;
. A technology watch system, the role of which is to detect, at a European level, new scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations at an early stage and to alert Community decision-makers as to their implications and the consequences for technological research and the industrial system.

Institutional scientific and technical support activities:

- Prospective technological studies:
Studies, which are performed at the request of Commission services, should include the following:
. Studies concerning the analysis of European science and technology policy, in particular those aspects of the scientific/technological system which have a direct impact on technological innovation and industrial competitivity;
. Studies concerning the evaluation of environmental measures, their relation to business and to employment, as well as studies concerning the policy implications of issues related to global change;
. Prospective studies on the energy system, including long-term energy technologies, their potential and ultimate scope, the R&D effort and the time-scale necessary for their exploitation, and the prospects and implications of alternative energy scenarios;
. Strategic studies of large European infrastructure systems, in particular transport systems, including the assessment of future transport technologies, the elaboration of medium- and long-term transport scenarios and the study of strategic options open to decision-makers and management authorities;
. Studies for indirect support to RTD policies such as analyses of indicators, contribution to the elaboration of the biannual report on science and technology and development of a central role in the European Technology Assessment Network (ETAN).


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) contributes to the activities of the specific RTD programme in the field of targeted socio-economic research (1994-1998) through the implementation of institutional research and institutional scientific and technical support activities (See definition in the "General Information" section of this record). The work is carried out at the JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) which is located at Seville.

The Commission, assisted by the Board of Governors of the JRC, is responsible for the implementation of these activities in accordance with the Decision adopting the specific programme of JRC direct actions to be carried out in support of certain programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme and the activities to be carried out within the framework of a competitive approach and intended for scientific and technical support to Community policies.

In the implementation of institutional activities, the JRC is required, when appropriate and feasible, to participate in, or organize networks of, public and private laboratories in the Member States or European research consortia. Particular attention must also be paid to cooperation with industry, especially with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

On the basis of the criterion of mutual benefit, the JRC may, at the request of the Commission, execute projects with legal entities established in third countries, provided this is deemed to make an effective contribution to the implementation of JRC activities. Legal entities from third countries may not, however, benefit from Community financing under this programme. Particular attention is paid to cooperation with research laboratories and institutes in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and in the independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Under the programme, provision is made for a number of accompanying measures, which include:

- The organization of visits to JRC institutes of grant holders, visiting scientists and seconded experts;
- Organization of the secondment of JRC staff to national laboratories, industrial laboratories and universities;
- Systematic exchange of information, through the organization of scientific seminars, workshops, colloquia, scientific publications, etc.;
- Specialized training with an emphasis on multidisciplinarity;
- The independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the performance of the projects and programmes.

The total funds estimated as necessary for the execution of JRC direct actions under the Fourth Framework Programme is ECU 600 million, of which a sum of ECU 33 million is reserved for the implementation of direct actions in support of the specific programme in the area of targeted socio-economic research. The global JRC budget includes provisions for exploratory research (approximately 6% of the total) and the JRC's budget contribution necessary for its participation in shared-cost actions. Approximately one-third of the global budget is ear marked for the institutional support activities.

The Commission will continuously and systematically monitor progress in the implementation of actions under the programme, paying particular attention to assessing whether the objectives, priorities and financial resources of the various actions are still appropriate.

Before 15 April each year, the Commission is required to submit an annual report, on the implementation of the JRC actions under the specific programme of research, technological development and demonstration to be implemented by the JRC under the Fourth Framework Programme. In addition, the Commission is required to organize an external assessment conducted by independent experts of the specific activities covered by the JRC programme and their management during the five years preceding this assessment. The results of this assessment, together with the annual reports, will be communicated to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.
Record Number: 544 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05