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

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

It continues the fourth programme in this field (ENVPROT 4C), which was started in 1986.
To improve the productivity, quality and coordination of overall research dealing, inter alia, with health, pollution, ecology and Europe's cultural heritage with a view to both the solution of environmental protection problems in the short term and the formulation of preventive and anticipatory policies for the medium and long term.
Nine areas:

- Environment and human health:
. Biological markers of exposure and preclinical effects;
. Environmental epidemiology;
. Indoor air quality and its impact on man;

- Assessment of risks associated with chemicals:
. Protocols on the assessment of health risks;
. Alternatives to using animals to test chemicals;
. The abiotic degradation of chemicals;
. The ecological effects of chemicals;
. Quantitative structure/activity relationships (QSARs);

- Atmospheric processes and air quality:
. Tropospheric chemistry;
. Stratospheric chemistry, ozone depletion and related issues;
. Air pollution effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems;

- Water quality:
. Analysis and conversion of pollutants;
. Effects of pollutants;

- Soil and groundwater protection:
. Protection against inorganic pollutants;
. Protection against organic pollutants;
. Effects of agricultural and forestry practice;

- Ecosystem research:
. Terrestrial ecosystems;
. Aquatic and coastal ecosystems (including wetlands);

- Protection and conservation of Europe's cultural heritage:
. The mechanisms of deterioration;
. Critical environmental factors;
. Damage assessment;
. Material characterization;
. Conservation techniques;

- Technologies for environmental protection:
. Waste research;
. Emission abatement;
. Clean technologies;

- Major technological hazards and fire safety:
. Physical and chemical phenomena;
. Technologies of accident prevention;
. Evaluation and management of risk.
P 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, education and training, and studies and assessment.

The programme is open to universities, research organizations and industrial companies (including small and medium-sized enterprises), individuals, or any combination thereof, established in the Community. Projects must be transnational. In the scientific management of the programme, the projects are, whenever suitable, increasingly grouped by themes or sub-themes to be managed by a leading contractor, who will coordinate the work of the participating research teams.

In the case of shared- cost contracts, Community participation is generally 50 % of total expenditure, but this percentage may vary, according to the nature and stage of development of the research. Where universities and research institutes are involved, the Community may bear up to 100 % of the additional expenditure.

The association and involvement of non-Member States, international and national organizations are founded on the criterion of mutual advantage. The association and involvement of European non-Member States are made possible through the COST system and through the bilateral framework agreements with EFTA countries.

During the third year of implementation, the Commission will review the programme and submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council. It will subsequently submit a final evaluation of the results achieved.