The European Commission has published details of the recently adopted rationalized approach to the evaluation and monitoring of Community RTD programmes. This approach was introduced on an experimental basis in 1995, and will be reviewed after three years of implementation. The new approach concentrates on continuous monitoring of both the specific programmes and the Framework Programmes, with annual reporting and a five-year assessment mid-way through implementation of the programmes. The assessment will be conducted by independent external experts, and will incorporate the final evaluation under the previous Framework Programme. The approach takes into account the experience gained by the Commission in previous evaluation exercises, and its main feature is a further development towards coherent monitoring and evaluation of Community RTD actions. In particular, this new approach: - Introduces continuous monitoring and develops through programme evaluation to science and technology policy evaluation; - Spells out the implementation principles; - Involves assistance from independent external experts; - Should produce results in time for discussion of future programme decisions. The greater involvement of outside experts and bodies should enhance the independence and transparency of monitoring and evaluation. The new approach will improve the previous system, under which major evaluations were too close together and too early to take note of the significance of programme results.