Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 6 600 million

Official Journal Reference

L 117 of 1990-05-08

Legislative Reference

90/221/Euratom, CEE of 1990-04-23
To strengthen the scientific and technological basis of European industry and to encourage it to become more competitive at international level by supporting, through appropriate measures, enterprises (including small and medium-sized undertakings), research centres and universities in their research and technological development activities and in their efforts to cooperate with one another.


The legal basis of this third Framework programme is the new Title VI, articles 130f to 130q, of the EEC Treaty, as set forth in the Single European Act adopted in 1987.

Although the nature of Community-sponsored research and technological development is preponderantly pre-competitive, the process of technological progress requires a continuum of interlinked activities, ranging from basic research to the demonstration of the applications of new technologies. The main areas to be covered by these activities, the broad objectives which they are expected to achieve and the amounts deemed necessary for their implementation are set forth in the multiannual framework programmes.



- Information and communications technologies (ECU 2,516 million):
. Information technologies (ECU 1532 million);
. Communications technologies (ECU 554 million);
. Development of telematic systems of general interest (ECU 430 million);

- Industrial and materials technologies (ECU 1,007 million):
. Industrial and materials technologies (ECU 848 million);
. Measurement and testing (ECU 159 million);


- Environment (ECU 587 million):
. Environment (ECU 469 million);
. Marine sciences and technologies (ECU 118 million);

- Life sciences and technologies (ECU 840 million):
. Biotechnology (ECU 186 million);
. Agriculture and agro-industrial research, including fisheries (ECU 377 million);
. Biomedical and health research (ECU 151 million);
. Life sciences and technologies for developing countries (ECU 126 million);

- Energy (ECU 1,063 million):
. Non-nuclear energies (ECU 217 million);
. Nuclear fission safety (ECU 228 million);
. Controlled nuclear fusion (ECU 568 million);


- Human capital and mobility (ECU 587 million);



This third Framework programme of Community activities in the field of research and technological development (1990-1994), unanimously adopted by the Council, is implemented primarily through specific programmes adopted by the Council on the basis of a qualified majority and grouped around three strategic axes. The Decisions adopted in implementation of the second Framework programme (1987- 1991) remain in force.

Research activities under the programme take the form of "in-house" research by the Joint Research Centre (formerly, "direct action"), shared-cost or contract research (formerly, "indirect action"), and coordination of research (formerly, "concerted action"). Community research and technological development (RTD) may also be carried out through structures such as the "joint undertaking", as in the case of the Joint European Torus (JET) Joint Undertaking within the Fusion programme. This allows complementary programmes to be implemented in which only interested Member States need take part.

Each specific programme must define the detailed rules for its implementation and fix its duration, state its precise objectives and provide for an evaluation of the results achieved in relation to those objectives, be evaluated following the strict selection criteria contained in Annex III of the Council Decision on the Framework programme, and define the rate or rates of the Community's financial participation. For the implementation of these programmes, decisions may be taken on supplementary programmes involving the participation of certain Member States only, on participation in research and development programmes undertaken by several Member States and on cooperation in Community RTD and demonstration with third countries or international organizations.

COST actions are expected to contribute increasingly to the implementation of this Framework programme and to play a specific and complementary role by encouraging scientific and technical cooperation between the Community and the members of COST through research projects of a multilateral character. It is also envisaged that links with long-term EUREKA projects which meet the criteria for Community action will be established or strengthened. There will be greater consultation of representative scientific, technical and industrial bodies in the Community.

The total Community funds deemed necessary for the various activities amount to ECU 6,600 million, including ECU 550 million for the Joint Research Centre.

Measures to disseminate knowledge and results arising from the specific and supplementary programmes shall be implemented, on the one hand, by the programmes themselves and, on the other, by means of a centralized action. The amount deemed necessary for the centralized action is ECU 66 million, to be drawn proportionally from the amount deemed necessary for each activity. Encouragement will be given to the creation or extension of the activities of national and regional relay centres to provide easier access to information for small and medium-sized undertakings and private and public research laboratories.

During the third year of execution of the programme the Commission shall assess its progress and communicate the findings of this assessment to the Council. It shall make a new evaluation of the programme when implementation has been completed.
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