Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 50,7 million
To carry out and coordinate research into transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), including BSE (mad cow disease) and other prion diseases, notably Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.


On 13 November 1996, the European Commission announced its intention to launch action plan for research into BSE (mad cow disease). The research programme, proposed on the joint initiative of Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for research, and Mr. Franz Fischler, Commissioner responsible for agriculture, will cover all transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), including BSE and other prion diseases, notably Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The programme is proposed in response to the urgent need for coordinated European research in light of the seriousness of the possible risks to human health posed by the development of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Research is to be conducted on the basis of the priorities identified by the Weissmann Group which was established by the Commission to review research needs in the field of BSE.


Five areas:

- Clinical and epidemiological research on human spongiform encephalopathies;
- The infectious agent and its transmission mechanisms;
- Diagnosis of spongiform encephalopathies;
- Evaluation of the risk of contracting spongiform encephalopathies;
- Treatment and prevention of spongiform encephalopathies.


Research projects under the action plan are to be implemented within three of the specific RTD programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme:

- Biomedicine and Health;
- Biotechnology;
- Agriculture and Fisheries including (agro-industry, food technologies, forestry, aquaculture and rural development).

A budget of ECU 50.7 million has been deemed as necessary to implement the action plan. ECU 45.7 million of this is to be dedicated to research proper and ECU 5 million to cover the costs of coordinating activities between the Member States. The Commission proposes that the financial resources be allocated among the three specific programmes which will implement the action plan as follows: ECU 19.9 million for Biomedicine and Health; ECU 8.5 for Biotechnology; and ECU 22.3 million for Agriculture and Fisheries.

A sum amounting to ECU 15.7 million is already available under the above mentioned specific programmes. The remaining ECU 35 million necessary to complete the action plan is expected to come from the supplementary funding for the Fourth Framework Programme. This has still to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top