Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Specific programme of research and technological development, including demonstration, to be conducted for the European Community by means of activities to be carried out within the framework of a competitive approach and intended for scientific and techn

Framework programme


Programme funding

EUR 128 million
To provide scientific and technical support, within the framework of a competitive approach, to the implementation of certain specific programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme.


Support activities under the Fourth Framework Programme are carried out by two means. Firstly, there are the Joint Research Centre (JRC) direct actions which comprise institutional research and institutional scientific and technical support activities. These require the JRC's unique expertise and neutrality and, as such, are conducted exclusively by the JRC. Secondly, there are scientific and technical support activities which do not require the neutrality of the JRC and are implemented on a competitive basis where the JRC, together with other research bodies and centres, universities and undertakings may bid for contracts from the Commission.

The areas under the Fourth Framework Programme which are covered by the competitive approach are listed in the "Subdivisions" section of this record.


S&T support may cover:

- Information technology:
Activities intended to enable the Commission to pursue the Community's information technology policy, notably in fields such as software technology, components and systems, or multimedia technology, as well as in other priority fields such as, for example, high-performance computing systems, microprocessing systems and the integration of such technologies into a professional environment;

- Measurements and testing:
Activities may be aimed at the development of non-destructive test methods for mechanical structures and the software needed for the development of Community standards in the field of structural mechanics, in particular for structures used in construction or, more broadly, civil engineering;

- Environment and climate:
Activities are aimed at supporting the Commission's regulatory activities in the general framework of environmental policy, including the development of analytical methods and the implementation, through a network of analytical laboratories, of test series on atmospheric pollution, water quality, waste and land-based pollution.
One particular activity will be the use of aerospace remote sensing methods for the surveillance of tropical forests, desertification and marine productivity.
Some subjects concerning the regulation of industrial hazards and some measures relating to industrial safety, including biotechnology, may be the subject of a support activity;

- Agriculture and fisheries (including agro-industry, food technologies, forestry, fish farming and rural development);
Support activities in this field may contribute to:
- The application of remote sensing techniques to agriculture by the gathering of images and the handling and treatment of data;
- A series of tests for quality control in food products;
- Evaluation of phytopharmaceutical products, notably with regard to those aspects linked to their launch on the market;

- Non-nuclear energy:
Support activities under the competitive approach include:
- Handling and processing of information from projects carried out under Community programmes, in particular demonstration projects;
- Certification procedures for energy conservation in buildings, industry and transport, as well as the application of energy modelling methodologies (relationships between energy production, consumption and environmental impact), to particular energy scenarios;
- Third Activity:
Activities may concern any field, their aim being to meet specific requirements which appear during the implementation of Community policies. Activities under this sector will generally be short, aiming to provide an immediate response.


The Commission is responsible for implementing the scientific and technical support activities under the competitive approach and for assigning tasks to research bodies and centres (including the JRC), universities or undertakings. The assignment of tasks follows calls for proposals.

A budget of ECU 128 million has been earmarked for the implementation of scientific and technical support activities under the competitive approach. The Commission is responsible for granting financial resources to implement research tasks in the various areas to successful bidders, on a customer/contractor basis. The budget has been divided between the different sectors as follows:

- Information technologies, ECU 10 million;
- Measurement and testing, ECU 10 million;
- Environment and climate, ECU 26 million;
- Agriculture and fisheries, ECU 26 million;
- Non-nuclear energy, ECU 15 million;
- Third Activity (Dissemination and optimization of RTD results), ECU 37 million.

The Commission is required to continuously and systematically monitor progress in the implementation of the competitive support activities in relation to the requirements of Community policies, assessing whether the objectives, priorities and financial resources are still appropriate. On the basis of the results of this monitoring process, the Commission will take action to adapt the competitive activities.

At the beginning of each year, the Commission will submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council, containing information on the activities carried out during the previous year, and the work programme for the current year.
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