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Specific programme of research and technological development in the field of industrial and materials technologies - CRAFT -, 1990-1994

Part of the third Framework programme for Community activities in the field of research and technological development (1990 to 1994) under subactivity I.2.: "Industrial and materials technologies", CRAFT is an initiative operating within the BRITE/EURAM II programme (1990-1994) to facilitate the participation of industrial SMEs in Community research activities. It complements the feasibility premiums made available by BRITE/EURAM II for the purpose of helping SMEs to demonstrate their capacities to potential partners in future proposals for collaboration.

In order to examine the possibility of and necessity for a system of cooperative research at Community level, the Industrial Research and Development Advisory Committee (IRDAC) established in the Spring of 1988 a Working Party on "European Cooperative Research". On the basis of the Working Party's final report, IRDAC recommended the creation of a Community cooperative research scheme with the name CRAFT. A Task Force was then set up by IRDAC to consider the practical application of the scheme and to advise on the feasibility of supporting a limited number of pilot projects. In its "Opinion on the Feasibility of a CRAFT pilot phase", approved by the Plenary Committee on 13 October 1989, the Task Force recommended that the Commission finance in 1990 two or three pilot projects selected out of a total of 24 outline proposals which had been submitted by interested parties. Subsequently the CRAFT scheme was incorporated in the BRITE/EURAM II programme.
To assist groups of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited research resources of their own to join together and contract the necessary research work to a third party.
Information not presently available.
The Commission is responsible for implementing the scheme within the framework of the second BRITE/EURAM programme.

The CRAFT scheme is aimed primarily at SMEs with limited or no RTD resources of their own. It provides financial support to groups of industrial companies, in particular SMEs, which face a common industrial or technological research need. CRAFT enables these SMEs to come together and to contract a third party (a research centre, university or company) to carry out RTD research on their behalf.

The proposed RTD should conform with the objectives and contents of the BRITE/EURAM II programme. Research proposals must be:
- The result of a "bottom-up" approach, i.e. projects should be proposed by SMEs and reflect their current industrial problems or technological challenges;
- A response to common problems or RTD opportunities affecting a number of companies within one or more industrial sectors, rather than specific problems occurring in individual companies;
- Submitted by undertakings which are to take part in planning and piloting the research and implementing the results.

Subject to the availability of funds, projects may be presented at any time during a two-year period following the publication of a call for proposals in the Official Journal of the European Communities. Proposals are received in two steps, as "outline proposals" and as "final proposals", with an intervening expansion and definition phase. An award of up to ECU 15,000 may be provided by the Commission to help defray the costs of the expansion and definition phase.

The Prime Proposer should be an SME and the research must be carried out in Europe. Each proposal should include in its final stage two distinct groups of participants:
- The Proposers: Industrial companies, mainly SMEs, which have no or limited research facilities and are active in the field of the programme (mining, manufacturing, construction, processing, recycling, etc.). Participation of large companies as well as SMEs with well established R&D resources is possible if this is at the special request and interest of the proposing SMEs;
- The RTD performers who will carry out the project work, e.g. research centres, universities, higher education institutes, and/or companies.

The CRAFT scheme has a budget of approximately ECU 57 million. (9% of the BRITE/EURAM II budget). Projects should have a maximum duration of 2 years and maximum total costs of ECU 1 million. Up to 50% of the costs are funded by the Commission. The balance must be provided by the SMEs, which may provide in-kind contributions or find additional industrial funding sources.

Participants from third European countries who are members of COST and Central and Eastern European countries are allowed to participate on a project-by-project basis. They cannot act as Prime Proposer nor receive any funding from the Commission. They should contribute to the general administration of the programme.

CRAFT has established a network of National Focal Points which provide assistance and advice to potential participants. The Euro Info Centres may also serve as local help desks.