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Two specific research and technological development programmes (EEC) in the field of the environment STEP/EPOCH - EPOCH -, 1989-1992

Part of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987-1991) under subactivity 1.3.: "Environment".

A continuation and extension of the R&D programme on Climatology and Natural Hazards (CLIMAT 3C, 1986-1990), it provides input for Commission participation in EUREKA projects such as EUROTRAC and EUROCARE.
To study past climates and climatic change, to understand the mechanisms behind the climate system as well as the impact of climate on the environment, and to improve the means for dealing with seismic risk.
Four research areas:

- Past climates and climate change: to study climatic conditions and climate change when the influence of man upon the climate system was non-existent or negligible, in order to provide a better understanding of the working of the climate system apart from man-induced changes;

- Climate processes and models: to understand better the mechanisms ruling the various components of the climate system and their interactions, in order to improve our ability to simulate and predict climate change, especially the change due to the greenhouse effect;

- Climate impacts and climate-related hazards: to understand the effects of climatic and hydrogeological factors, and especially of climate change, upon various sectors of the European environment (sea-level; land and water resources) and upon the occurrence of hazardous phenomena (landslides, floods and wild fires);

- Seismic hazard: to develop and improve the means for predicting, preventing and mitigating seismic risk in Europe, not only in earthquake-prone areas, but also in low-seismicity areas where, nevertheless, high-risk installations (industrial and power plants, dams, etc.) exist.
The Commission, assisted by the Management and Coordination Advisory Committee (CGC) on the Environment and Climatology, is responsible for implementing the programme through shared-cost research contracts, concerted actions, coordination activities, education and training, and studies and assessment.

It is open to universities, research organizations and industrial companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, individuals, or any combination thereof established in the Community. The association and involvement of non-Member States, international and national organizations are founded on the criterion of mutual advantage. In the case of European non-Member States, their association and involvement are made possible through the COST system and through the bilateral framework agreements with EFTA countries.

The maximum duration of the projects to be funded is 36 months. As a rule, they must be transnational. Regarding scientific management the projects are, whenever suitable, increasingly regrouped by themes or subthemes to be managed by a leading contractor who will coordinate the work of the participating research teams.

The Commission will review the programme in the third year of its implementation and submit a report thereon to the European Parliament and the Council. It will subsequently submit a final evaluation report on the results achieved.