This proposal is a response to a suggestion by the European Commission to implement - within the context of the European Union's RTD programme on Industrial and Materials Technology - a Thematic Network Type 2 on "New Efficient Steel Technologies (NEST)". It encompasses relevant projects sponsored by the Europcan Commission Brite/Euram and Craft programmes. The main aim of the network is to initiate, maintain and monitor a fruitful co-operation process between on-going and future RTD projects receiving financial support from these programmes and to establish links to similar projects supported under the ECSC steel RTD activities thereby promoting improved cross-fertilisation and enhance industrial exploitation of RTD results. The proposed networking areas represent a key market of economic importance in terms of technology, economic development, environment and safety and meeting the customers needs for steel products in terms of value for money and quality in use. It will be focused on new process technologic for efficient and environment-friendly iron and steelmaking, rolling and surface treatment processes, pickling, waste recycling and the application of advanced on-line control strategies, new steel product development and new product applications to give improved characteristics and in-service performance together with the ease of recycling.
NEST is intended to be complementary to the existing ECSC Executive Committee and Expert Group network, enlarging the scope by also including raw material. environmental and energy saving aspects to cover the full spectrum of topics relating to the new efficient and environmentally friendly steel production technologies relevant to the entire European steel industry, both large integrated steel works and mini-mills. NEST is therefore contributing with a substantial added value, to the past and existing Community support to RTD initiatives. It brings together a significant part of European academia, RTD and, most important industry. Because of its comparatively small size. its comprehensive scope and targeted participation NEST will have indirect influence on other RTD and industrial initiatives within the cluster themes identified. It should also exert a positive influence on the European steel industry and related sectors as a whole. A special feature of NEST is its open structure which is due to the fact that some projects to be networked are still in the process of contract negotiation or contract signature with the European Commission at the time of the submission of this proposal. The proposer group of NEST comprises eight projects at the date of proposal submission but it is expected that about 17 projects will participate in NEST. These candidate projects have already been identified and will be addressed to join NEST after signature of their respective contracts.
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