The Austrian Government has recently published its position paper on the future Fifth RTD Framework Programme. As one of the Member States which have joined since the Fourth Framework Programme was adopted, this is the first opportunity for Austria to contribute to the development of a Framework Programme. Austria supports the development of a Fifth Framework Programme, with the primary aim of strengthening industrial competitiveness and the scientific and technological bases for industry. The paper also suggests that the Framework Programme is increasingly an essential instrument to support other Community policies such as environment, energy, education, mobility, transport and agriculture. It stresses, therefore, that coordination and cooperation of these policies and RTD policy within the Commission is vital. The Austrian paper recalls that Community RTD actions should be supplementary to those of the Member States, and suggests that the issue of subsidiarity should be more clearly defined in the Fifth Framework Programme. It also calls for closer connections between Community RTD and other European actions such as COST and EUREKA, as well as national programmes, to be encouraged. Austria supports participation of organizations from the Central and Eastern European countries, the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union and the Mediterranean partner countries. It believes, however, that the costs of participation should not be borne by the specific programmes themselves. Closer links should be formed between RTD programmes and the technical assistance programmes (PHARE, TACIS and MEDA) for these countries. Dissemination and exploitation of results, as well as innovation and technology transfer must be given higher priority than in the Fourth Framework Programme, according to the paper. In particular, measures to strengthen the potential for innovation in SMEs should be established. As regards training and mobility of researchers, Austria suggests that this is one of the most important accompanying measures in the Framework Programme, and calls for an improvement in its administration and increased synergy between research and educational measures. Austria calls for Europe's science and technology policy to have a positive influence on the employment situation in Europe, and for the evaluation of projects to take into account their possible long-term effects on the labour market. To achieve the goals of Community RTD, a more problem-oriented stance should be taken in the Fifth Framework Programme. Meanwhile, research should increasingly be concerned with the vertical aspects of the process, from basic research to the market. Bearing in mind the rising complexity and inter-disciplinarity of research topics in industry and society, the approach of the current Framework programme, based on research disciplines should be reappraised. In the implementation of the Framework Programme, Austria would like to see further measures to facilitate access for SMEs. In regard to programme management, Austria calls for greater flexibility and more transparency. The paper also calls for greater application of a two-tier evaluation procedure in some areas, as well as more rapid evaluation of all projects. Austria does not support any increase in funding for research into Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion, and prefers greater funding for research into non-nuclear energy, particularly renewable energies and rational use of energy. Austria suggests, in conclusion, that the following four problem-oriented topics should be considered for the Fifth Framework Programme: - Industrial research, especially process engineering; - Transport-related topics; - Sustainable regional development; - Socio-economic aspects of European integration.