More than 1,300 individual project proposals were received in response to calls issued in July 1991 and May 1992 by the specific programme of RTD in the field of environment (1991-1994), representing a total request for Community funding of over ECU 1,100 million. The aim of the specific programme is to protect the environment and the quality of life by directing research activities towards an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of the environment, and towards the devising and implementing of an overall strategic approach to risk-prevention activities, also contributing to the preparation of quality and safety standards. It was adopted for the period 7 June 1991 to 31 December 1994 (Council Decision 91/354/EEC of 7.6.1991) with an estimated overall budgetary appropriation of ECU 261.4 million, of which over 143 million were available for research contracts in the first phase 1991-1992. Proposals were received covering all objectives, the response being as follows: Area I, Participation in global change programmes (295 proposals); Area II, Technologies and engineering for the environment (557 proposals); Area III, Research on economic and social aspects of environmental issues (149 proposals); Area IV, Technological and natural risks (307 proposals). At the initial evaluation by a panel of independent experts, 516 proposals were chosen as being most worthy of financial support, representing a total requested funding of ECU 561 million. The second stage of the selection process retained 236 of these, with a requested Community appropriation of roughly ECU 200 million. A certain number of contracts have already been concluded and negotiations are now under way with a view to the finalization of the remaining contracts. Community contributions to the selected projects are expected to be close to the ECU 143 million available for the first phase of the programme. A second call for proposals is probably to be issued in the first half of 1993.