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.
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.
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.
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.
principle fields of research in the iron and steel sector under
the Growth Programme cover:
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
developing flexible and clean steel casting, rolling and downstream
treatment with on-line analysis process control, integrated information
management and closed-loop processing.
developing new grades with improved characteristics and in-service
performance as well as improving forming, joining and so on.
European Coal and Steel Community
limited funding focused on projects too expensive for industry.
emphasis on steelmaking and steel properties with the few, large
projects replaced by several, smaller and complementary projects.
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.
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.
priorities aimed at improving competitive position of European
- 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.