The Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) sets out the priorities for the European Union's research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities for the period 1998-2002. These priorities have been identified on the basis of a set of common criteria reflecting the major concerns of increasing industrial competitiveness and the quality of life for European citizens.
The Fifth RTD Framework Programme differs considerably from its predecessors. It has been conceived to help solve problems and to respond to major socio-economic challenges facing Europe. To maximise its impact, it focuses on a limited number of research areas combining technological, industrial, economic, social and cultural aspects. Management procedures will be streamlined with an emphasis on simplifying procedures and systematically involving key players in research.
A major innovation of the Fifth Framework Programme is the concept of "Key actions". Implemented within each of the four thematic programmes. "Key actions" will mobilise the wide range of scientific and technological disciplines - both fundamental and applied - required to address a specific problem so as to overcome barriers that may exist, not only between disciplines but also between the programmes and the organisations concerned.
The Fifth Framework Programme has two distinct parts: the European Community (EC) framework programme covering research, technological development and demonstration activities; and the Euratom framework programme covering research and training activities in the nuclear sector.
A budget of 14 960 million euros has been agreed for the period up to the year 2002 of which 13 700 million
euros is foreseen for the implementation of the European Community section of Fifth Framework Programme and 1 260 million euros have been allocated to the Euratom programme.