Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Another successful year for EU research

A total of almost 24,000 research proposals were submitted to the Commission during 1997, demonstrating the huge interest in the Framework Programme from across Europe. With some ECU 3,000 million allocated to around 6,000 projects during the year, the EU has now funded over 1...
A total of almost 24,000 research proposals were submitted to the Commission during 1997, demonstrating the huge interest in the Framework Programme from across Europe. With some ECU 3,000 million allocated to around 6,000 projects during the year, the EU has now funded over 15,000 projects under the Fourth Framework Programme. These figures are drawn from the EU's Annual Report on RTD Activities, which also emphasises the major developments in EU research policy during 1997.

The annual report provides an overview of developments in Community research policy and its implementation during 1997, and is aimed at researchers and research organisations, industrial enterprises, research policy specialists and politicians with an interest in the Community programmes, as well as the European Parliament and the Council.

The implementation of the Fourth Framework Programme is fully described in the report and continued at a similar level to 1996, with nearly 24,000 proposals received and evaluated across all the specific programmes, 6,000 contracts signed and ECU 3,000 million allocated to research projects involving a total of 24,000 participants. The report also devotes a section to issues in the management of research and provides a list of complementary sources of information relating to Community research activities.

One welcome trend detected during 1997 was the strong growth in the participation of SMEs in projects, representing 24% of the total number of participants, in comparison to 18% during 1996. SMEs received 16% of total budgetary contributions, compared to 13% in 1996, and is largely due to the success of the stimulation measures (cooperative research and exploratory awards) and take-up actions (for information technologies).

In the development of EU research policy, 1997 also saw several notable milestones reached. The Commission's proposals for the Fifth RTD Framework Programme were presented in April 1997, representing a significant departure from earlier programmes in the direction of a more strategic, focused, integrated set of activities designed to further improve the impact of Community funding. Progress in the legislative procedures of the EU advanced during 1997 and since and the Programme is now on course for adoption by the end of 1998.

In addition, the Amsterdam Treaty agreed by EU Member States in June 1997 changed the legal base for research. When ratified, this will eliminate the requirement for unanimous voting in the Council, streamlining decision-making in the research field.

Source: European Commission, Secretariat-General

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