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Specific programme of research and technological development (EEC) in the field of telematic systems in areas of general interest - Linguistic research and engineering -, 1990-1994

Part of the specific programme of research and technological development in the field of telematic systems in areas of general interest (1990-1994) under Area 6: "Linguistic research and engineering", this action is based on the results and experience of previous Community initiatives, namely EUROTRA, ESPRIT and the Multilingual Action Plan.

The Community has actively promoted multilingual machine translation (MT) systems (SYSTRAN) and projects (EUROTRA) since the late 1970's. However, practical and cost-effective MT systems presuppose a long-term research effort and the solution of a number of fundamental linguistic and extra-linguistic problems. It is therefore essential to broaden the scope of current and future Community actions in the linguistic field, to encompass other, less ambitious and therefore perhaps more immediately feasible, applications. The LRE programme is intended to promote a range of R&D initiatives, not just in MT but in natural language processing (NLP) in general, and in various types of "spin-off" applications.

The research work will concentrate on the development of a common computer-based linguistic model for text representation in different languages and on the pursuit of automated techniques for reducing the number of possible interpretations of a given text. The development of advanced computational technologies will encourage the application, for linguistics, of progress made in the field of advanced expert systems, database technologies, speech processing and computer architectures. It is also intended to create methods, tools and linguistic resources, especially portable software tools, grammars, dictionaries, domain specific terminological collections, as well as large, high-quality corpora and the stimulation of standards work. Pilot applications and demonstration projects will help to test the progress of research work and to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of tools, methods and resources in an operational environment.
To develop a basic linguistic technology which can be incorporated into a large number of computer applications where natural language is an essential ingredient, with a view to accommodating or overcoming limitations and inefficiencies within the Community brought about by different natural languages.
Five action lines:

- Research of general interest:
. Improvement of the interlinguality of the linguistic representation of text/discourse;
. The use of domain specific knowledge to constrain possible linguistic interpretations;
. Interfacing with speech technology;
. Use of advanced computational technologies;

- Development of linguistic resources and related computational tools:
. Software tools;
. Grammars;
. Dictionaries;
. Terminological collections;
. Text corpora;

- Support for the formulation of standards and guidelines for the encoding and interchange of linguistic data:
. Prenormative research and experimentation, with special emphasis on dictionaries and text corpora;
. Formation of a European expert group;
. Participation in and stimulation of the work of national and international standards organizations and professional bodies;

- Pilot and demonstration projects:
. Machine translation;
. Document abstracting and indexing;
. Aids for mono- and multilingual document generation, storage and retrieval;
. Man- machine communication;
. Construction of knowledge bases from natural language text;
. Computer-aided instruction;

- Supporting actions and accompanying measures, with special emphasis on training in computational linguistics:
. Training;
. Studies, analyses and inquiries;
. Awareness programme and information dissemination.
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, which comprises research and technological development (RTD) projects, pilot and demonstration projects and accompanying measures.

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.

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. The body concerned shall contribute to the general administrative costs.