Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Specific programme of research and technological development, including demonstration, to be carried out for the European Community by the JRC (direct actions) - Information technologies -, 1995-1998

Framework programme


Programme funding

EUR 11 million

Official Journal Reference

L 361 of 1994-12-31

Legislative Reference

94/918/EC of 1995-12-15
Institutional scientific and technical support activities aimed at contributing to the improvement of safety and systems reliability.


At the request of DG III, the JRC provides institutional scientific and technical support to the implementation of the specific RTD programme in the field information technologies under the Fourth Framework Programme (1994-1998).

Institutional scientific and technical support activities, which constitutes one element of JRC direct action, are defined as those activities which are necessary for the formulation and implementation of Community policies and other tasks undertaken by the Commission which necessitate the neutrality of the JRC. The other element of JRC direct action is institutional research activities, which are described as those for which the JRC has expertise and special, if not unique, facilities in the Community which contribute to the implementation of the RTD policy of the Community. The JRC does not carry out institutional research activities in support of the information technologies programme.

The work carried out by the JRC focuses primarily on contributing to the safety and reliability of systems, including safety-critical computer systems, robots and safety-relevant computer systems. Prenormative work is targeted on promoting the Community's Single Market with respect to the emerging pan-European Safety Critical Computer Systems market, with the JRC contribution focusing, in particular, on:

- Technology transfer to industry, the scientific community and the relevant Commission services;
- Support to existing and planned RTD work in this area, in collaboration with industry;
- Assistance to DG III in preparatory and prenormative work towards managing the information flow from information technology research projects to standardization bodies, and vice versa.

The possibility exists that the JRC could be called upon to become a conformity testing site for specialized software and make other contributions in the information technology area, such as the development of testing methodologies, the organization of workshops and training activities.

In addition to the direct actions, the JRC may bid for contracts to carry out other support activities within the framework of a competitive approach. Actions within this framework are carried out by means of work suited to a competitive approach in the context of a customer/contractor relationship and intended for scientific and technical support to Community policies.

Under the specific programme in the area of information technologies, such work is orientated towards enabling the Commission to pursue Community IT policy, notably in fields such as software technology, components and systems, or multimedia technology, as well as in other priority fields such as, for example, high-performance computing systems, microprocessing systems and the integration of such technologies into a professional environment.


Institutional scientific and technical support activities:

One area:

- Safety and reliability of systems:
To contribute to the establishment of a pan-European prenormative reference framework for design and assessment methods for Safety Critical Computer Systems (SCCS). Particular topics encompass:
. Data collection and analysis of system incidents related to software/hardware failures and human computer interaction errors, including the possible setting up of a SCCS documentation centre and reference centre for software incident reporting;
. Development of a systematic methodology for performing a functional analysis of an industrial system with embedded software components and with human interactions;
. Assistance to DG III in organizing collaborative benchmark exercises to evaluate various benchmark techniques for software development and their effects on systems reliability;
. Robotics case study: application of software engineering best practice and assessment techniques in the development of safety critical control software for robot systems;
. Study of specific techniques for verification of software which includes the use of expert systems technology and knowledge-based systems;
. Development of knowledge-based tools for the support of good software engineering practices, necessary in particular for the development of high quality and reliable software;
. Education and training via workshops and seminars, and information dissemination on activities in the SCCS area;
. Support to the planning of SCCS activities under the specific RTD programme in the field of information technologies;
. Assistance to DG III to promote international collaboration and stimulation and participation in networks and interest groups in the SCCS area and software engineering.


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) contributes to the activities of the specific RTD programme in the field of information technologies (1994-1998) through the implementation of institutional scientific and technical support activities (See definition in the "General Information" section of this record).

The work in support of the information technologies programme is being conducted by the JRC Institute for Systems Engineering and Informatics (ISEI) which is located at Ispra.

The Commission, assisted by the Board of Governors of the JRC, is responsible for the implementation of these activities in accordance with the Decision adopting the specific programme of JRC direct actions to be carried out in support of certain programmes under the Fourth Framework Programme and the activities to be carried out within the framework of a competitive approach and intended for scientific and technical support to Community policies.

In the implementation of institutional activities, the JRC is required, when appropriate and feasible, to participate in, or organize networks of, public and private laboratories in the Member States or European research consortia. Particular attention must also be paid to cooperation with industry, especially with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

On the basis of the criterion of mutual benefit, the JRC may, at the request of the Commission, execute projects with legal entities established in third countries, provided this is deemed to make an effective contribution to the implementation of JRC activities. Legal entities from third countries may not, however, benefit from Community financing under this programme. Particular attention is paid to cooperation with research laboratories and institutes in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and in the independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Under the programme, provision is made for a number of accompanying measures, which include:

- The 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;
- Systematic exchange of information, through the organization of scientific seminars, workshops, colloquia, scientific publications, etc.;
- Specialized training with an emphasis on multidisciplinarity;
- The independent scientific and strategic evaluation of the performance of the projects and programmes.

The total funds estimated as necessary for the execution of JRC direct actions under the Fourth Framework Programme is ECU 600 million, of which a sum of ECU 11 million is reserved for the implementation of direct actions in support of the specific programme in the field of information technologies.

A further global budget of ECU 128 million is set aside under the Fourth Framework Programme for the implementation of competitive support activities, of which ECU 10 million is reserved for actions to be implemented for the information technologies programme. Activities under the competitive approach are assigned by the Commission to research bodies and centres, including the JRC, universities and undertakings on a competitive tendering basis.

The Commission will continuously and systematically monitor progress in the implementation of actions under the programme, paying particular attention to assessing whether the objectives, priorities and financial resources of the various actions are still appropriate.

Before 15 April each year, the Commission is required to submit an annual report, on the implementation of the JRC actions under the specific programme of research, technological development and demonstration to be implemented by the JRC under the Fourth Framework Programme. In addition, the Commission is required to organize an external assessment conducted by independent experts of the specific activities covered by the JRC programme and their management during the five years preceding this assessment. The results of this assessment, together with the annual reports, will be communicated to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee.
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