Research, technology development and demonstration projects in the area of small hydro may be able to obtain funding from the European Union, under its new research funding programme.

The ‘Fifth Framework Programme’, will have a total budget of Euro13.7B (US$14B), split as follows:

•Energy, environment and sustainable development (E2125M plus E979M from Euratom). ENERGIE is the sub programme for RTD in energy with a budget of E1.042M.

•Competitive and sustainable growth (E2705M).

•Promotion of innovation and encouragement of small and medium-sized enterprises (E363M).

•Quality of life and management of resources (E2413M).

•User-friendly information society (E3600M).

•Confirming the international role of community research (E475M).

•Improving human research potential and socio-economic knowledge (E1280M).

•Joint Research Centre (E1020M).

Energy RTD projects are invited in key areas 5 and 6. Small hydro projects may be submitted under thematic area 5.2.5 of the work programme. This covers ‘other renewable energies’ and includes hydro along with other new forms of energy production such as geothermal or wave energy. The RTD actions comprise two main categories of implementation activities: shared cost actions; and accompanying measures. Cost sharing varies depending on the type of project, but in general:

•Research projects intended to obtain new knowledge to develop or improve products may win financial support up to 50% or project cost.

•Demonstration projects improving the viability of new technologies which have a potential economic advantage but which cannot be commercialised directly can win support of up to 35%.

•Projects combining the above elements can win 35-50% of total eligible costs.

In submitting projects to the framework programme a number of EU requirements must be met. Full details are provided on the EU website but perhaps the most important is the requirement that

the project be international. Put simply, the project must involve at least two companies from two countries that are members or associate members of the European Union (some restrictions do apply).

The submissions will be assessed on five categories of criteria. These relate to the scientific/technological quality and innovation, community added value, contribution to social objectives and economic prospects, quality of management and partnership.

The final date for submissions to the Framework Programme has been set at 31 May 2000.

Full details on the programme and its requirements, and on how to submit proposals, can be found at the website: