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European programme (EEC) for research and development in information technologies (ESPRIT), 1984-1988

Part of the first Framework Programme (1984-1987) under subactivity 2.2.: "Information technologies", this first five-year phase of the ESPRIT programme consisted of both research and development activities and infrastructure actions.
To provide the European Information Technologies (IT) industry with the basic technologies it needs to meet the competitive requirements of the 1990s, to promote European industrial cooperation in IT R&D and to pave the way for internationally accepted standards.
Five research and development areas:

- Advanced microelectronics (MEL):
To provide the technological capability to design, manufacture and test very high-speed and very large-scale integrated circuits (VLSICs). A concurrent objective is to stimulate research and development on novel materials and devices for special applications;

- Software technologies (ST):
To provide the techniques and criteria for organising, managing and optimising all elements of software application technology and the software industrial production process;

- Advanced information processing (AIP):
To create an industrial exploitation basis for the transition from data processing systems to knowledge processing systems which is the key to the next computer generation;

- Office systems (OS):
To carry out research on the information systems that will support the wide range of non-routine tasks performed by humans in the office environment;

- Computer integrated manufacture (CIM):
To establish the technology base for progressive introduction of IT to all phases of the manufacturing cycle leading ultimately to fully integrated production systems. The main emphasis is placed on manufacturing elements as they are needed for discrete batch manufacturing.

The infrastructure activities include:
- the coordination of Community and Member States' research and development programmes and the acquisition and dissemination of information, both within the ESPRIT programme and from the world at large;
- the coordination and documentation of standards within the ESPRIT programme and their relationship to national and international standards;
- providing an information exchange system (IES) backing for R&D projects.
Implementation was monitored by the Commission assisted by a Committee composed of two representatives of each Member State and chaired by a Commission representative. A draft work programme defining the detailed objectives, the types of projects and activities to be undertaken and the corresponding financial plan was drawn up by the Commission annually.

Projects were selected by reply to open invitations to tender and financed by means of shared-cost contracts. Community support was normally 50% of total expenditure. Participants could be companies (including SMEs), universities and other bodies established in the Community. Each project had to involve at least two independent industrial partners from a minimum of two Member States.

The Commission, after consulting the Committee, defined procedures (including rules on confidentiality) for the exchange of information between Member States, the Commission and suppliers.

Results of the programme were reported by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council/Member States after 30 months or as soon as 60% of the budget had been committed. At the end of the five-year period a final report on performance and results was also submitted.