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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research themes > Steel technologies
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The Competitive and Sustainable Growth (GROWTH) Programme ran from 1998 to 2002 under the Fifth Framework Programme(FP5). Funding for industrial research is now covered by the thematic priorities of the Sixth Framework Programme(FP6) from 2002 to 2006, designed to support the creation of a European Research Area:

  • FP5 Generic Activity 2: New materials and production technologies in the steel industry mostly covered work under the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) research programme. Following the end of the ECSC in July 2002, a new steel research programme was established – see both the FP6 Industrial technologies and the CORDIS steel websites.

The following text was first published in March 2000.

Graphic element New and improved materials and production technologies in the steel field

For over 40 years, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC ) was responsible for European steel R&D. This treaty started in 1952 and the first research projects were funded in 1955. However, as the ECSC treaty runs out in 2002, steel research is being integrated into the European Commission Framework Programmes, starting with FP5. The Commission is managing the programme in close contact with steel producers, steel users and workers.

ECSC steel research made an important contribution to the efficiency of the European steel industry by avoiding dispersion and duplication of research work. It also enabled the steel industry to work together on large projects that individual companies could not handle.

In addition, a network of researchers, steel producers and users has been created throughout the EU member states, providing effective exchange of information and rapid transfer of technology from the research stage to industrial implementation. There are currently some 275 projects with 880 partners are running under the ECSC steel research programme.

Until 2002, the ECSC steel research programme will run in parallel with FP5, with the ECSC programme continuing to support pilot projects and sectoral research for items not eligible under FP5. Generic steel research is already included in the FP5 Growth Programme. The objective of this generic activity is to reduce costs, improve user satisfaction and increase value added to the benefit of the iron and steel industry and its suppliers, end users, and other research partners.

  Main technological objectives

The principle fields of research in the iron and steel sector under the Growth Programme cover:

Iron and steel production lines
developing cost-effective, flexible and environmentally friendly iron and steel production methods, including new ironmaking processes and improved scrap-based steelmaking

Rolling and finishing
developing flexible and clean steel casting, rolling and downstream treatment with on-line analysis process control, integrated information management and closed-loop processing.

Steel products
developing new grades with improved characteristics and in-service performance as well as improving forming, joining and so on.


Life after the ECSC for steel research
Steel research - from ECSC to the future
Future of EU steel resolved (ITT article)
Magnets prove hot prospect for steel treatment
Steel tomorrow - Commissioner Philippe Busquin

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Growth Project Search
(CORDIS database)

Growth Project Search

European Coal and Steel Community
1955/65: Relatively limited funding focused on projects too expensive for industry.
1965/75: More emphasis on steelmaking and steel properties with the few, large projects replaced by several, smaller and complementary projects.
1975/85: Number of projects increased with increased co-ordination for product innovation and downstream production. R&D reinforced in 1983 by introduction of new 'pilot and demonstration programme' supporting pre-industrial research projects.
1985/95: Projects became larger and multinational aiming at: quality control and improvement, development of less energy-consuming and environmentally -friendly processes, increased flexibility and adaptability of steelworks,increasing recycling of scrap and improving environmental quality, and up-grading the value of subproducts.
1995/2002 Research priorities aimed at improving competitive position of European steel industry:
- adaptation/development of new production processes,
- reduction of production costs through improved process control,
- improvement of quality control and the quality of products,
- sustaining traditional steel outlets and developing new products/markets
- increasing recycling to meet stringent environmental requirements.
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