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Research programme (EEC) on materials (raw materials and advanced materials) - Advanced materials (EURAM) -, 1986-1989

Part of the first Framework programme (1984-1987) under activity 3: "Improving the management of raw materials", EURAM followed a similar programme concerning substitution materials, undertaken during the period 1982-1985, as well as other more specific actions, including the concerted European action on magnets (CEAM) which was part of the STIMULATION programme. The BRITE programme (1985- 1988) also contained a significant element of materials research.

This first EURAM programme was implemented as a subprogramme of the 1986-1989 research programme on materials. The other subprogrammes covered primary raw materials (minerals), secondary raw materials, and wood (including cork) as a renewable raw material. EURAM was subsequently integrated with BRITE as part of BRITE/EURAM I (1989-1992).

The programme was based on new material families generally in the initial phase of development and having, in most cases, a limited market in the years to come. A very small part of the programme was devoted to the upgrading of traditional materials. In view of the fact that materials for electronics were covered by ESPRIT, ferrous materials by the ECSC, and superalloys by the COST 50, 501 and 505 programmes, only two major families of materials were missing from EURAM: polymers and elastomers. Also missing were super-conductor ceramics, a field which had not yet appeared at the time when the programme was conceived.
To provide the basis for a Community policy for supporting research and development in the advanced materials sector and for coordinating national programmes.
Three main research areas:

- Metallic materials:
. Light aluminium-based alloys;
. Light magnesium-based alloys;
. Light titanium-based alloys;
. Electronic and electrical-contact materials;
. High-performance magnetic materials;
. Materials for surface coating for machine- tool and cutting equipment;
. Thin-walled castings;

- Engineering ceramics:
. Optimization of engineering ceramics;
. Study of metal/ceramic interface: cermets;
. Ceramic composites with fibres and whiskers;
. High-temperature behaviour of engineering ceramics;

- Composite materials:
. Organic-matrix composites;
. Metallic-matrix composites;
. Ceramic- matrix composites;
. Other specific advanced materials.
The Commission, assisted by the Management and Coordination Advisory Committee (CGC) on Raw Materials and Other Materials, was responsible for implementing the programme by means of shared-cost contract research and coordination and training activities.

With regard to the aim of the research carried out (to provide the basis for a Community policy for supporting R&D in the advanced materials sector and for coordinating national programmes), the Commission was called on to make, every two years:
- An assessment of European R&D capacity in the advanced materials sector, by area, by Member State and in the Community as a whole, by comparison with the technological capacity of Japan and the US;
- A medium-term analysis and estimate of requirements in the various sectors of the European industry in relation, if necessary, with other Community programmes related to materials.

The Commission was authorized to negotiate agreements with third States, in particular those involved in European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical research (COST), with a view to associating them wholly or partly with the programme.

An early evaluation of the programme (the research had just started and in some cases the contracts had not been signed) was carried out by a panel of external independent experts and published by the Commission in November 1988.