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Specific Programme for research, technological development and demonstration on "Quality of life and management of living resources", 1998-2002

The legislation to establish the Fifth Framework Programme, the specific programmes established under it and the rules for participation in the new programme was adopted by the European Council on 22 December 1998.

The programme "Quality of life and living resources" is the first thematic programme of the Fifth Framework Programme's first activity. The first activity covers the research, technological development and demonstration programmes.

The main objective of the programme is to apply the massive expansion of scientific knowledge of the structure and mechanisms of living things to the problems man faces with the quality of life and the management of living resources. Six 'key actions' are identified in which European research will be able to make a contribution, through innovative products, processes or services to the resolution of this problem. The key actions are targeted at socio-economic needs and the Community's policy objectives, for example in agriculture and fisheries, industry and consumers, and in the fields of health and the environment. Additional research and technological development activities of a generic nature and support to research infrastructures aim to build up knowledge in specific areas in the longer term.

Research activities will focus on clearly identified needs:

- Meeting socio-economic need, on the demand side by promoting health, reconciling economic development with environmental requirements and on the supply side by improving responses to consumer need and by stimulating economic growth and job-creation;

- Increasing European added value by addressing the major cross-border issues selectively, such as the health aspects of diseases, or trans-boundary resource management. The scientific bases of areas such as drug abuse, bio-safety and bio-ethics will be reinforced in support of Community policies. Some of the activities (such as genome research, neurosciences and technology assessment) because of their size and complexity can only be addressed at European level;

- Improving European competitiveness by capitalizing on specific scientific strengths and in productive sectors with strong growth potential such as in biotechnology and food industries;

- Promoting biosafety by assessing the behaviour and impact on health of transgenic plants, microorganisms and vaccines and other recombinant organisms;

- Respecting an ethical framework.
To address the needs of society and to meet the requirements of the consumer, leading to future wealth and job creation and improvements in the state of the environment.
Within the first activity, the research, technological development and demonstration programme "Quality of life and living resources" will comprise six key actions, research and technological activities of a generic nature and support for research infrastructures:

- Key Actions:

. Food, nutrition and health;
. Control of infectious diseases;
. The "cell factory";
. Environment and health;
. Sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry and integrated development of rural areas, including mountain areas;
. The ageing population and disabilities;

- Research and Technological Development activities of a Generic nature:

. Chronic and degenerative diseases (in particular cancer and diabetes), cardiovascular diseases and rare diseases;
. Research into genomes and diseases of genetic origin;
. Neurosciences;
. Public health and health services research;
. Research relating to the disabled;
. Study of problems relating to medical ethics and bioethics in the context of respect for fundamental human values;
. Study of the socio-economic aspects of life sciences and technologies within the perspective of sustainable development (the impact on society, economy and employment;

- Support for Research Infrastructures:

Classes of infrastructure:

. Biological data and collections of biological material;
. Clinical research facilities, including pre-clinical research, identification of European-level studies and clinical trials;
. Facilities for aquaculture and fisheries research.
The Commission will be assisted by a Programme Committee consisting of Member state representatives and Chaired by a Commission representative. The Commission will retain responsibility for establishing a timetable and coordinating arrangements as well as setting out the selection and participation criteria and the arrangements for applying them for each type of action. The Commission will regularly inform the Committee of the overall progress of the implementation of the programme.

Financial contributions to the research and technological development activities, carried out under "Quality of life and management of living resources" will be made under different categories of 'indirect RTD' actions carried out by third parties under contracts concluded with the Community.

The Commission will ensure complementarity between indirect actions by grouping them round common objectives. This will guarantee coordination between other specific programmes implementing the Fifth Framework Programme, EURATOM, EUREKA, COST and other research-related instruments. Complementarity and links between other thematic programmes will be based on promoting interactions, usually between common 'key actions'.

Any proposals for projects to be funded under this programme will be evaluated by the Commission with assistance from independent experts, and following calls for proposals on the basis of the specific priorities of the programme and the work programme;

In the same way, the implementation of the programme will be monitored each year by the Commission with the help of independent expertise. In particular, they will examine the appropriateness of the objectives, priorities and financial resources and, if necessary, submit proposals to adopt or supplement the programme.