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Research and Technological Development Policy

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Fifth Framework Programme of the European
Community for Research, Technological Development and
Demonstration Activities (1998-2002)


Legal References

Decision n 182/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 December 1998 concerning the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (1998 to 2002) (OJ L26 of 01.02.1999).



The EU's RTD Policy has 3 main objectives:

  • To strengthen the scientific and technological bases of European industry, encouraging it to become more competitive at an international level;

  • To promote research activities in support of other EU policies (transport, environment etc.);

  • To contribute to the quality of life of European citizens and to the sustainable development of the EU as a whole.

To achieve these goals, the 5th Framework Programme for research and technological development has been defined according to the following criteria, which will also be used to select projects for funding:

  • European Added Value - so that only those projects which can be more efficiently conducted at the European level will be supported;

  • Social Objectives - improving the employment situation, promoting the quality of life and health and preserving the environment;

  • Economic Development and Scientific and Technological Prospects - areas which are expanding, in which EU industry can and must become more competitive, or in which prospects of significant scientific and technological development are opening up - in order to contribute to the harmonious and sustainable development of the EU.


Target Applicants/Beneficiaries

Research entities - including, inter alia, universities, research organisations, industrial companies, including SMEs, or individuals - may participate in all the specific programmes of the 5th Framework Programme.



The Programme is being implemented by the Directorate General for Research of the Commission with the assistance of the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The Directorate General for the Information Society is managing the Information Technologies Programme within the Fifth Framework Programme.


Eligible Zones

Associated states i.e. the candidates for EU-membership (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), members of the EFTA-EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and others (Israel and Switzerland) may participate with Community funding once association agreements are in force. An association agreement is being negotiated with Malta in 2000 and would enter into force in 2001. Third states may participate on a project by project basis if in conformity with the interests of the Community without Community funding (exceptionally with Community funding when duly justified as being essential for achieving the objectives of the project).



The duration of the Programme is from 1998-2002. The first calls for proposals were launched in March 1999.

All the calls published under the Fifth Framework Programme are available on:


Nature of activities

The Fifth Framework programme promotes four Community activities:

    1. Implementation of research, technological development and demonstration programmes;

    2. Promotion of co-operation in the field of Community research, technological development and demonstration with third countries and international organisations;

    3. Dissemination and optimisation of the results of activities in Community research, technological development and demonstration;

    4. Stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers in the Community.

The first Community activity relates to the following four thematic programmes which relate to implementing focused research, technological development and demonstration activities:

  • Quality of life and management of living resources;
  • User-friendly information society;
  • Competitive and sustainable growth;
  • Energy, environment and sustainable development.

The second, third and fourth Community activities relate to the following three horizontal programmes respectively:

  • Confirming the international role of Community research;
  • Promoting innovation and encouraging participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • Improving human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base.

These broad horizontal programmes underpin and complement the aforementioned four thematic programmes.

Each of the framework programmes also contain a specific programme covering the direct RTD actions to be implemented by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which comprise research, scientific and technical support of an institutional nature. The JRC will carry out its activities in close cooperation with the scientific community and enterprises in Europe.

One essential new characteristic of the Fifth Framework Programme is the integrated, problem-solving approach. Integration is strengthened at three levels:

    1. By the key action concept in the Thematic Programmes. Key actions are major innovations of the Fifth Framework Programme. They will enable the many and varied aspects of the economic and social issues to be targeted, by integrating the entire spectrum of activities and disciplines needed to achieve the objectives. They are supplemented with research and technological development activities of a generic nature, as well as support to research infrastructures aiming at building up, in the longer term, the knowledge base in areas of strategic importance for the future;

    2. By integration between Horizontal and Thematic Programmes objectives:

    • International cooperation;
    • Innovation and participation of SMEs;
    • Socio-economic and training aspects.

    3. By integration between Thematic Programmes.


Scope and Level of Assistance

The Community will contribute financially to the research and technological development activities, including demonstration activities carried out under the specific programmes implementing the framework programme. It will also directly carry out research and development activities in the areas covered by the framework programme.

Indirect RTD actions will comprise: shared-cost actions, which will be the principal mechanism for implementing the specific programmes, as well as training fellowships, support for training and thematic networks, concerted actions and accompanying measures.

The direct RTD actions to be implemented by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) will cover research and scientific and technical support activities of an institutional character.



The Commission shall systematically monitor each year the eight Specific Programmes. Each specific programme has a work programme describing the activities and the research areas. The work programmes will be revised regularly with the assistance of Advisory Groups of independent experts.



A budget of EUR 13.7 billion has been agreed for the implementation of the European Community section of the FP5. In addition, EUR 1.26 billion has been allocated to the Euratom programme, which makes the global budget amount to EUR 14.96 billion for the period 1999-2002.

The budget breakdown is as follows (in euro):

FP5 - EC Programme: Maximum Amounts and Breakdown (1998-2002)

  • Quality of life and management of living resources: 2413 million
  • User-friendly information society: 3600 million
  • Competitive and sustainable growth: 2705 million
  • Energy, Environment and sustainable development
  • Environment and sustainable development: 1033 million
  • Energy: 1042 million
  • Confirming the international role of Community research: 475 million
  • Promotion of innovation and encouragement of participation of SMEs: 363 million
  • Improving human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base: 1280 million
  • Joint Research Centre: 739 million
  • Maximum Overall Amount: 13.700 million euro

FP5 - Euratom Programme: Maximum Amounts and Breakdown (1998-2002)

  • Research and Training in the field of Nuclear Energy:97 million
  • Joint Research Centre (JRC): 281 million
  • Maximum Overall Amount: 12.600 million euro


Communication Supports


Additional sources of information

  • DG Research
    Communication Unit (AP06)
    European Commission, SDME 2/85
    Rue de la Loi, 200
    B-1049 Brussel
    T: +32-02-299 1865
    F: +32-02-295 8220

    For each programme there is a network of National Contact Points in the Member and Associated States. The contact details are available on:



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