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Acceleration of Community Research: The Commission defines the specific programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme

The Commission of the European Communities, meeting on 6.10.1993, has issued a communication detailing the content of the specific programmes which are planned within the Fourth Framework Programme of Community Research and Technological Development 1994-1998 (COM(93)459 of 6....
The Commission of the European Communities, meeting on 6.10.1993, has issued a communication detailing the content of the specific programmes which are planned within the Fourth Framework Programme of Community Research and Technological Development 1994-1998 (COM(93)459 of 6.10.1993).

On the initiative of Commission Vice-President Professor A. Ruberti with the support of Vice-President M. Bangemann, the communication seeks to accelerate the work required for the rapid, complete and coherent implementation of the EEC Fourth Framework Programme and the ECAC (European Atomic Energy Community) Framework Programme in order to avoid any break in the continuity of the Community's RTD effort.

With regard to the specific programmes, particular attention has been focused on the promotion of better coordination of research activities at Community and Member State levels. At the same time, within each research field, more concentrated research is planned on a reduced number of themes. This is particularly true in the area of industrial technologies, including advanced materials and production processes. In the case of information technology and communications, emphasis is given to the development of the information infrastructure, with activities targeting the improvement of access to services and technologies, ease of use and "best practice". In general, increased effort is aimed at RTD which will have multisectoral applications in order to increase the efficacy of Community action and its impact on European industry. This change in emphasis underlines the growing importance attached to the needs of the user and to market requirements.

In the domain of life sciences, greater importance is placed on biotechnology, and in the area of health, research is to be concentrated on the subjects of AIDS and cancer.

With a view to contributing to the competitivity of European industry, research actions will also support the formulation and implementation of other Community policy. Here, the Joint Research Centre will play an important role. While continuing its work in the domain of nuclear security, it will also focus activities on questions related to the environment, agriculture, and technology assessment.

For the first time, a separate programme in the field of transport has been proposed (integration of all forms of transport in the context of a trans-European network plus optimization of network exploitation), as well a programme of research activities in education and training (methodologies, educational systems, etc.). Also proposed are research actions concerning questions of social integration and exclusion.

Activities supporting technology transfer (within the programme for the diffusion and exploitation of RTD results) are integrated for the first time with activities on the diffusion of results. Valorization and support for diffusion are also reinforced. Three themes are proposed: Diffusion and exploitation of RTD results (underlining the importance of the relay centres developed within the VALUE programme and the extension of CORDIS); diffusion of technologies to enterprise; and support for the financial environment for technology diffusion.

The formation and mobility of researchers is emphasized (the programme will contribute to the formation of some 5,000 researchers per year via a network of some 1,500 laboratories, with the access of 800-1000 user groups to large-scale installations).

Greater involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be sought in the implementation of each of the various specific programmes. Notably, this effort will take the form of the extension to other programmes of the system of cooperative research (CRAFT), feasibility awards, and reinforcement of valorization of research and of technology transfer in favour of SMEs.

Cooperation with third countries and international organizations is grouped for the first time under a single programme. Complementary to the aid and assistance activities undertaken by the Community, the programme will target scientific and technological assistance of mutual interest between the Community and the non-Community countries. Together with actions supporting developing countries, the programme will also emphasize cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.

The Commission considers that the Fourth Framework Programme and the ECAC Framework Programme (nuclear safety and safeguards and controlled nuclear fusion), which together will cover all Community research undertaken during the 1994-1998 period, must receive a global budget of ECU 13,100 million (proposed by the Commission in June 1993) both to contribute in a significant manner to the improvement of the scientific and technological knowledge forming the basis of industry and to contribute to the quality of life in Europe.

An Annex to the communication describes the objectives and technical content of each specific programme, and also proposes a breakdown of the funding considered necessary to implement these programmes:

- Information and communication technologies (ECU 3,888 million);
- Industrial technologies (ECU 1,573 million);
- Environmental protection (ECU 625 million);
- Life sciences and technologies (ECU 1,265 million);
- Clean energies (ECU 1,005 million);
- Nuclear safety (ECU 202 million);
- Controlled thermonuclear fusion (ECU 930 million);
- Transport (ECU 280 million);
- Socio-economic research (ECU 90 million);
- Promotion of cooperation with third countries and international organizations (ECU 790 million);
- Diffusion and valorization of RTD results (ECU 530 million);
- Training and mobility of researchers(ECU 785 million).

The above figures do not take into account a deduction from the financial appropriation for each specific programme, forming an overall total of ECU 1,137 million, for work to be undertaken by the JRC.

A further Annex to the communication sets out the financing of the EEC and EAEC Framework Programmes in terms of the four Activities which will be undertaken:

- Activity One: Programmes of research, development and demonstration (ECU 10,925 million);
- Activity Two: Cooperation with third countries and international oganizations (ECU 790 million);
- Activity Three: Diffusion and valorization of results (ECU 600 million);
- Activity Four: Stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers (ECU 785 million).

It should be noted that the division of Community RTD between the Fourth Framework Programme (EEC) and the Framework Programme (Euratom) is made for legislative reasons. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Union (Maastricht Treaty) the Fourth Framework Programme will have its legal foundation in this Treaty, while the legislative basis for the EAEC Framework Programme is the Euratom Treaty.

Source: Commission, Service du Porte-Parole, Press Release

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