Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 3 750 million
To define a common Community strategy in the field of science and technology, setting out the scientific and technical objectives to be pursued at Community level together with selection criteria for Community action, relative priorities and financial indications.


The Community's research, development and demonstration activities have their foundation in Community law. The 1951 ECSC Treaty encouraged technical and scientific research aimed at increasing efficiency and safety in the iron and steel industry (Art. 55). The 1957 Euratom Treaty established the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the cost-sharing contract research programme and procedures for the coordination of national research projects. The 1957 EEC Treaty made provision for research intended to boost agricultural productivity (Art. 41) and provided a general legal basis (Art. 235) for action in a variety of sectors, including research and technology, for which no specific constitutional provision was originally made.

At its meetings on 9 November 1981 and 8 March and 30 June 1982, the Council affirmed the need to systemize and optimize Community activities in the field of research, development and demonstrations by the adoption of a framework programme containing broad indications for the medium-term development of the Community's scientific and technical objectives. At its meeting on 8 February 1983 the Council expressed a large measure of agreement on the need to increase Community expenditure on research and development and on the proportionally larger share which should be allotted to it in the Community's overall budget.

In its Resolution of 25 July 1983 (Official Journal No C 208 of 4.8.1983), having regard to proposals submitted by the Commission on 22 December 1982 and 20 May 1983 (Official Journal No C 169 of 29.6.1983), the Council approved the principle of framework programmes for periods of four years and defined the scientific and technical objectives and selection criteria for the period 1984-1987.


- Promoting agricultural competitiveness (ECU 130 million):
. Developing agricultural productivity and improving products: agriculture (ECU 115 million) and fisheries (EUC 15 million);

- Promoting industrial competitiveness (ECU 1060 million):
. Removing and reducing barriers (ECU 30 million);
. New techniques and products for the traditional industries (ECU 350 million);
. New technologies (ECU 680 million);

- Improving the management of raw materials (ECU 80 million);

- Improving the management of energy resources (ECU 1770 million):
. Developing nuclear fission energy (ECU 460 million);
. Controlled thermonuclear fusion (ECU 480 million);
. Developing renewable energy sources (ECU 310 million);
. Rational use of energy (ECU 520 million);

- Stepping up development aid (ECU 150 million);

- Improving living and working conditions (ECU 385 million):
. Improving safety and protecting health (ECU 190 million);
. Protecting the environment (ECU 195 million);

- Improving the effectiveness of the Community's scientific and technical potential (ECU 85 million);

- Horizontal action (ECU 90 million).


The Commission was responsible for implementing the programme by means of specific programmes adopted by the Council on the basis of proposals submitted by the Commission and designed to achieve one or more specific scientific and technical objectives.

The research took the form of "in-house" research carried out by the Joint Research Centre (hitherto called "direct action"), shared-cost research carried out by outside organizations (hitherto called "indirect action"), coordinated research (hitherto called "concerted action"), and "joint undertaking" research such as the Joint European Torus (JET) Joint Undertaking within the Fusion programme. The latter allowed complementary programmes to be implemented in which only interested Member States took part. Bursaries were made available in some programmes to promote the training and mobility of scientific personnel.

In the selection process, special attention was given to activities which could contribute to the definition or implementation of Community policies. Community action was considered to be justified in the following cases:
- Research on a very large scale for which individual Member States could not, or could only with difficulty, provide the necessary finance and personnel;
- Research, the joint execution of which would offer obvious financial benefits, even after taking account of the extra costs inherent in international cooperation;
- Research complementary to work carried out at national level and relating to problems whose solution required research on a large scale, particularly geographical;
- Research which helped to strengthen the cohesion of the common market and to unify the European scientific and technical area, and research leading, where needed, to the establishment of uniform standards.

The Commission reviewed the programme during the second year of execution and, in the light of this review, submitted to the Council and the European Parliament a proposal for a second programme.
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