The ERGO concept was first conceived in 1995 when work was started, within the Community's INNOVATION programme, on the definition of a strategy for the setting up and operation of gateways to Member States R&D databases. This objective is in accordance with the long-term goal of CORDIS, the Community Research and Development Information Service, to become the initial reference point for R&D queries from throughout Europe. It is also in line with the aims set out in the INNOVATION programme's work programme, namely: - To facilitate access to national scientific and technical information services; - To identify the main existing information sources and to evaluate access possibilities and the potential for the utilization of these sources at European level; The ERGO Working Group prepared proposals for costed alternatives to provide easy access to R&D information sources in the Member States. Due to budgetary constraints, however, the working group's full proposal could not be financed immediately. It was, therefore, decided: - To launch a simplified pilot project based on a central catalogue containing a minimum of core information on the content of research projects. The catalogue will be searchable, providing the user with the possibility to select, in a single search, the record(s) of interest to him/her. The user can then decide to contact the data hosts concerned in order to obtain additional information; - To invite national data hosts to offer their R&D information via ERGO, delivered in CERIF format and free-of-charge, and to make this information searchable for the user. In the summer of 1997, the Commission will start the implementation of the ERGO pilot project. The pilot project should demonstrate: - The need for facilitated access to national R&D databases from a single starting point (one-stop-shop), from both the demand side (end users) and the supply side (data hosts); - The suitability of the catalogue-based concept: . For standardized data collection; . For easy catalogue searching. In addition, a feasibility study will be undertaken on: - The usability of existing machine translation tool(s) for the purpose of integrating data available in languages other than English; - The feasibility of managing and monitoring delivery of complementary data from database hosts to the users. Pending a positive outcome of the ERGO pilot phase, a project for full implementation of the ERGO service may be recommended in the context of the Fifth Framework Programme. This project will be based on the ERGO Working Group recommendations, adapted in light of changing user needs and the evolution of both the market and technology.