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Programme for research and technological development, including demonstration, to be carried out by means of direct actions for the European Community by the Joint Research Centre, 1998-2002

The European Parliament, in its opinion of 18 December 1997, and the Council, in the common position which it adopted on 23 March 1998, have endorsed the general principles underlying the Commission's proposals concerning the Fifth Framework Programme for Community research. These principles place emphasis on a concentration of research activities that will make it possible to meet the Union's main socio-economic needs through the implementation of multidisciplinary activities grouped together in thematic and horizontal programmes.

This document is the Commission's proposals for the direct research and technological development actions to be implemented by the Joint Research Centre. The actions will comprise research and scientific and technical support activities of an institutional character.

The mission of the JRC is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. As a service of the European Commission, the JRC functions as a reference centre of science and technology for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of the Member States while remaining independent of commercial or national interests. The JRC must be able to underpin the EU policy making process by:

- Facilitating a better understanding of emerging issues;

- Providing scientific and technical support for the framing and implementation of policies;

- Providing realistic monitoring of the effectiveness of policy measures.

The target population is Europe's scientific and industrial community and that concerned with the various sectoral policies of the Commission in which the JRC is required to provide its support as Direct Action. An overall concern for the European citizen is apparent throughout the programme.
To provide scientific and technical support for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of EU policies.
The specific programme revolves around three main areas:

- Serving the citizen. The objective is to support those EU policies that are intended to protect citizens, provide them with information, maintain their health and protect their safety. Research will focus on different issues, in particular:

. Consumer protection. Including research to underpin the harmonisation and validation of methods for quality and safety analysis of feedingstuffs, food, beverages and consumer products;

. Medical and health applications. The application of several JRC-related technologies related to nuclear engineering, metrology, information-processing and material sciences;

. Benefit from the information society. The JRC's information technology expertise will be used to support the European dependability initiative as well as anti-fraud measures;

. Safety of the citizen, man-made hazards and natural hazards. Research will seek to protect individuals against hazards, and will tackle topics including support for EU industrial safety regulations and safety in the workplace, chemical products, civilian de-mining and the fight against illicit drugs.

- Enhancing sustainability. Technological development, sustainable growth, respect and care for the environment are key issues for the Union, enshrined in the Treaty and pursued through common policies and actions. In particular, the Community's Fifth Environmental Action Programme (1992-2000) forms the basis of EU environment policy and describes the attainment of sustainable development as the challenge of the 1990s.

The JRCs scientific and technical services will provide the necessary expertise to help understand the issues involved and support the implementation of the action programme. Research priorities will include:

. Socio- and techno-economic studies to improve the integration of environmental protection in sectoral EU policies;

. Activities to support environmental legislation, including those supporting environmental legislation for integrated pollution prevention and control in industry;

. Global change. The JRC will provide the strong technical support needed in order to maintain the EU's credibility as a Party to the Kyoto Climate Convention;

. Energy and transport and the formulation of effective policies to reduce emissions and replace fossil fuels with renewable energies;

. Agriculture, rural development and fisheries. The JRC will continue to play an active role in supporting EU policy priorities to make agriculture more competitive in world markets, to give new priority to sustainable and rural development.

-Underpinning European Competitiveness. The EU's primary contribution to economic development, growth and job creation is the promotion of an efficient internal market in all products and services. The EU negotiates trading agreements with third countries to ensure fair market access for EU products and the stimulation of economic growth. Fair trading depends on internationally agreed standards and the JRC will continue to support the promotion and development of soundly-based European and international norms, standards, codes of practice and reference tools. Research will target, inter alia, the following issues:

. Employment, technology and industrial competitiveness. Investigation of the means of communication between technology, employment and competitiveness, and analysis of factors limiting the development of less favoured European regions with a view to eliminating bottle-necks and improving competitiveness and employment;

. Normative support to the international trading system. Activities to give industries predictable and reliable market access conditions and produce well-established, verifiable and internationally accepted measurements;

. Innovation and technology transfer. The JRC will support efforts to understand the processes that control the transfer of knowledge from the research sector to the private sector and to maximize the benefits of its own technology to industry;

. Enlargement, pre-accession and international cooperation. JRC will support the enlargement process by sharing its knowledge with scientists from future EU Member States, hosting their scientists and encouraging them to use its facilities and join its networks. It will promote their association with international measurement evaluation programmes and will develop the cooperation with Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Partnership countries. In addition, the JRC will develop a multidisciplinary database of harmonized and consistent geographical data for an enlarged European Union.
The programme will be implemented during the period 1998-2002.

The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme to be carried out by the JRC. It will establish a work-programme and a timetable for the implementation of the programme, based on the scientific objectives and contents set out in the proposals. It will be advised by the Board of Governors of the JRC.

JRC RTD project activities will be carried out in the relevant institutions and will be implemented through 'direct RTD actions' - institutional research, scientific and technical support activities, and accompanying measures funded entirely by Community own resources. The JRC will implement these direct actions on the basis of the following specific rules:

- JRC will, wherever possible, participate in or organize networks of public and private laboratories in the Member States or European research consortia. Particular attention shall be paid to cooperation with industry, especially SMEs and to cooperation with research laboratories and institutes in central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. JRC will be responsible for disseminating any knowledge gained through the implementation of projects. Research bodies established in third countries may also cooperate on scientific and technological cooperation between the Community and the third countries concerned;

- Accompanying measures, including;

. Organization of visits to JRC institutes of grant holders, visiting scientists and seconded experts;

. Organization of the secondment of JRC staff to national laboratories, industrial laboratories and universities;

. Specialized training in support of the elaboration or implementation of European policies and specialized training with emphasis on multidisciplinarity;

. Systematic exchange of information, through inter alia the organization of scientific seminars, workshops and colloquiums and scientific publications;

. Independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the performance of the projects and programmes.

Community funding will be 100% of the costs of the direct RTD action. There are two main selection criteria for JRC activities. They are:

- Relevance to EU policies. An understanding of the policy agenda allows JRC research to be timely and support the formulation of policy where it is most needed;

- Subsidiarity. The research must be in an area where EU involvement is appropriate and it should be appropriate for the involvement through the JRC. It will operate in areas such as cross-border issues, consumer protection and anti-fraud where its unique pan-European identity provides added-value.