The second call for proposals for technology validation and technology transfer projects within the Community's INNOVATION programme closed on 16 December 1996 (OJ No S 180 of 17.9.1996 p. 31). This second call for proposals, like the first call, received a good response and there was a high level of interest shown at the Information Days organized in the Member States, and in Norway and Iceland. More than 1,500 information packs were distributed and, for the first time, proposers were able to download the information pack and application forms electronically from the CORDIS World Wide Web pages and, by e-mail, from the Innovation Relay Centres. A total of 314 proposals were received in response to the call, including 288 project proposals and 26 proposals for "accompanying measures". The 314 proposals received involve 1,430 partners (around 4.5 partners per proposal), from 25 different countries. The interest of the business sector for the area of technology validation and transfer was noticeable, with enterprises representing over 60% of all participants. The participation of SMEs was particularly high, with SMEs making up around 44% of all participants. SMEs were, moreover, involved in 87% of all proposal consortia. Research centres and universities, in the role of providers of technology, were also well represented: 204 research centres (14.3%)and 188 universities (13.2%). An intensive evaluation exercise, involving 60 independent experts, was carried out during January 1997 to assess each proposal in detail. As a result of this exercise, a list has been drawn up of 80 project proposals recommended for Community funding, together with a reserve list of 13 project proposals. From the "accompanying measures" proposals, 12 were selected for funding. Contract negotiations are expected to start in May 1997, once the list has been finalized. The level of SME involvement in the selected projects continues to be high, with SMEs accounting for 45.3% of the participating organizations and, more significantly, representing 52% of project coordinators.