I. THE FIFTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME 
The Fifth Framework Programme, adopted on 22nd December 1998, defines the Community activities in the field of research, technological development and demonstration (hereafter referred to as "RTD") for the period 1998-2002.
The Fifth Framework Programme differs from its predecessors. It has been conceived to help solve problems and to respond to major socio-economic challenges facing the European Union. It focuses on a limited number of objectives and areas combining technological, industrial, economic, social and cultural aspects.
Priorities have been chosen according to three basic principles which will apply for all levels: the Framework Programme as a whole, the Specific Programmes implementing it and the RTD activities covered by those programmes.
I.2. Structure and contents
The Fifth Framework Programme consists of seven Specific Programmes, of which four are Thematic Programmes and three are Horizontal Programmes.
The Thematic Programmes are:
-User-friendly information society
-Competitive and sustainable growth
-Energy , environment and sustainable development.
The Horizontal Programmes are:
-Promotion of innovation and encouragement of participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
-Improving human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base.
II.1 Programme objectives
The main targets of the Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme are:
- to produce, disseminate and use the knowledge and technologies needed to design and develop processes and produce high quality, environment- and consumer-friendly products which will be competitive on tomorrow's market;
- to help increase economic growth, maintain and/or create new jobs in Europe;
-to sustain the continuing innovation and modernisation efforts of manufacturing, processing and services enterprises (including SMEs) so as to improve their competitiveness;
- to support the development and implementation of Community policies that enable competitive and sustainable development.
This goes hand in hand with the development of related services, including transport, which are economic, safe and protective of the environment and quality of life as well as with the development of quality materials, reliable measurement and testing methods and the optimal use of specific research infrastructures.
Competitiveness and sustainability require a "systems approach" in which research activities support the development of coherent, interconnected and eco-efficient industrial and social systems, responding to both market and social needs.
II.2 Programme strategy
The programme supports research activities contributing to competitiveness and sustainability, particularly where these two objectives interact.
- Answering to socio-economic needs: by stimulating holistic approaches, by strengthening the innovative capacity of the European industrial system and by fostering the creation of businesses and services built on emerging technologies and new market opportunities, the programme will help to face the major challenges of society, in particular employment. In parallel, research into sustainable mobility and environmentally and consumer friendly processes, products and services will contribute to improving the quality of life and working conditions.
- Stimulating European added value: Activities to solve the cross-border problems arising in connection with the various key actions have a clear European dimension, as does the development of norms and standards in support of Community policies. Achieving the critical mass needed to attain concrete and tangible results in cost-intensive technologies will also necessitate mobilising national and other RTD Community resources.
- Supporting European competitiveness: Europe suffers from a recognised gap compared with its major competitors, inasmuch as it is less able to translate its scientific knowledge into innovation. Not only research but also innovation in respect of new concepts (e.g. eco-industries) should be fostered to boost competitiveness and productivity.
- Ethical framework: Full respect of human rights and fundamental ethical principles will be ensured throughout all activities in the specific programme in accordance with Article 6 of the European Parliament and Council Decision on the 5th Framework Programme.
II.3 Programme structure and content
The Programme is structured in three main interconnected elements:
A) A set of four Key Actions, helping to develop critical technologies, concepts and policies to solve clearly identified problems. The four Key Actions are:
-Key Action 2 - Sustainable mobility and intermodality: the three RTD priorities of this Key Action, which contribute to achieving the policy goal of sustainable mobility, reflect the three main components of a modern integrated transport system: (a) a regulatory and accountable framework reflecting socio-economic objectives; (b) an interoperable infrastructure which allows the operation of attractive, environmentally friendly and efficient transport means; (c) modal and intermodal systems for managing operations and providing services.
-Key Action 3 - Land transport and marine technologies: the research efforts will be considered and organised around (a) the development of critical technologies and (b) their integration and validation around advanced industrial concepts in order to attain the following main deliverables: (i) improved fuel efficiency and reduction of emissions ; (ii) improved performance and (iii) improved system competitiveness.
-Key Action 4 - New perspectives in aeronautics: the aim is to strengthen the competitiveness of the European aeronautical industry, while ensuring sustainable growth of air transportation with regard to environmental and safety issues. RTD efforts will be centred around two strands of work: (a) development of critical technologies, and (b) technologies integration and validation, with the technical objectives of (i) reducing aircraft procurement costs, (ii) improving their efficiency and performance, (iii) reducing their impacts related to noise and climate, and (iv) improving their operational capability.
-new and improved materials and production technologies in the steel field: the objective is to reduce costs, improve user satisfaction, and increase value added to the benefit of both the iron and steel industry and suppliers, end-users and other research partners.
-measurements and testing: the three socio-economic objectives are: (a) prenormative research and technical support to standardisation; (b) the fight against fraud; (c) improvement of quality.
Detailed objectives and RTD priorities are specified in the Work Programme.
More information: www.cordis.lu/fp5