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Specific research and technological development programme (EEC) in the field of measurements and testing, 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", the present specific programme continues and extends the work carried out under the 1988-1992 BCR programme in the field of applied metrology and chemical analysis.

Research activities in the programme will be closely connected to the requirements of the internal market (as specified in the White Paper on the Completion of the Internal market) and to the implementation of specific Community policies. Close coordination with the relevant research programmes, European metrology and organizations concerned with standardization (such as CEN/CENELEC) will also be assured.
To achieve better harmonization of measuring, analytical and testing methods, assist in the development of new methods for measurements and testing in Europe, provide generic tools for securing accurate and valid measurements, develop new methods of physical measurement and chemical and biological analysis, and establish a good understanding of the generic limitation and sources of error inherent in current methods with a view to improving them in the most efficient way.
Four areas:

- Support to Regulations and Directives:
To improve methods of obtaining reliable and internationally accepted results for the application of Directives, in particular on food products, industrial products, environment and health. The work will consist in developing, improving or harmonizing the test methods required for the implementation of existing Directives and the preparation of new Regulations and Directives. It will concentrate on:
. Analysis of agricultural products, including animal feedingstuffs;
. Analysis of prepared foodstuffs;
. Measurement of contaminants in the air, in the water and in soil (including bacterial contamination);
. Measurement of noise and of harmful substances in the workplace;
. Biomedical analysis;
. Testing of industrial products;

- Sectoral testing problems:
To contribute to the implementation of "the Global Approach to Conformity Assessment" of industrial products (Council Resolution of 21.12.1989 Official Journal No C 10 of 16.1.1990) through support to European standardization, laboratory accreditation and mutual recognition. The work will consist in developing collaborative projects to improve measuring and testing techniques for industrial products, in order to achieve agreed results at Community level between laboratories within a particular industrial sector. This will include:
. Collaborative projects for improving or developing new testing methods which are likely to become European standards (CEN, CENELEC) where advances in the corresponding field are insufficient for the introduction of a directive on a given product;
. Collaborative projects for the improvement of standardized measuring and testing methods where the application thereof presents difficulties;
. Support for the organization of comparative studies amongst laboratories where this is necessary to facilitate mutual recognition agreements amongst test laboratories;

- Common means of calibration for the Community:
To support projects to develop the calibration means required by testing laboratories in the Community in order to ensure that measurements and tests are done on a common basis and can be compared also with measurements done outside the Community. With regard to physical measurements, transfer standards will be developed to enable smaller national metrology laboratories to establish relations and traceability of measurements with larger organizations. With regard to chemical analyses, collaborative projects towards establishing an internationally recognized framework for chemical measurements, including primary chemical standards and secondary standards, will be supported, and reference materials will be developed for the most important parameters of the measurements made in the food sector, agriculture, the environment and biomedical analysis;

- Development of new methods of measurements:
To develop new methods of measurements and analysis as required by Community policies. Basic research will be undertaken to achieve this aim, concentrating on:
. R&D on measurement principles which could lead to new types of instrumentation;
. New measurement methods in the specialist areas included in Area 1 (Support to Regulations and Directives), in particular the determination of the chemical form of polluting elements (speciation), food and biomedical analyses;
. R&D into new measurement methods required to relate frequently made measurements to the framework arising from Area 3 (Common means of calibration for the Community).
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by a committee of an advisory nature composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission.

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

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, independent of each other and established in different Member States.

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 accompanying measures consist of:
- The organization of seminars, workshops and scientific conferences;
- Internal coordination through the creation of integrating groups (in particular between testing laboratories);
- Training of specialists;
- Storage and dissemination of the reference materials certified at Community level;
- Promotion of the exploitation of results;
- Independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the operation of the projects and the programme.

The Commission is authorized to negotiate international agreements with third countries which are members of COST, in particular the member countries of EFTA and the countries of central and eastern Europe, with a view to associating them with all, or part, of the programme. When 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 be allowed to become partners in a project undertaken within the programme.

The knowledge acquired in the course of the projects will be disseminated both within the programme and by means of the centralized action for the dissemination and exploitation of results.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the programme amount to ECU 67 million, of which an amount equivalent to 1% of the budget is earmarked as the contribution from the programme to the centralized action. An amount equivalent to at least 10% of the total shall be used for projects encouraging fundamental research. An amount equivalent to at least 2% of the total shall be devoted to training of researchers.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) will contribute by means of its own measurement and testing programme to the implementation of the activities of the present programme via work on the preparation of nuclear and non-nuclear reference materials, the acquisition of reference data and the validation of certain techniques.

The Commission shall review the programme during the second year of implementation and submit a report to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee. At the end of the programme an evaluation of the results achieved shall be conducted by a group of independent experts and submitted, together with the Commission's comments, to these same bodies.