At the initiative of the Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, a conference on industrial and materials technologies - BRITE/EURAM '95 - was held in Vienna, Austria, on 11-13 October 1995. The conference was organized jointly with DG XII-C of the European Commission and the Austrian Bureau for International Research and Technological Cooperation. A total of 630 people from 20 European countries attended the three-day conference. For the Commission, the main objective of the conference was to inform the participants about: - The second call for proposals under BRITE/EURAM which will be published in 15 December 1995; - The new initiative to encourage industrial research projects designed to achieve objectives in the common interest and the work of the new Task Forces set up for this purpose. In addition, the conference also offered participants from the new Member States the opportunity to learn more about the EU, the impact of RTD on the quality of life and the possibilities of participating in the Community's programmes. The conference centred around a number of issues, with emphasis on cooperation, RTD and the quality of life, industrial technologies and the environment, RTD and the public. Participants were able to prepare and consult expressions of interest for research projects via Arcade and CORDIS, seek out potential partners for projects with the help of seven INNOVATION Relay Centres and make direct contact with scientific representatives from DG XII on various aspects of BRITE/EURAM generally, and its projects in particular. A poster exhibition was also organized, enabling some 80 consortia to present the results of their RTD projects. As part of the opening session, Mr. Jacquemin of DG XII presented his views on European competitiveness and innovation. He stressed the need to overcome the negative image which competitiveness represented for the public by placing more emphasis on the social and economic benefits that it generates, in particular in terms of stimulating increased employment and sustainable development. He also gave a micro-economic analysis of the conditions needed to encourage competitiveness, in particular in relation to the new challenges posed by the internal market. He listed three factors which are essential for improving the efficiency of production: - Certain determining factors which have no direct link to production costs but which are nevertheless essential, in particular for traditional industrial sectors, namely quality, commercial networks and geographical specialization; - The necessity of incorporating R&D and innovation in the global strategy of enterprises, given that while Europe has excellent scientific knowledge, the number of patents registered is diminishing and that while Europe is innovating, its competitors are producing as well; - The organizational structure of enterprises must place more emphasis on human resources management and internal information systems, and efforts must be made to change current practices and establish horizontal communication links with the participation of staff. Mr. Jacquemin pointed out that these considerations are being taken into account by the various Community policies, including RTD policy. The event also included a round table on the importance of RTD for industries of the future and the general quality of life. Other sessions were also held on the following issues: - The transfer of technologies to SMEs and synergies between the Innovation and BRITE/EURAM programmes; - New materials and quality control; - The coordination of research actions in Europe, with a presentation of the new Task Forces, their organization and activities; - Recycling technologies and R&D in the context of sustainable development in Europe; - Manufacturing technologies. Mrs. Cresson was a major contributor to the conference, with her key note speech on Community action in the field of research, which was followed by a question and answer session and a press conference.