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+------------------------------------------------------------------+ | | Community funded research and development is be no means | | limited to a few spectacular programmes with catching names | | like JET, ESPRIT, BRITE and RACE. | | On the contrary, Community efforts in this field are made up of | | a vast and complex variety of mutually interlocking research | | actions and programmes for which the master plan is the | | Community R&D Frame-work Programme 1984-1987 adopted by the | Research Ministers of the Ten in July 1983. | | This is the picture emanating from a recent report on | | assessment of achievements under the various Community | | research, development and demonstration programmes, approved by | | the Commission and submitted to the Council and the European | | Parliament. +------------------------------------------------------------------+ The Commission has as part of its work of preparing the second Frame-work Programme for the period 1987-1991, under the auspices of Vice-President NARJES, Commissioner responsible for research and science, reviewed the recent performance of the current RD&D programmes. The present report is the result of a single, broad- spectrum exercise quite distinct from the independent evaluation to which each individual research programme is periodically subjected, but results of such evaluations have been taken into account where available. The Council and European Parliament may use this report in their deliberations leading to the adoption of the new Frame-work Programme. The adoption of the first Frame-work Programme led to a substantial advance in the RD&D activities of the Community with the added benefit of developing and realigning the overall effort. The annexed table I shows the actual resource allocations made in the period 1984-1985 to each of the seven strategic goals of the Frame- work Programme as compared with the target goals accepted as a planning guide by the Council in 1983 and with the situation in 1982. (1) COM(86) 15. - 2 - Significant features are a doubling of the resources allocated to promotion of industrial competitiveness (to which the Commission attaches particular importance), a reduction in the level of resources allocated to improvement of management of energy sources and a build-up of resources devoted to stimulation of R&D efficacy. Apart from the appearance of the major industrially oriented programmes like ESPRIT and BRITE which have led to the introcudtiton of important new management methods in order to ensure active participation of industry in the research programmes, new lines of action like biotechnology, medical research and public health, science and technology for developing countries and S/T stimulation have been successfully launched. However, a number of actions have had to be terminated during the review period, like the Super Sara project, the hydrogen subprogramme, and some lines of work on solar energy. A notable reduction has taken place in the work on reactor safety. The different research programmes have been carried out in the form of direct actions, indirect actions and concerted actions. Direct actions signify that research takes place in establishments of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) importing on this Centre a key role in the execution of the Frame-work Programme. Indirect actions signify cost-shared research taking place in national laboratories. Concerted actions are those where the Community role is limited to that of inspiration and coordination. Pressure for diversification of modes of action have led to better focussing of disciplines and increased recourse to pilot-scale projects. Finally, the arrangements for advice on management and coordination with national programmes have been substantially rationalized and streamlined at the beginning of 1985, with a considerable reduction in the number of advisory committees. The report gives an account of the achievements of the individual programmes, grouped into a number of broad programme areas, including a programme summary and short assessment. Results of COST projects have been taken into account where appropriate. The FAST programme has been the subject of a separate evaluation report recently (COM(86) 10). A brief overview is given below: PROMOTING AGRICULTURAL COMPETITIVENESS Reductions in production costs, improvements in the hygienic quality of consumer products and in availability of fodder resources in dry seasons, and demonstration of new and useful agricultural activities in the Mediterranean region are examples of socio-economic advantages opened through the results under this programme area which only got effectively underway in 1985. - 3 - PROMOTING INDUSTRIAL COMPETITIVENESS The encouraging achievements so far of the programmes ESPRIT, BRITE and RACE are well known, but work in important areas like standards and reference materials which are in constant demand for industrial purposes has continued in both the nuclear and non-nuclear field. Research on steel, high temperature materials and substitution materials has led to improvements in cost competitiveness and increased Community independence vis-a-vis imported raw materials. An interesting example is the development of highly wear-resistant titanium nitride coatings which may increase the service life of cutting tools by a factor of ten. Under the programme of biotechnology, several achievements have been made in a short time-span, such as a methodology for new vaccines, development of a second generation bioreactor for the synthesis of valuable compounds, and establishment of techniques for genetic engineering methods in plants. They contribute to the industrial as well as agricultural competitiveness and reveal new important interfaces between agriculture and industry. IMPROVING THE MANAGEMENT OF RAW MATERIALS Useful developments in exploration methods (revealing new occurences of valuable metal ores in EC regions), ore processing and mining technology, and recycling of non-ferrous metals have led to improved supply of European industry on an economically attractive basis. Recycling of urban and industrial waste has resulted in no less than 26 patents and 18 industrial applications. The rate and quality of paper recycling has been increased. IMPROVING THE MANAGEMENT OF ENERGY RESOURCES Here the Community flagship is the JET Joint Undertaking, a major element of the Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion Programme the achievements of which place Europe in the forefront of worldwide fusion research. JET and other specialised medium- sized devices in operation or under construction in the associated laboratories contribute in a powerful way to the progress of fusion and are by themselves a demonstration of European high technology. Other branches of science and European industry will benefit from the important spin-offs of this programme in the fields of superconducting magnet technology, robotics, high power microwave systems, etc. At the same time the physics and technology basis needed for the detailed design of NET (Next European Torus), the device which will aim at demonstration the technological feasibility of fusion, is being established. Work on management and storage of radioactive waste, on safequarding of fissile materials and on decommissioning of nuclear installations has progressed with encourageing results in terms of methods and equipment. - 4 - Non-nuclear energy research (energy conservation, production and utilisation of hydrogen, solar energy, geothermal energy, systems analysis and modelling) has brought excellent results like thermodynamical optimisation of engines for motor cars (lean burn engine concept), development and industrial manufacturing of high performance silicon solar cells, and development of a new process scheme for pyrolysis of agricultural waste and wood residues, to name but a few. Energy demonstration activities (alternative energies, energy saving, oil substitution) show successful progress with macroeconomically sizeable effects on the economy of the energy markets. REINFORCING DEVELOPMENT AID Here solid progress has been made in immunological methods of handling important tropical diseases and the development of new methodologies in the diagnosis of bacterial disease by using monoclonal antibodies (e.g. tuberculosis, leptospirosis, leprosy). Research of tropical agriculture allows to anticipate positive results such as the genetic improvement of sorghum for its culture in semi-arid regions, the improvements of fodder crops in arid regions, crop protection against noxious insects and weeds, protein enrichment in certain crops. IMPROVING LIVING AND WORKING CONDITIONS AND ENVIRONMENT Major research subjects are radiation protectiton and medicine and public health, based on concertation of ongoing research efforts in the member states and other European countries participating through COST actions. With a special view to the coal and steel industry, progress was made in epidemiological research of respiratory diseases, in ergonomics and rehabilitation, as well as in industrial hygiene and safety in mines, coking plants and steel plants. Worth mentioning among interesting achievements in environmental protection is the establishment of test systems for genetic and ecological effects of chemicals, and improvement of the understanding of critical environmental processes (biogeochemical cycles, acid deposition, trace gases, stratospheric chemistry). In climatology, remote sensing and industrial risks significant practical results have been achieved. IMPROVING THE EFFICICACY OF THE COMMUNITY'S SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL POTENTIAL. More than 1000 transnational research linkages have been established demonstrating convincingly that it is possible to break down the barriers limiting the effectiveness of European science. ********** - 5 - Taken overall, the review shows substantial progress being made, both in respect of policy goals and in respect of methods and implementation. Only halfway through the 1984-1987 Frame- work Programme achievement of the goals is by no means complete. DISSEMINATIONS AND EXPLOITATION OF RD&D RESULTS A particular chapter of the report is devoted to the crucial question of dissemination and exploitation of RD&D results. It is quite clear that the Community programmes can only attain their real value if the new information and results obtained are used well beyond the population of those carrying out particular projects. The measures undertaken by the Commission to promote efficient dissemination and exploitation fall in three broad categories: - diffusion of research and demonstration results (scientific reports, conferences, data bases), - protection of R&D result (patents), - actions to promote the use of inventions (licences). Table II gives an indication of the utilisation of RD&D results.