At its meeting on 30 June 1993, the Research Council proceeded to an in-depth debate on the Fourth Framework Programme of Community activities in the field of RTD. The Council focused its debate specifically on the global financial amount (ECU 13.1 billion) to be committed to the programme and on the breakdown of financial resources between the four different activities (RTD programmes, international cooperation, dissemination of results, training and mobility). The management of Community RTD programmes was discussed in detail, with the Council recalling its conclusion of 29 April 1993 according to which detailed criteria and mechanisms should be established for cost-effective implementation and improved management of the Framework Programme in order to ensure that its objectives are fully met. Simplification and harmonization of procedures and tools for programme implementation was also emphasized in order to facilitate participation in Community research programmes, particularly by SMEs, and to allow for smooth, transparent and timely implementation of the Framework Programme. The Council welcomed, on this point, the circulation by the Commission of information bulletins on a regular basis. As a continuation of the Council conclusions, improvements in specific areas, such as the shortening of delays between the deadlines for receipt of proposals and the start of selected projects as well as the provision of information to applicants of non-selected proposals were also stressed. The Council, wishing to take a view on this issue as soon as possible, noted the Commission's intention to assess in further detail the possible benefits and disadvantages of decentralized management and possible further concrete measures that could be taken in this field. New types of activities, for example thematic networks of excellence, concertation networks and consortia for integrated projects, as proposed by the Commission, need, according to the Council, to be clarified further.