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Specific research and technological development programme (EEC) in the field of the environment, 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.3: "Environment", the programme builds on and complements work carried out under the STEP/EPOCH programmes (1989-1992).

The research activities are directed towards an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of the environment and towards devising and implementing integrated prevention strategies in all areas of human activity. Multidisciplinary research able to study all the elements which make up the biosphere and follow its historical development will look both at the relationship between man and his natural environment and at his relationship with his economic, social and cultural environment, etc., since these form an indivisible whole.

Participation in global change programmes will be concentrated on problems which have an impact on environment policy and in areas where the Community is best placed to ensure European coordination in the framework of large international programmes while taking account of national programmes. Where appropriate, projects will be carried out in close cooperation with the MAST and Biotechnology programmes. New activities will include Arctic campaigns in 1991/92 and 1992/93 to identify possible ozone depletion.

In the research area of technologies and engineering for the environment, scientific support for the activities of the future European Environmental Agency will be an important consideration. Activities relating to the protection and conservation of monuments and objects which are components of the European cultural heritage will be coordinated with the EUREKA project EURO-ENVIRONMENT and research teams funded by the programme will participate in the EUREKA project EUROCARE. Integrated research in the area of natural risks will provide a European contribution to the "International Decade for Natural Hazard Reduction".

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) will contribute through its own programme to activities in the environmental field, in particular by pre-normative work on atmospheric chemistry and on modelling, by study of the assessment and management of technological risks and by use of experimental ways of assessing such risks.
To complement and strengthen the activities of the ongoing environment research programmes, the main aim being to take account of the environment and the quality of life, to respond rapidly to the scientific challenges which arise from global change and to provide continuity in scientific support for the environmental policy of the Community.
Four areas:

- Participation in global change programmes:
To contribute to understanding the processes governing environmental change and to assess the impact of human activities:
. Natural climatic change:
To reconstruct and model the evolution of the climate system in the past in order to understand better how the system may evolve under the influence of factors of human origin;
. Anthropogenic climate change:
To understand, describe and forecast climatic change resulting from the enhanced greenhouse effect due to human activities;
. Climate change impacts:
To forecast the physical and human impacts of the foreseen climate change in the European Community;
. Stratospheric Ozone:
To understand and forecast processes which lead to the depletion of stratospheric ozone and the consequences of this depletion and to provide the scientific basis for preventive measures;
. Tropospheric physics and chemistry:
To elucidate important physico- chemical processes in the troposphere as a basis for the definition of preventive measures aimed at reducing emissions;
. Biogeochemical cycles:
To deepen the understanding of biogeochemical cycles and their disturbance by human activities and to provide the scientific basis for preventive and remedial actions;
. Ecosystem dynamics:
To understand and forecast the interaction of global change and the dynamics of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and to provide a scientific basis for preventive and adaptive policies;

- Technologies and engineering for the environment:
To promote better environmental quality standards by encouraging technological innovation at the pre- competitive level:
. Assessment of environmental quality and monitoring:
To contribute to the development of advanced equipment and analytical methods for high performance environmental monitoring systems;
. Technologies for protecting and rehabilitating the environment:
To contribute to the development of technologies for protecting and rehabilitating the environment including all the main aspects of urban and rural environment;

- Research on economic and social aspects of environmental issues:
To improve the understanding of the legal, economic, social, ethical and health aspects of environmental policy and management.
. Socio-economic assessment of the changing environment:
To develop the concepts of environmental social change and environmental economics and their application to environmental change and to the principles of lasting development;
. Socio- economic impact of environmental policies and research:
To incorporate environmental socio- economic factors into Community policies and to provide a socio-economic dimension for Community environmental R&D;

- Technological and natural risks:
To help solve broad problems of transnational interest through a systems approach and interdisciplinary research:
. Natural risks:
To understand the causes, mechanisms and consequences of hazardous environmental phenomena, and to provide the scientific basis for disaster management (preparedness, prediction, alert, mitigation or prevention, recovery and redevelopment);
. Technological risks:
To understand the consequences of human activities, technologies and products for human health and the environment as a basis for preventive Community policies and legislation;
. Desertification in the Mediterranean area:
To assess the natural and human causes, the mechanisms and the impacts of the spread of desertification in the Mediterranean area. Research will deal with the history, causes (human and climatic) and consequences of desertification.
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, accompanying measures and concerted actions.

The RTD projects are the subject of shared-cost contracts, with Community financial participation not normally exceeding 50%. Universities and other research centres have the option of requesting, for each project, either 50% funding of total expenditure 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.

The accompanying measures consist of:
- The organization of seminars, workshops and scientific conferences;
- Internal coordination through the creation of integrating groups;
- Advanced technology training programmes, with emphasis being placed on multidisciplinarity;
- Promotion of the exploitation of results;
- Ongoing consideration of the problems arising in the long term in the environmental sphere, by a high-level working party of experts;
- Independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the operation of the projects and the programme.

Concerted actions consist of action by the Community to coordinate the individual research activities carried out in the Member States. They may benefit from 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 countries which are members of COST, particularly the member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, with a view to associating them with the whole programme or a part of it. Bodies and enterprises established in European third countries may, on the basis of the criterion of mutual benefit, be allowed to take part in action undertaken within the context of the programme. For projects in Area 1 (Participation in global change programmes), this option may be extended to bodies and enterprises from other third countries engaged in research in this area.

No contracting body based outside the Community and participating as a partner in a project undertaken within the programme may benefit from Community financing for this programme. The body concerned shall contribute to the general administrative costs.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the programme amount to ECU 319 million, of which a sum equivalent to 1% of the budget is earmarked as the contribution from the programme to the centralized scheme for the dissemination and exploitation of results. At least 10% of the total will be allocated to basic research and 2% to training. An additional sum of ECU 150 million is earmarked for Joint Research Centre (JRC) research activities on the environment, including ECU 1.5 million representing the JRC's contribution to centralized dissemination activities under the present specific programme.

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 by a group of independent experts and submitted to these same bodies.