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Specific research and technological development and demonstration programme (EEC) in the field of agriculture and agro-industry, including fisheries, 1990-1994

Part of the third framework programme for Community activities in the field of research and technological development (1990 to 1994) under subactivity II.4.: "Life sciences and technologies", the programme builds on and continues work carried out under the ECLAIR, FLAIR and FAR programmes. It concerns all of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishery, aquaculture, food and non-food industries (in particular SMEs).

The research will involve interdisciplinary projects which make use in particular of the findings of biotechnology and take account of genetic factors, agricultural and sylvicultural engineering, cultivation or breeding techniques, and environment-plant interaction. In particular, there will be a project to develop effective remedies for desertification and deforestation. Research in the field of aquaculture and fisheries will be pursued. Precompetitive work already begun in the second framework programme, especially under the ECLAIR programme, will be supplemented by demonstration projects jointly developed by producers and users to demonstrate, on a scale approaching reality, the technical reliability and economic viability of a new product and/or technology, the feasibility of which has been proven on a small scale.

In the field of industrial uses for agricultural and sylvicultural raw materials, still within the pre-competitive sphere, research will as a matter of priority be directed to innovative processes aimed at industrial exploitability of the by-products of food-oriented applications and at developing new, cleaner industrial and energy applications holding out favourable economic prospects.

Agro-food research begun under the second framework programme, in particular under the FLAIR programme, will be amplified, particularly as regards: definition and satisfaction of nutritional needs, toxicology and food hygiene, new technologies for agro-food processing. Further work in these sectors will take account of ongoing programmes (ECLAIR, FLAIR, agricultural research and fisheries).
To help secure a better match between production of land and water-based biological resources and their use by consumers and industry, to upgrade and diversify agricultural and sylvicultural products, and to enhance the competitiveness of agricultural and agro-food undertakings in line with other Community policies while contributing to better rural and forestry management and assuring proper environmental protection.
Four areas:

- Primary production in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture:
To adapt primary production to the quantitative and qualitative demands of the market and the consumers, and to contribute to the efficiency and competitiveness of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture by stimulating positive interactions between the environment and the economics and technology of the primary production.;

- Inputs to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture:
To contribute to the competitiveness and viability of undertakings in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture through better control of inputs and a reduction in production costs, and to contribute to the protection of the environment and the sustainable exploitation of biological resources;

- Processing of biological raw materials from agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture:
To provide, through pre-competitive R&D, the basis for processes (including transport and storage) for new or improved, competitive products in the food, non-food and energy sectors (for example, biomass), by developing new, more efficient and environmentally and public-health-friendly industrial and energy applications for biological raw materials;

- End use and products:
To generate a better knowledge of the characteristics, as needed by users and consumers, with particular reference to public health and the environment, of final products derived from biological materials (food and non-food, including energy, forest and horticultural products).
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.

The programme comprises research and technological development (RTD) projects, demonstration projects, accompanying measures and concerted action.

The projects are the subject of shared-cost contracts. Community financial participation will not normally be more than 50% for RTD projects and 30% for demonstration projects. Universities and other research centres have the option of requesting, for each project, either 50% funding of total expenditure for RTD projects and 30% for demonstration projects or 100% funding of the additional marginal costs. Contracts relating to shared-cost research projects must as a general rule be concluded following a selection procedure based on calls for proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Projects must, as a general rule, provide for the participation of at least two partners, each independent of the other, established in different Member States. Each project proposal must include an environmental impact statement.

The accompanying measures consist of:
- The organization of seminars, workshops and scientific conferences;
- Internal coordination with the help of integrating groups;
- Advanced technology training programmes, with emphasis being placed on multidisciplinarity;
- Promotion of the exploitation of results;
- Independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the operation of the projects and the specific programme.

Concerted action consists of action by the Community to coordinate the individual research activities carried out in the Member States. Such action may receive funding of up to 100% of coordinating expenditure.

The Commission is authorized to negotiate, in accordance with Article 130n of the Treaty, international agreements with third country members of COST, in particular member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Central and Eastern European countries, with a view to associating them with the whole programme or a part of it. Where scientific and technical framework cooperation agreements have been concluded between the Community and European third countries, the bodies and enterprises established in those countries may, on the basis of the criterion of mutual benefit, be allowed to become partners in a project undertaken within the programme.

No contracting party based outside the Community and participating in a project undertaken within the programme may benefit from Community financing for this programme. Such party shall contribute to the general administrative costs.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the programme amount to ECU 377 million, of which a sum of ECU 45 million is reserved for carrying out demonstration projects and a sum amounting to 1% of the budget is earmarked as the contribution from the programme to the centralized scheme for the dissemination and exploitation of results. Between 2 and 5% of the total appropriation will be allocated to training research workers.

The knowledge acquired in the course of the projects will be disseminated both within the programme and by means of the centralized scheme.

The Commission will review the programme during the second year and send a report to the European Parliament and the Council. At the end of the programme an evaluation of the results achieved will be conducted for the Commission by a group of independent experts. This group's report, together with any comments by the Commission, will be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee.