Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Agreement for international cooperation in research and development in the domain of intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) between the European Community and Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States of America, Norway, Switzerland and Korea, 1995-2005

Official Journal Reference

L 161 of 1997-06-18

Legislative Reference

Decisione 97/378/CE of 1997-01-27
To encourage and facilitate research and development cooperation in the area of intelligent manufacturing systems between entities established in the European Community, Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States of America, Norway and Switzerland.


The proposed Agreement stems from the completion of a two-year feasibility study which recommended the establishment of a cooperation framework to pursue international collaboration in the area of intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS). The feasibility study was undertaken by European Community and a number of EFTA countries, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States of America. Three of the EFTA participants (Austria, Finland and Sweden) have since become full members of the European Union.

Cooperation to be carried out under the ten-year programme is aimed at:

- Enabling greater sophistication in manufacturing options;
- Improving the global environment;
- Improving the efficiency with which renewable and non-renewable resources are used;
- Creating products and conditions which significantly improve the quality of life for users;
- Improving the quality of the manufacturing environment;
- Developing a recognized and respected discipline of manufacturing which encourages the transfer of knowledge to future generations;
- Responding effectively to the globalization of manufacturing;
- Enlarging and opening markets around the world;
- Advancing manufacturing professionalism worldwide by providing global recognition and establishing an educational discipline for manufacturing.

In realizing these objectives, it is expected that cooperation under the IMS programme will serve as a catalytic agent for:

- Global manufacturing cooperation involving large and small companies, users and suppliers, universities and governments;

- Dissemination of the results of significant manufacturing improvements worldwide;

- Development of global manufacturing recommendations for standards through cooperative work on pre-standardization topics;

- Assessment and selection of priorities for global cooperation in manufacturing process development;

- Dissemination, understanding and application of consistent guidelines, provisions and model agreements that respect intellectual property rights (IPR) of participants and project consortium partners.


No details are available for this section.


The IMS cooperation programme, which is established for a period of ten years, is governed by a management structure consisting of:

- An international steering committee, composed of two members and one observer from each of the participants, which is responsible for overseeing and facilitating the implementation of the cooperation programme;

- An inter-regional secretariat which supports the logistical execution and follow-up of cooperation activities pursued under the agreement;

- A regional secretariat established and managed by Participants which provides administrative and logistical support to the implementation of the programme.

Cooperation under the IMS programme initially covers five technical themes:

- Total product life cycle issues;
- Process issues;
- Strategy, planning and design tools;
- Human, organizational and social issues;
- Virtual/extended enterprise issues.

Within these areas, cooperation projects may be carried out by consortia involving legal entities established in the territories of the Participants. Proposals for research projects under the IMS cooperation programme are first submitted to the regional secretariats for initial review. The consortium must then submit a formal proposal for detailed evaluation by the regions of all the partners in the consortium. This should include the formal commitment of each partner to the principles, structure and the intellectual property rights (IPR) provisions of the IMS programme, including a signed cooperation agreement covering IPR issues. Final endorsement of a project is made by the IMS steering committee. Each Participant is responsible for covering the costs of the participation of entities in its own territory. In the European Community context, it is envisaged that funding from the RTD Framework Programmes be made available for the participation of European entities, in particular from the current specific programmes covering Information Technologies and Industrial and Materials Technologies.

Provisions are contained in the agreement providing an option for the European Community, Switzerland and Norway to act as a single region, to be represented by a combined delegation on the IMS Steering Committee, and to be supported by a single IMS secretariat.
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