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Specific research and technological development programme (EEC) in the field of the life sciences and technologies for developing countries, 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.4.: "Life sciences and technologies", the programme builds on and continues work carried out under the second Science and Technology for Development programme (1987-1991).

Actions focus on two areas of research fundamental to the development of the Third World, i.e. agriculture and medicine. The association of these two areas provides an opportunity to finance interface activities. Thus the programme allows consideration of the appropriate interdisciplinary projects concerning, for instance, nutrition, zoonosis and irrigation. This multidisciplinary approach is also encouraged within each of the areas, with reference, for example, to optimum use of natural resources or optimum environmental protection.
To increase cooperation in the fields of tropical agriculture (including fisheries), medicine, health, nutrition and environmental protection between the Community Member States and developing countries so as to enable the latter to benefit from the scientific knowledge and technological developments available in the Community and to strengthen both their own research capacity and that of the Community.
Two areas:

- Improvement of living conditions:
. Reduction of food shortages:
To increase agricultural, plant and animal production by sustainable methods so as to improve food provision in regions where, for climatic, physical or human reasons, this problem constitutes the first priority. The work will cover production systems (predominantly food production), plant production, animal production, fisheries and aquaculture, restoration of the environment, and the protection of nature;
. Development of agricultural production of high economic value:
To provide a scientific and technical basis to assess agricultural activities that are of high economic value (including the utilization of the forest and the aquatic environment) at the local level and for exportation in regions where there is no substantial food shortage. The following forms of production come under this strategic theme: main traditional export crops (groundnuts, cotton, coffee, rubber, palm oil, etc.), secondary crops giving a product of a high added value, food products (products of animal origin and vegetables) commanding a high price on urban markets or for regional export, forests and forestry, and the production of bioenergy. The work will cover production systems and the marketing of cash crops, quantitative improvements, qualitative improvements, feasibility studies of local processing, and environmental protection;

- Improvements in health:
. Prevention and treatment of the predominant diseases in the developing countries:
To reduce the impact of these diseases which continue to be the major public health problem in most of the developing countries;
. Health care systems appropriate to the rural or urban environment of the developing countries:
To study ways of organizing health care taking into account the specific constraints and the socio-economic context of the developing countries (financial, human and material resources) and the new opportunities offered by the results of biomedical research;
. Nutrition:
To develop the scientific basis necessary for improving the nutritional condition of underprivileged populations by means of a multidisciplinary approach between medicine, agronomy, economics and the social sciences.
The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by a committee of an advisory nature 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. A rate higher than 50% may be decided on in respect of participants who are nationals of developing countries. 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, be carried out by at least two mutually independent partners established in the Member States as well as one partner established in a developing country.

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;
- 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, in particular the member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Central and Eastern European countries, with a view to associating them with the whole programme or a part of it. However, no contracting body based in these countries 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.

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.

The Community funds estimated as necessary for the execution of the programme amount to ECU 126 million, of which a sum amounting to 1% of the budget is earmarked as the contribution from the programme to the centralized scheme for the dissemination and exploitation of results.

The knowledge gained 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.