Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Specific research, technological development and demonstration programme in the field of cooperation with third countries and international organizations - Scientific and technological cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and

Framework programme


Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 208,98 million

Official Journal Reference

L 334 of 1994-12-22

Legislative Reference

807/94/EC of 1994-11-23
To help safeguard the RTD potential of the countries concerned; to help solve important social, economic and ecological problems; and to intensify cooperation in RTD fields where these countries are in the forefront on a world level.


In accordance with the provisions in Title XV of the Treaty on European Union (Article 130f to 130p), international cooperation activities in the area of RTD are carried out under multiannual framework programmes. For the period 1994-1998, these activities are conducted under a single specific RTD programme in the field of cooperation with third countries and international organizations (INCO), which implements the second activity of the Fourth Framework Programme.

The INCO programme is divided into three main sections.

The present sub-programme, "Scientific and technological cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the New Independent States (NIS)" (INCO-COPERNICUS), is one of two elements of Section A. The second element concerns cooperation with other fora for European scientific and technological (S&T) cooperation, including COST, EUREKA and cooperation with other international organizations (Section A1).

Section B concerns cooperation with non-European industrialized third countries while Section C covers Scientific and Technological cooperation with Developing Countries (INCO-DC).

Building on previous Community activities designed to support RTD cooperation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the new republics of the former Soviet Union, the main aim of INCO-COPERNICUS is to enable the CEE/NIS - whose levels of development differ widely - to be associated with the generation of knowledge and innovative technologies needed to solve their specific problems and to achieve sustainable economic development.

This general aim is to be achieved by focusing on two priorities:

- To strengthen the relationships that will be established between research workers and their institutions in order to maintain and enhance research and technological development capacities in the CEE/NIS (in particular at the human resource and institutional level), while paying attention to the strengthening of links with the sectors responsible for product development and distribution;

- To enable the European scientific community to maintain and improve excellence in the scientific areas that are relevant to the specific problems facing the CEE/NIS and to harness synergies in the research sector with those countries.


Three areas:

- Safeguarding the RTD potential:
In the short-term, the objective of RTD cooperation is to help safeguard highly qualified human resources as well as existing equipment and facilities in the countries concerned, in areas of mutual interest. The following activities (which are horizontal in nature and not, as such, solely limited to this sector) are to be undertaken:
. Research in sectors such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and the economic and social sciences;
. Assistance to enable the participation of CEE and NIS scientists in young scientists' contests under the Fourth Activity of the Fourth Framework Programme;
. Assistance to facilitate access for CEE and NIS researchers to Western European research centres, for preparing and carrying out first ranking experiments, in joint research projects with scientists of the Member States;

- Environmental protection and health:
Environmental protection and preservation of natural balances:
To promote scientific knowledge which will support a rational use of the current resources, while guaranteeing their conservation in respect of natural balances and sustainable global development. Important fields to be covered include:
. Ecosystems in danger;
. Rational use of energy resources, non-nuclear energy, renewable energy sources, clean use of fossil fuels;
. Environmental and public health threats, in particular as a result of major accidents;

To support research activities which contribute primarily to solutions for health problems inherited from the past and connected with the political and economic reform process in these countries. Important fields cover:
. Employment-related occupational and environmental health;
. Research in health care systems;
. Focused biomedical research;

- RTD directed towards industry:
Activities under this section focus on the following:

Advanced communications and telematics:
. Interactive digital multimedia services;
. Photonic technologies;
. High-speed networking;
. Mobility and personal communications networks;
. Intelligence networks and service engineering;
. Quality, security and safety of communications services and systems;
. Telematic services of public interest;
. Telematics for knowledge;
. Telematics for improving employment and quality of life;

Information technologies:
. Software technologies;
. Technologies for IT Components and Subsystems;
. Multimedia technologies;
. Open Microprocessor Systems Initiative;
. High performance computing and networking;
. Technologies for business processes;
. Integration in manufacturing;
Materials and production technologies:
. Manufacturing;
. Product and process design;
. Recycling;
. Clean technologies;
. Biotechnological applications in the development of vaccines, diagnoses and therapeutics;
. Biomarkers for exposure to mutagenics and carcinogenics;
. Animal and plant biotechnologies;
. RTD related to integration of EC transport networks with those in Central and Eastern Europe.

(RTD directed towards industry in the fields of agro-food, energy technologies and measurement and testing could also be included under this section.)


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme within the framework of the specific RTD programme in the field of cooperation with third countries and international organizations (INCO).

The specific actions to be carried out under INCO-COPERNICUS are to be defined in consultation with the third countries concerned, on the basis of mutual benefit.

The programme is open to all legal entities established in the Member States of the European Union, Central and Eastern European countries, the New Independent States and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). If a non-EU Member State has signed an agreement with the Community associating it with the INCO programme, legal entities from that country can participate in the programme and are eligible to receive a financial contribution from the Community.

Participation in the activities covered by the programme, without financial support from the Community, is also possible on a project-by-project basis provided that such participation is in the interests of Community policies and that the minimum number of legal entities from the Community, and any country associated with the programme, are involved. Such participation applies to:

- Legal entities established and carrying out RTD activities in a European third country;
- International organizations.

The programme is implemented through shared-cost research projects, concerted actions and a number of supporting measures, such as:

- Dissemination and optimization of RTD: this includes, amongst others, aid for the establishment of relay centres for the promotion of activities and results of RTD, support of studies on the instruments and methodologies of technology transfer, facilitating access to data banks;
- Conferences: financing of travel costs and expenses for scientists from the CEE and NIS countries taking part in conferences in Europe;
- Coordinating meetings: these meetings are principally for the exchange of information between the "contact points" of the CEE and NIS countries, the scientific representatives of the countries of the EU and Commission departments, in order to develop work and intervention techniques on the one hand, and to exploit the results of the activities undertaken in the context of scientific and technological cooperation between the East and the West on the other hand;
- Study and analysis of the scientific potential of the beneficiary countries, in particular through the use of external experts and access to scientific data banks, and links with the European Technology Assessment Network (ETAN);
- Personnel and expert training activities within the framework of the projects;
- European Chairs, aimed at stimulating the reform of research.

Proposals submitted for support under the programme must be of a transnational nature, comprising:

In the case of shared-cost project proposals, at least:

- Two non-affiliated participants from different EU Member States or from at least one Member State and one country associated with the programme;
- One participant from a CEE or NIS country (strong preference will be given to projects involving at least two non-affiliated partners from separate CEE/NIS countries).

In the case of concerted actions, at least:

- Three non-affiliated participants from different EU Member States or from at least one Member State and a country associated with the programme;
- Three non-affiliated participants from different CEE/NIS countries.

For shared-cost projects, the Community's financial participation is not more than 50% of the total project costs. The Community may, however, fund up to 100% of the additional costs of thematic networks and the training and mobility of researchers. For concerted actions, the Community covers up to 100% of the coordination costs (e.g. meetings, travel, etc.) and up to 100% of the foreseen costs for preparatory, accompanying and support measures.

In implementing the sub-programme, the Commission is to pay close attention to the requirements of the countries concerned and to coordinating activities and exploiting the synergies with other Community policies, activities conducted by the Member States and with relevant international organizations. To achieve this, the following activities are envisaged:

- Concertation with CEE and NIS countries in order to define research priorities;
- Continuation of close cooperation with the PHARE and TACIS programmes;
- Close coordination and cooperation with other EU initiatives in the countries concerned, in order to increase the impact both of the RTD cooperation and of these other initiatives. (This includes support for the selection of projects to be carried out under the International Science and Technology Centre.);
- Cooperation with the Member States with a view to facilitating the exchange of information between the Member States and between the Member States and the Commission in order to avoid any useless duplication of effort and to increase the effectiveness of the respective research efforts;
- Relations with international organizations which envisage, among their activities, the promotion of scientific research and technology, as well as to exchange trade and the protection of intellectual and industrial property.
Record Number: 583 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05
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