Scientific and technological cooperation has an increasingly important role to play in the development of relations between the European Union and the Mediterranean, Asian, Latin American and Lome Convention countries. In collaboration with Vice-President Manuel Marin and the other Commission Members responsible for external relations, Commissioner Antonio Ruberti has announced the selection of 230 new joint research projects and 102 research grants. They fall under the "Life sciences and technologies for developing countries - STD III" and "International scientific cooperation" programmes, which are scientific and technological cooperation initiatives between the Community and Mediterranean, Asian, Latin American and Lome Convention countries. These activities will receive total Community funding of ECU 61.727 million. They have been selected on the basis of their scientific and technical merit, their degree of innovation, the qualifications and relevance of the proposed partnership and the potential impact of their application. The STD III programme and International Scientific Cooperation are scientific cooperation initiatives with the developing countries launched ten years ago by the Community. Conceived as a back-up to Community economic cooperation and development policies, their purpose is to improve the scientific knowledge which is essential to the developing countries, to increase their research capabilities and those of the EU through joint research actions. Both STD III and International Scientific Cooperation have proved capable of providing an effective response in the wide range of areas in which there is great demand for scientific cooperation from the developing countries. As is shown by the very high number of the proposals received in 1994 (1,044 research proposals and 322 applications for grants), the STD III and International Scientific Cooperation programmes have aroused great interest among the scientific communities of the developing countries and of the EU. Of the activities selected in 1994, mention should be made of the joint research actions to be pursued in the field of health care, covering among other things the development of vaccines against tuberculosis, leprosy, cholera and malaria. Similarly, a number of joint scientific actions investigating the possibilities of improving health care in developing countries and in major areas such as AIDS prevention and reduction of infant mortality rates will be assisted this year. Environmental research was also one of the priorities of the 1994 selection. The research projects chosen will cover, among other things, conservation questions and the use of renewable natural resources (water, soil, biodiversity, tropical forests). They will also deal with questions relating to natural catastrophes (geology, geophysics, seismology). In the area of agricultural research, priority has been given to research into production systems, storage and processing. With a number of countries with great technological potential (such as China, India, some ASEAN countries, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile), Community cooperation programmes have made it possible to develop research in a variety of areas including biotechnology applied to agriculture and medicine, material sciences and the exact sciences.