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Fourth Framework Programme 1994-1998: Proposal for Council Decision

A proposal for a Council Decision (COM(93) 276 of 17.6.1993) concerns the Fourth Framework Programme of the European Economic Community's activities in the field of research, technological development and demonstration. In overview, the measures which have been selected under...

A proposal for a Council Decision (COM(93) 276 of 17.6.1993) concerns the Fourth Framework Programme of the European Economic Community's activities in the field of research, technological development and demonstration. In overview, the measures which have been selected under the Fourth Framework Programme cover all Community RTD activities. They are designed to support the common policies and aim to provide the scientific and technical basis needed for sustainable development, while respecting the environment, to improve both the competitiveness of European industry and the quality of life. In keeping with Community industrial policy and in order to meet society's growing needs, a series of objectives in the public interest have been identified for the purposes of selecting the specific RTD activities. These include the development of efficient and safe infrastructures (especially information and communications) plus the development of efficient, clean and safe production based on modern organization, taking human factors into account. Equally important objectives are environmental protection as an aspect of industrial competitiveness, and the promotion of improved health care, food quality and hygiene. Technological and industrial integration within the internal market is sought, in particular via the strengthening of coordination between RTD policy and standardization policy. Measures aim to anticipate technological and industrial change so as to ensure greater account is taken of the market and society's needs. It is also intended to increase synergies between the proposed internal cooperation activities and the Community's external policies. At the same time, the Framework Programme will seek to ensure the efficient dissemination of scientific and technological advances throughout the whole economic and social system (in particular to small and medium sized enterprises), and to train economically active people to master the new technologies. It is proposed to adopt the Programme for the period 1994-1998 with an overall Community financial participation of ECU 11,625 million. This is broken down in an Annex to the proposal on the basis of the four activities which form the structure of the Framework Programme: - First activity: Research, technological development and demonstration programmes (detailed below), ECU 9,450 million; - Second activity: Cooperation with third countries and international organizations (scientific and technological cooperation in Europe, cooperation with industrialized non-European third countries, scientific and technological cooperation with developing countries), ECU 790 million; - Third activity: Dissemination and optimization of results (dissemination and exploitation of results, dissemination of technologies to enterprises, the financial environment for the dissemination of technology, scientific services for Community policies), ECU 600 million; The dissemination and optimization of results is to include the establishment of a European infrastructure for RTD dissemination and optimization based on the strengthening of the activities of the relay centre network and the reinforcement of the European public information and dissemination service, mainly CORDIS, plus the provision of specialist services and direct assistance, and strategic and interdisciplinary actions such as evaluation of social impact, management and economics of research and pilot projects on communication towards society; - Fourth activity: Stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers, ECU 785 million. The first activity is broken down into the following themes: - Information and communication technologies (telematics applications of common interest, technologies for integrated information and communications systems, technologies for advanced communications services, information technologies), ECU 3,900 million; - Industrial technologies (design/engineering/production systems and human management, materials and material related technologies including processing and recycling, advanced propulsion technologies, research linked with standards and measurement and testing), ECU 1,800 million; - Environment (natural environment and environmental quality and global change, new technologies for environmental protection), ECU 970 million; - Life sciences and technologies (biotechnology, biomedical and health research, application of life sciences and technologies in agriculture and fisheries including agro-industry/food technologies/forestry/rural development), ECU 1,325 million; - Non-nuclear energy (technologies for cleaner and more efficient production and use of energy), ECU 1,150 million; - Research for a European transport policy, ECU 280 million; - Targeted socioeconomic research (evaluation of scientific and technological policy options, research on education and training, research into the problems of social integration), ECU 125 million. It is noted that a further proposal for a Council Decision (COM(93) 276 of 17.6.1993) concerns the 19941998 Framework Programme for research and training for the European Atomic Energy Community (comprising nuclear safety and safeguards, and controlled thermonuclear fusion) having a total amount deemed necessary for its implementation of ECU 1,475 million. This takes the total financial appropriation for RTD actions in the field of energy to ECU 2,525 million and the maximum overall amount for Community RTD activity to ECU 13,100 million. The Fourth RTD Framework Programme is to be implemented through specific programmes, each of which shall specify precise scientific and technical objectives in accordance with guidelines annexed to the proposal, under the headings set out for each of the activities above. Financial participation on the part of the Community in RTD actions undertaken within the specific programmes is to take three forms. There may be no derogation from these general rules except under conditions set out in each of the specific programmes: - Indirect action (shared cost actions with third parties): For RTD projects, including consortia integrated projects, Community financial participation will be progressively lower the nearer the project is to the marketplace. Normally it will not exceed 50% of the costs of the project. In the case of universities and higher education establishments, support may take the form of 100% of additional costs. For thematic networks of excellence and the training and mobility of researchers, normally 100% of the additional costs will be contributed. In the case of preparatory, accompanying and support measures, the Community contribution may be up to 100% of the costs of the measure. This is also the case with regard to measures appropriate for certain specific programmes, such as feasibility awards. - Concerted action: For concerted actions consisting of the coordination of RTD projects, such as concertation networks, up to 100% of the administrative costs of the concertation may be supported. - Direct action: Direct action comprising RTD programmes or parts of programmes carried out by the JRC will normally receive 100% of the costs of the research. A further Annex to the proposal sets out the selection criteria for Community activities, noting that these criteria, which guide the definition of the scientific and technological objectives of the Framework Programme, should also be applied in the definition of the specific programmes within it. Activities must focus on clearly defined objectives contributing to strengthening the technological basis of Community industry and providing it with the knowledge and know-how (skills) required to make it internationally more competitive. They must contribute to the definition and implementation of Community policy , meeting the needs of society and promoting a sustainable environment. Activities must also observe the principle of subsidiarity, whereby the Community takes action only if the objectives cannot be fully achieved by the Member States and can be better achieved by the Community. On this basis, types of action warranting Community activity might include very large scale actions, activities addressing large-scale problems or of longterm scientific benefit, activities producing obvious financial benefits, actions complementary to those carried out nationally, and activities contributing to the achievement of common policy or a common objective such as the unification of the European scientific and technical area and, where necessary, the establishment of common rules and standards. Finally, RTD activities must be implemented through projects which are to be assessed on the basis of their scientific and technical excellence. In this process of selection, priority will be given to projects allowing closer coordination of the research conducted in the Member States, at Community level and within other European and international cooperation fora, and to projects making possible the most effective response to the Community's objectives regarding economic and overall industrial competitiveness.

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