Programme for research, technological development and demonstration on "Improving the human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base" (1998-2002) The world is increasingly based on knowledge. The Communitys prime asset in this area is the quality of its researchers, engineers and technicians. "Improving the human resource potential and the socio-economic knowledge base" was the fourth activity of the Fifth Framework Programme. The following actions were undertaken to achieve the objectives of the programme: - Development of the Community's human research potential, ensuring equality of access and a better balance between men and women, particularly through the training and mobility of researchers; - Enhancing access to existing research infrastructures; - Making the Community an attractive place for researchers while promoting European research in the international arena and a European scientific and technological culture; - Using a specific key action to strengthen the socio-economic knowledge base for a better understanding of key problems facing European society; - Helping to develop scientific and technological policies and other Community policies.To improve and help develop the knowledge potential of European researchers, engineers and technicians through greater support for the training and mobility of researchers and by enhancing access to infrastructures; to mobilise and strengthen the socio-economic knowledge base so as to identify economic and social trends and requirements, both current and future, in order to contribute to the Community's competitiveness and quality of life of its citizens.The programme had five specific elements: 1. Supporting training and mobility of researchers through Research Training Networks and Marie Curie Fellowships; 2. Enhancing access to research infrastructures (including infrastructure co-operation networks); 3. Promoting scientific and technological excellence through high level scientific conferences, distinctions for high-level research work and raising public awareness; 4. Improving the socio-economic knowledge base; 5. Support for the development of scientific and technology policies in Europe through strategic analysis of specific policy issues and common basis of science, technology and innovation indicators.Applications relating to initiatives implemented as part of the programme were submitted to the Commission after the publication of a call for proposals. The Commission was assisted by a programme committee made up of representatives from member states and chaired by a representative from the Commission. The Commission specified the implementation schedule and co-ordination details together with selection and participation criteria and the details of their application for each type of activity. Financial contributions to technological research and development activities made in the context of the programme were allocated in the context of different categories of "indirect RTD" activities carried out by third parties in accordance with contracts entered into with the Community. These categories included: a) shared cost projects: - technological research and development projects funded to the level of 50 % of eligible costs; - demonstration projects, funded to the level of 35 % of eligible costs; - integrated projects, funded to the level of 35 % for the demonstration component and 50 % for the RTD component; - support for access to research infrastructures linked to the reception of teams of researchers from the Community in order to allow them to carry out their research work under the best possible conditions, funded to the level of 100 % of additional eligible costs; - co-operative research projects allowing at least three non-affiliated SMEs from at least two different Member States to entrust the resolution of their common technological problems to legal third parties in possession of the appropriate research capabilities, funded to the level of 50 % of eligible costs of the project; - exploratory awards facilitating the preparatory phase of an RTD project, a feasibility study, for example, project validation or the search for partners, for a maximum period of twelve months, covering up to 75% of eligible cost of the phase. b) support of networks: - networks consisting of manufacturers, users, universities, research centres and organisations involved in the distribution or the transfer of innovation aimed at increasing scientific and technological excellence, funded to the level of 100 % of additional eligible cost; - creation of research training networks aimed at training young researchers at pre- and post-doctoral level, funded to the level of 100 % of additional eligible costs; - concerted action aimed at co-ordinating RTD projects already in receipt of funding, in order to exchange acquired experience, extend research efforts, distribute the results and increase awareness of users, funded to the level of 100 % of additional eligible costs. c) accompanying measures contributing to the implementation of the programme or to the preparation of future projects (including distribution, information and communication activities) aimed at allowing them to achieve or define their strategic objectives. They were also aimed at preparing or supporting other indirect RTD projects. Initiatives relating to the marketing of products, processes or services, marketing activities or sales promotion were excluded. Community funding could cover up to 100 % of eligible costs of initiatives. Apart from these measures, the following additional specific regulations and criteria applied to this specific programme: a) support for the training and mobility of researchers: - establishment of research training programmes intended to train young researchers at pre- and post-doctoral level. These networks normally consisted of at least five non-affiliated legal entities, originating from at least three member states or associated states, and benefitted from funding to the level of 100 % of additional eligible costs. At least 60 % of the funding of each network were devoted to the cost of taking on young researchers. - Marie Curie fellowship system: *Fellowships covering up to 100 % of the eligible costs of the post and a contribution to the eligible costs of the host body when it was situated within the Community. These fellowships were normally given to graduates or young researchers who generally possessed a doctorate or experience of at least four years post-university research activity in a context other than that of doctorate work, or experienced researchers with at least ten years research experience at post-doctorate level and who were established members of the staff of a research institute. Researchers needed to be citizens or residents of a member state or an associate state and the research was in general to be undertaken in a country other than that of the fellowship recipient. *Individual Marie Curie research training fellowships: Fellowship applications were submitted jointly by the fellowship applicant and the host institution. Selection was carried out in accordance with various criteria including the candidates research experience and suitability. The fellowship was paid to the host institution and its sum was set taking into account the quality of the research and the equivalent level of fellowships paid to all researchers in the host country. Provisions were made for social security expenses and the host institution was responsible for ensuring that the fellowship recipient covers an amount of work appropriate to these costs. *Marie Curie industry fellowships: Host institutions were selected by the Commission in accordance with the quality of their research and their ability to provide adequate training supervision. Fellowship recipients were selected by the host institution on the basis of their scientific ability and the compatibility of their research experience with the proposed area of research (and criteria relating to qualifications and equal opportunities). Before a fellowship contract could be offered to him, the selected candidate needed to obtain confirmation from the Commission. *Marie Curie development fellowships: Host institutions were selected by the Commission, primarily on the basis of the relevance and impact of the professional domain to be researched. Fellowship recipients were selected by the host institution on the basis of their scientific ability and the compatibility of their research experience. Before a fellowship contract could be offered to him, the selected candidate must obtain confirmation from the Commission. *Marie Curie fellowships for experienced researchers: Applications for fellowships for experienced researcher were jointly submitted by the researcher and the host institution. Selection was made by the Commission based on the scientific excellence of the candidate and the quality and relevance of the project. *Placements at Marie Curie training sites: Training sites consisted of an identifiable part of a research body such as a research group. The training site needed to be internationally recognised in its respective field and be experienced in international doctorate training. Organisers of international doctoral studies could be considered as training sites in the context of a formal collaboration. Sites were selected by the Commission on the basis of the quality of the site and evidence of successful international doctoral training. Young researchers were selected by the training site on the basis of scientific merit and the relevance of their research for the training site. Before a fellowship contract could be offered to him, the selected candidate needed to obtain confirmation from the Commission. Young researchers needed to pursue their doctoral studies in a country other than that of the host institution, in a field similar to that of the training site. The period of training that they undertook at the training site needed to be an integral part of their doctorate studies and to last a maximum of one year. b) improving access to research infrastructures: - Transnational access to major research infrastructures: The infrastructures supported were selected according to various criteria including the quality of the research that external users could carry out there, the quality of scientific, technical and logistical support made available to external users and the returns the Community expected from its level of investment; - Networks for co-operation between infrastructures, selected for the most part according to their capacity to improve access to research infrastructures that are of interest at Community level and the service that they provide; - RTD projects linked to research infrastructures, selected on the basis of scientific originality, the quality of their research methodology and their work schedule, the capacity of the project to improve infrastructures available in Europe and the interest shown by infrastructure operators; - Concerted action aimed at encouraging the exchange of information between research infrastructure operators and researchers from member states or associate states on questions of common interest complementary to national or international efforts. c) promotion of scientific and technological excellence: - High-level scientific meetings supported on the basis of the interest of the proposed subject for the whole scientific community, the quality of the proposed programme for the meeting and its relevance to the future training of young researchers; - Distinctions for top-level research work, awarded on the basis of quality and scientific relevance; - Public awareness. Projects benefiting from Community support covered a question of more overall European interest and brought into play high-quality interaction between scientists and scientific communicators for the benefit of European citizens. Preference was given to projects bringing together at least three non-affiliated partners from a minimum of three different member states or associate states. The Commission ensured complementarity between indirect activities by grouping them around common objectives. It guaranteed co-ordination between other specific programmes implementing the Fifth Framework Programme such as EURATOM, EUREKA, COST and other instruments concerned with research such as PHARE, TACIS, MEDA, the EIF, structural funds and the EIB. Participation in the programme was open to all legal entities established in a member state or an associated state. The participation of legal entities from other countries or organisations was also provided for if, amongst other considerations, it was in the interest of the Community to secure their participation. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) could participate in indirect activities carried out as part of this specific programme. The Commission evaluated all project proposals received in the context of this programme with the help of independent experts following the calls for proposals, based on the specific programme priorities and work schedule. Similarly, the Commission examined the programmes progress each year with the help of independent experts. They evaluated in particular whether the objectives, priorities and financial resources were still appropriate and, if necessary, submitted proposals aimed at adapting or complementing the programme.