The European Commission has adopted the 1997 annual report on the RTD activities of the European Union, which covers research undertaken within the whole range of Community programmes during 1996. The report, adopted on the initiative of Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for research, innovation, education, training and youth, gives both statistical information on participation in RTD programmes, and general information on the major activities undertaken during 1996. The report underlines the continuing high interest in EU RTD activities. During 1996, some 24,000 proposals were submitted, while over 6,000 contracts for research projects were signed. These contracts involve more than 25,000 partners, as well as creating some 70,000 links between research teams from around Europe and the rest of the world. At the end of 1996, over 9,000 Community-funded research projects were under way. Meanwhile, during 1996 Community-funded projects were responsible for some 3,000 publications and patents. The year also saw further consolidation in the participation of SMEs in Community research, with 20% of participants in 1995 and 1996 SMEs (around 3,800 SMEs in total). In policy terms, with the Fourth Framework Programme at its midway point, the main development during 1996 was the preparation of the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, which is due to be launched before the end of 1998. The Commission conducted wide-ranging discussions with interested parties throughout Europe, and published a series of working documents in the lead up to its formal proposal, adopted in April 1997. The new Programme will represent a change in approach, with a simplified structure and greater concentration and flexibility in allocation of resources.
Policy making and guidelines
27 September 1996