The Commission has approved a German aid scheme for promoting R&D in the field of new materials for the 21st century. The aim of the German scheme is to foster research into new materials, which are essential to technical progress in many areas. Aid is planned for the following areas: - Information technology; - Traffic technology; - Energy technology; - Production technology; - Medical technology. The aid scheme will be in the form of non-repayable grants, which will be available to firms, universities and research institutes. The value of the aid scheme is ECU 733.5 million for the period 1994-2003. It is intended to encourage firms to undertake research beyond their normal range of activities.