The programme


I.1. Objectives

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:

In line with the provisions set out in the EC Treaty, the widely ranging Horizontal Programmes underpin and complement these Thematic Programmes.

The Horizontal Programmes are:

II. The Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme

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:

B) Research and technological development activities of a generic nature, with potential multi- sectoral applications, helping to develop the scientific and technological base in a limited number of critical areas. These encompass:

C) Support for research infrastructures. This action will stimulate infrastructure operators to co-operate and pool resources among themselves, as well as with users of the infrastructure. In addition it will help to provide a relevant networked environment in the fields covered by the Programme. The programme will not use the access contract .

Detailed objectives and RTD priorities are specified in the Work Programme.

More information:

Detailed proposal