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Programme for research technological development and demonstration on "Competitive and sustainable growth 1998-2002"

The programme "Competitive and sustainable growth" was the third thematic programme of the the Fifth Framework Programme's first activity. The first activity covered the research, technological development and demonstration programmes.
The objective of the programme was to support research activities contributing to competitiveness and sustainability. Industry had a role in identifying areas for collaboration and in bringing together and integrating projects, especially cross-sectoral projects (along the added-value chains). Technology uptake and innovation were this way more efficiently ensured across Europe. Research focused on clearly identified needs, including:
- Answering socio-economic needs, by stimulating holistic approaches, strengthening innovative capacity and fostering the creation of businesses and services based on emerging technologies and new market opportunities. Parallel research into sustainable mobility and environmentally friendly processes products and services to improve quality of life;
- Stimulating European added value by solving the cross-border problems arising from the various key actions and mobilising national and other RTD resources to attain tangible results in cost-intensive technologies;
-Supporting European competitiveness, by bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and innovation and boosting competitiveness and productivity by fostering production systems and organisational concepts (such as eco-industries).
- Respecting human rights and a fundamental ethical framework, throughout the activities.
Particular attention was paid to stimulating and supporting the involvement of SMEs.
The aim was to increase economic growth and create new jobs by sustaining the innovation effort of European industry towards improved competitiveness and to support Community policies that enable competitive and sustainable development.
The activities of the “Competitive and sustainable growth” themtic programme were set out within four “Key actions” and two research activities:

A) Key actions The objective of the four key actions was to help to develop critical technologies, concepts and policies to solve identified problems.

1. Innovative products, processes and organisation: the goals of which was the modernisation of industry, improving industry’s overall quality and minimising resource consumption.

2. Sustainable mobility and intermodality: the aim of which was to contribute to the creation of a regulatory and accountable framework reflecting socio-economic objectives; an interoperable infrastructure allowing the operation of attractive, environmentally friendly and efficient transport means; modal and intermodal systems for managing operations and providing services.

3. Land transport and marine technologies: aimed to develop critical technologies and to integrate and validate advanced industrial concepts to attain improved fuel efficiency and reduction of emissions and improved performance and system competitiveness.

4. New perspectives for aeronautics: aimed to strengthen the competitiveness of the European aeronautical industry, while ensuring sustainable growth of air transportation with regard to environmental and safety issues.

B.) Research and Technological Development Activities of a Generic Nature
These activities, with potential multi-sectoral applications, helped to develop the scientific and technological base in a limited number of critical areas:
1. New and improved materials and their production and transformation;
2. New and improved materials and production technologies in the steel field;
3. Measurements and testing.

C.) Support for Research Infrastructures
This action aimed to stimulate infrastructure operators to co-operate and pool resources among themselves, as well as with users of the infrastructure. Further, it helped to provide a relevant networked environment in the fields covered by the Programme. It improved information flow towards European researchers and facilitated transnational access to facilities to researchers. Specific objectives included:
1. Support for European metrological infrastructure;
2. Support to improve quality and comparability of data and co-ordination of reference databases.
The Commission was assisted by a programme Committee consisting of representatives of the member states and an appointed Chairman from the Commission. The Commission established the timetable and co-ordinated the implementation of the programme (selection and participation criteria and the arrangements for applying them for each type of action).
Participation in the programme was open to all legal entities established in a member state or in an associated state. Provisions were made for the participation of legal entities from third countries and any international organisation - provided that their participation was in the interests of the Community. Also the Joint Research Centre (JRC) participated in the indirect activities covered by the programme.
The Commission ensured complementarity within and between the different key actions and programmes and with the JRC. Co-ordination was also fostered between EUREKA, COST and other research-related instruments.
All proposals for projects were evaluated by the Commission with assistance from independent expert, and following calls for proposals on the basis of the specific priorities of the programme and the work programme.
The implementation of the programme was monitored yearly by the Commission with the help of independent expertise.