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European strategic programme (EEC) for research and development in information technologies (ESPRIT), 1987-1992

Part of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987-1991) under subactivity 2.1.: "Information technologies".

The programme includes research and development projects, complementary basic research and accompanying measures.
To provide the European Information Technology (IT) industry with the basic technologies needed 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.
Three research and development areas:
- Microelectronics and peripheral electronics:
To enable the Community's microelectronics industry to supply the IT sector with the necessary state-of-the-art semi- conductor technology to provide complete IT systems;
- Information processing systems:
To combine software and hardware into the high-quality complex systems required in the nineties;
- IT application technologies:
To enhance the integration of IT in a broad range of applications, including computer-integrated manufacturing and office, home and business systems.

The programme covers basic research in selected areas, which complement the proposed R&D projects, including:
- Molecular electronics;
- Artificial intelligence and cognitive science;
- Application of solid state physics to IT;
- Advanced System Design.

Accompanying measures:
These are aimed at providing the framework necessary to make optimum industrial use of R&D activities undertaken under the ESPRIT programme as well as providing synergy between ESPRIT and related programmes.
Implementation of the programme is monitored by the Commission assisted by a Committee composed of two representatives of each Member State and chaired by a Commission representative. A draft workplan defining the detailed objectives, the types of projects and activities to be undertaken and the corresponding financial plan is drawn up every year by the Commission and updated as required.

Projects are selected from proposals submitted following open invitations to tender and financed by means of shared- cost contracts. The Community may bear up to 50% of total expenditure or, where universities and research institutes are involved, up to 100% of the marginal costs. Each project must involve at least two independent partners from a minimum of two Member States.
Projects may include organizations and enterprises (including universities) from non-Community European countries with which framework agreements for scientific and technical cooperation have been concluded. EFTA organizations participate in many current projects. Cooperation with COST actions in related research areas may be negotiated with the European states involved.

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

On completion of the programme the Commission will submit a final report on the results of the action to the European Parliament and the Council/Member States.