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   The Commission today announced the list of ESPRIT projects
   selected in 1984, the first year of the main European
   Strategic Programme for Research and Development in
   Information Technology.
   A total of 104 collaborative research projects are being
   given the go-ahead, subject to final signature of contracts,
   following the 1984 call for proposals and the ESPRIT pilot
   phase launched in 1983. These contracts represent a total
   Community financial commitment of slightly less than
   ECU 180 million. ESPRIT projects are co-financed equally by
   the Community and the industrial participants in the
   programme.
   Each of these 1984 projects brings together an average of
   more than five partners across Community frontiers. In total,
   about 270 different European companies, universities and
   research institutes are involved, a number of them in several
   projects. Universities and institutes participate in 75%,
   small companies in 50% and large companies (over 500
   employees) in 70% of the contracts. In all cases participants
   are from at least two Member States and in general there is a
   good geographical balance of participation, reflecting the
   strength of proposals submitted from different parts of the
   Community and the increase in cooperation.
   The response to ESPRIT has been particularly positive.
   Following the adoption of the first five-year phase of the
   programme by the Council of Ministers on 28 February, 1984,
   six weeks were allowed for the submission of projects in the
   first year. Despite the compressed timetable,
   441 transnational research proposals were submitted from all
   Member States in response to this first call.
   The projects put forward were of high quality and represented
   a total funding requirement nearly five times higher than the
   programme's financial ceiling for 1984. This allowed the
   independant panels of evaluators to select the 104 projects
   from an impressive field and the final shortlist was
   unanimously recommended for adoption by both the ESPRIT
   Management Committee, representing the EEC governments, and
   the ESPRIT Advisory Board, drawn from the industrial and
   scientific community.
   ESPRIT follows an annual cycle and the 1985 call for
   proposals is already under way, following the adoption of this
   year's workplan by the Council of Ministers in December. The
   closing date for submissions is 25 March 1985, allowing a
   longer time for preparation. Community funding available for
   new ESPRIT commitments in 1985 is ECU 215 million, out of the
   total Community contribution of ECU 750 million set for the
   first five-year phase (1984-88) of the programme.
               
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   An interesting feature of the 1985 call for proposals, is that
   it stresses the industrial nature that projects in ESPRIT
   should have.
   ESPRIT clearly remains a specific element of the European R&D
   strategy. However proposals must be encouraged to lead to
   demonstrable results on prototypes.
   This would change one of the structural flaws of European
   R&D, i.e. its difficulty to translate highly valued Research
   work into actual industrial products. 

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