The European Commission has recently published its first annual report on the research and technological development activities of the European Union. The publication of this report responds to the requirements of article 130p of the Treaty and owes much to the interest of the European Parliament. It is also in line with the Commission's policy of seeking to ensure greater openness with regard to its activities and the provision of information. With this annual report, a window is opened on the whole wide spectrum of Community research activities now grouped under the common umbrella of the Framework Programme. The report offers a brief synopsis of the situation at the end of 1994 and an overview of the work programme and milestones for 1995. For Community research policy, 1994 was an important and active year. In particular, it saw the adoption of 25 legal texts necessary for the implementation of the Fourth Framework programme and the various specific programmes. It also saw the creation of the European Science and Technology Assembly (ESTA) aimed at improving the links between the Commission and the research Community. With regard to research activities carried out in 1994, the importance of the Community's research efforts can be summed up in just a few figures: 6,101 new projects involving 18,261 participants were launched in 1994 and a total of 10,976 projects were running at the end of the year. In 1994, Community support amounted to ECU 1,936 million in total payments (excluding the JRC). In 1995, the Commission's aim is to ensure the efficient implementation of the specific programmes of the Fourth Framework Programme, taking increasing account of the needs of the citizen and of the market. A number of task forces have been set up with the aim of bringing together Community, national and other efforts in common projects of industrial interest, thereby increasing their impact. Major topics covered by the Community work plan for 1995, include: - Special support for small and medium-sized enterprises; - An overall strategy for international research cooperation; - Research in the Information Society; - Further simplification of management procedures and progress on improving programme evaluations. The report is intended to act as a useful reference document for researchers, enterprises, research organizations, research policy planners, politicians and all those who concerned with the competitiveness of the European Union and the welfare of its citizens.
Policy making and guidelines
7 August 1997