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Specific research and technological development programme (EEC) in the field of information technologies, 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.1.: "Information and communications technologies", the programme constitutes a third phase of the ESPRIT programme oriented towards the new generations of technologies. Building on the results of ESPRIT I and ESPRIT II, it will support work in areas in which the European information technology industry has established strengths as well as in areas where such industry is in a weak position.

Accompanying measures comprise technology transfer and training activities carried out in each of the areas. They include:
- Special actions to increase the potential for participation in Community R&D in Information Technology of organizations in peripheral regions and likewise their ability to make use of the results;
- Acquisition of information, both within the programme and from the information technology (IT) community at large, training measures to increase advanced skill levels of research workers and engineers which are related to the programme's R&D work, as well as measures to create awareness of opportunities and availability of results including standardization-oriented results, and to develop synergies between participants and with the IT community at large;
- The Information Exchange System (IES) for programme participants;
- Participation in the EUREKA project COSINE (Cooperation for OSI Networking in Europe).

These measures will be complementary to other existing activities at Community, national and international level, and take into account the requirements of subsidiarity and economic and social cohesion.
To strengthen the technological base of the Community in the field of information technologies while accelerating the integration of these technologies in the business world, in manufacturing and in private life.
Five areas:

- Micro-electronics:
To contribute to the strengthening of a European technology base on which future manufacturing capability of a broad range of leading edge ICs can be based (strategic work on very advanced submicron CMOS technologies will be carried out in synergy with the Joint European Submicron Silicon project - JESSI); to strengthen the capabilities in the Community with respect to the chain of designing manufacturing, testing and applying advanced and reliable integrated circuits; and to draw on all the resources available, ensuring wide participation of the largest number of potential actors (large and small industries, both producers and users, universities and research centres) in the Community.
Emphasis will be on application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

- Information processing systems and software:
To exploit potential technological breakthroughs in concurrent architectures, to provide better interfaces to satisfy the needs of end-users, and to promote the take up of new software production technologies;

- Advanced business and home systems; peripherals:
To establish function integration in the business environment as well as in and with the home environment, easing the use of systems.
An especially high priority will be given to prenormative work. Distributed computing, including database management, and also the corresponding workstations and microprocessor systems and technologies will be of major concern throughout the activities.
Two complementary areas are addressed: R&D activities concerning intelligent homes and intelligent buildings and R&D work on integrated business systems;

- Computer-integrated manufacturing and engineering:
To provide the technology base for open systems, multivendor systems and distributed operations in engineering and manufacturing environments as well as to contribute to better integration of advanced IT systems components in engineering industries. The work will focus on new generations of basic CIM technologies and on demonstrating their applicability in selected manufacturing and other engineering domains;

- Basic research:
To maintain and to expand the knowledge and expertise which underpin the scientific basis of European Information Technology. Areas that such actions support are selected on the grounds of:
. Their potential to produce future breakthroughs or important advances even if they have no immediately visible application. Particular emphasis will be given to topics which are expected to have long-term industrial potential;
. Their ability to benefit from the added value which cooperation on a European scale provides;
. Their positioning clearly upstream of R&D efforts, while contributing to the overall aims of the programme;
. The reinforcement of interdisciplinary links.
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 action projects.

The 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. These two partners will normally be industrial undertakings, except in the case of projects relating to basic research.

The accompanying measures consist of:
- The organization of seminars, workshops and scientific conferences;
- Internal coordination, by the creation of integrating groups;
- Advanced technology training programmes;
- An information exchange system;
- Promotion of the exploitation of results;
- Independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the operation of the research projects and the programme.

Concerted action projects 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, in particular 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. Where framework agreements for scientific and technical cooperation have been concluded between the Community and European non-Member States, 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 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. Such body shall contribute to the general administrative costs.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the programme amount to ECU 1,532 million, of which a sum of ECU 15.32 million 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 spent on the training of research workers and engineers.

The knowledge acquired in the course of the projects will be disseminated both within the programme and by means of the centralized scheme. Specific information on projects will be provided in close cooperation with CORDIS (Community R&D Information Service).

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.