The European Commission, DG XII, has published a "Synopses of ECSC contracts in iron and steel research (1986-1993)". This publication provides concise information on each of the 864 ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community) R&D projects and pilot and demonstration projects carried out during the period 1986-1993. Each synopsis provides administrative information including contact addresses, participants, starting date and funding. It also gives a short description of the main objectives of the project and, where applicable, the reference details of the final report. Final reports are presently available for some 300 projects completed during this period. The total cost of ECSC funded projects approved in the period 1986-1993 was approximately ECU 700 million, of which some 50% was provided by the ECSC (ECU 255 million for R&D and ECU 95 million for pilot and demonstration projects). This funding has made an important contribution to progress in steel production and utilization. Existing steel production technologies were improved, particularly in the areas of blast furnaces, steelmaking, and continuous casting and rolling. A recent evaluation concluded that the financial returns on research in these areas amounted to 20 times the invested research funds. In parallel, several developments were launched in steel production technologies such as alternative iron making processes, thin slab and strip casting, which will lead to cleaner steel production, major cost reduction, higher quality, smaller scale production and steel grades matching specific customer requirements. Utilization of steel forms an increasingly important part of the ECSC programme and amounts to 30% of the overall R&D budget. Particular emphasis is placed on the use of steel in the transport and construction sectors. Close collaboration and information exchange between research laboratories, universities and industry across Europe is a vital factor in this programme. Important tools for promoting this exchange are the multi-partner projects and the 20 ECSC scientific committees, which cover a wide variety of specific steel RTD topics, with particular emphasis on environmental issues.