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Community programme (EEC) in the field of strategic analysis, forecasting and evaluation in matters of research and technology (MONITOR) - FAST forecasting -, 1989-1993

Part of the second Framework programme for research and technological development (1987-1991) under subactivity 8.3: "Forecasting and assessment and other back-up measures, including statistics", this third FAST programme is a reoriented follow-up to the previous programmes. It is implemented as part of the MONITOR programme, which also includes SAST (Strategic Analyses in Science and Technology) and SPEAR (Support Programme for the Evaluation of Activities in the field of Research).
To conduct global analyses of the long-term effects of scientific and technological development and their interactions with the social and economic changes in the Community and worldwide, with particular attention to the achievement of the internal market, the improvement of industrial competitivity and the reinforcement of social and economic cohesion in the Community.
- Preparation of reports ("forecasting dossiers") on major topics or phenomena of a global character, either within or outside the Community;
- Undertaking of studies of the implications and consequences of selected scientific and technical developments which present important challenges for society in the future;
- Synthesis and critical analysis of the main forecasting studies published worldwide;
- Preparation, every two years, of a report on the economic and social implications of technological change, particularly in Europe.
The Commission, assisted by an Advisory Committee composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission, is responsible for implementing the programme.

The activities involve the participation of experts and working groups from outside the Commission under the responsibility and guidance of the FAST team in consultation with other Commission services concerned (including, where necessary, officials from other Directorates-General seconded to the FAST team for limited periods) and visiting scientists on secondment from the Member States or from non-member countries.

FAST activities are intended to continue to stimulate the development of European forecasting efforts and expertise. To this end, the FAST "12 + 1" network will be reinforced and the setting-up of an informal network of European experts in the field of prospection will be encouraged. (The "12 + 1" network comprises the 12 national FAST units nominated by the Member States to ensure interaction between Community activities and similar work undertaken in their own countries.)

Other complementary activities include participation in the European Forecasting Forum (EFT), which groups together research institutions and individuals competent in the field of forecasting, and further development of the European Regional Technology Assessment network (EURETA) to promote the exchange of information and experience between regional institutions concerned with the implications of scientific and technological change.

The activities are implemented chiefly by means of contracts for studies and services to be carried out on behalf of the Commission. The Community's financial contribution may be up to 100% of the expenditure involved. As a general rule, contracts are, where appropriate, awarded on the basis of calls for proposals or for tenders (restricted or public) published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The contracts entered into by the Commission regulate the rights and obligations of each party, including methods of dissemination, protecting and exploiting the research results.

During the third year of implementation, the Commission is required to review the programme and to submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council. It must also submit to these same bodies a final evaluation of the results achieved when the programme is completed.