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) - Measurements and testing -, 1995-1998

Framework programme


Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 105 million

Official Journal Reference

L 361 of 1994-12-31

Legislative Reference

94/918/EC of 1995-12-15
Institutional research activities comprising: prenormative research on reference materials and prenormative and normative research on reference measurements; and, prenormative research in the field of structural safety and reliability.


Under the Fourth Framework Programme, the JRC carries out institutional research activities in support of the specific programme of RTD in the area of Standards, Measurements and Testing.

Institutional research activities, which constitute one element of JRC direct action, are defined as those activities for which the JRC has expertise and special, if not unique, facilities in the Community which contribute to the implementation of the Community's RTD policy. The other element of JRC direct action is institutional scientific and technical support activities, which are described as those activities necessary for the formulation and implementation of Community policies and other tasks carried out by the Commission. The JRC does not carry out institutional scientific and support activities for the specific programme on Standards, Measurements and Testing (SMT).

The JRC contribution to the SMT programme is directly related to standardization and includes prenormative research on reference materials and prenormative and normative research on reference measurements, in particular in the following sectors:

- Preparation, characterization and certification of high-quality reference materials (International intercomparison exercises are to be used to ensure adequate quality assurance and to facilitate harmonization);
- Establishment of a common scientific basis for the chemical reference measurements;
- Measurements and evaluation of basic data, improvement of their quality and accuracy using the experimental installations available and by making use of European and international collaboration, in particular through networks.

In addition, the JRC conducts prenormative research in the field of structural safety and reliability to improve the design specifications of civil engineering works for the development of standards (Eurocodes). As before, this research continues to be conducted with the organizations in the Member States which have been grouped together since 1989 in the European Association of Structural Mechanics Laboratories.

In order to carry out destructive dynamic tests on civil engineering works and industrial structures made of steel, concrete, brickwork and composite materials, the JRC has conducted the European Laboratory for Structural assessment (ELSA) test wall and the Large Dynamic Test Facility (LDTF). Both these facilities are unique in Europe.

In addition to the direct actions, under the Fourth Framework Programme the JRC may bid for contracts to carry out other scientific and technological support activities within the framework of a competitive approach. Actions within this framework are carried out by means of work suited to a competitive tendering procedure in the context of a customer/contractor relationship. These are generally areas where the neutrality and autonomy of the JRC is not essential.

With regard to the specific programme in the area of standards, measurements and testing, support activities under the competitive approach may be aimed at the development of non-destructive test methods for mechanical structures and the software needed for the development of Community standards in the field of structural mechanics, in particular, for structures used in construction or, more broadly, civil engineering.


Institutional research activities:

Three areas:

- European Laboratory for Structural Assessment:
Execution of Community-wide programmes of prenormative research in the field of structural safety and reliability. Prenormative research is in support of the validation and further improvement of the design specifications for civil engineering structures contained in the Eurocodes;

- Reference materials:
To foster, with due regard to the principle of subsidiarity, the means and skills necessary for supporting and promoting efforts devoted to harmonization and standardization in analytical measurements. This is to be achieved by:
. Preparing, characterizing and certifying high quality reference materials proceeding with the establishment of a coordinated analytical measurement system at European level;
. Making use of measurements expertise and the refined analytical techniques for selected non-nuclear applications;

- Reference measurements:
To create the prerequisites for responding efficiently to present and future expectations in the area of reference materials by:
. Improving the neutron standards data set relative to which partial cross-sections or other quantities are determined. (The unique high resolution potential of the Geel Linac accelerator will be exploited for these neutron studies);
. Developing reference measurement techniques for applications predominantly in the fields of photon studies, environmental, medical and materials research in support of harmonization efforts at the European level.


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) contributes to the activities of the specific RTD programme in the field of standards, measurements and testing (1994-1998) through the implementation of institutional research activities (See definition in the "General Information" section of this record). These activities are carried out at the JRC Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM).

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 the 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 105 million is reserved for the implementation of direct actions in support of the specific programme in the area of standards, measurements and testing. The global JRC budget includes provisions for exploratory research (approximately 6% of the total) and the JRC's budget contribution necessary for its participation in shared-cost actions.

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 in the area of measurements and testing. Actions 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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