Framework Programme 7
The complete name of FP7 is 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. It will last for seven years from 2007 until 2013. The programme has a total budget of over € 50 billion. This represents a substantial increase compared with the previous Framework Programme FP6 (41% at 2004 prices, 63% at current prices), a reflection of the high priority of research in Europe.
Indeed, FP7 is a key tool to respond to Europe's needs in terms of jobs and competitiveness, and to maintain leadership in the global knowledge economy.
This money will (for the most part) be spent on grants to research actors all over Europe and beyond, in order to co-finance research, technological development and demonstration projects. Grants are determined on the basis of calls for proposals and a peer review process, which are highly competitive. In order to complement national research programmes, activities funded from FP7 must have a “European added value”. One key aspect of the European added value is the transnationality of many actions: research projects are carried out by consortia which include participants from different European (and other) countries; fellowships in FP7 require mobility over national borders. Indeed, many research challenges (e.g. fusion research, etc), are so complex that they can only be addressed at European level. But in FP7 there is also a new action for “individual teams” with no obligation for transnational cooperation. In this case, the “European added value” lies in raising the competition between scientists in fundamental “frontier” research from the national to the European level.
The Framework Programmes for Research have two main strategic objectives:
- to strengthen the scientific and technological base of European industry;
- to encourage its international competitiveness, while promoting research that supports EU policies.
The Specific Programmes constitute the five major building blocks of FP7:
The core of FP7, representing two thirds of the overall budget, is the Cooperation programme. It fosters collaborative research across Europe and other partner countries through projects by transnational consortia of industry and academia. Research will be carried out in ten key thematic areas:
- Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology
- Information and communication technologies
- Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies
- Environment (including climate change)
- Transport (including aeronautics)
- Socio-economic sciences and the humanities
The Ideas programme supports “frontier research” solely on the basis of scientific excellence. Research may be carried out in any area of science or technology, including engineering, socio-economic sciences and the humanities. In contrast with the Cooperation programme, there is no obligation for cross-border partnerships. Projects are implemented by “individual teams” around a “principal investigator”. The programme is implemented via the European Research Council (ERC). For more information, see www.erc.europa.eu
- All fields of research are eligible, and no thematic or policy-driven research priorities need to be covered
- All researchers are eligible, from any country in the world, regardless of nationality, type of institution, or age
- There are two types of ERC grants: Starting Grants, for the best researchers with 2 to 12 years of experience after their PhD, and Advanced Grants, for top research leaders, with at least 10 years of experience and significant research achievements
- Each project can receive up to 2 Million € (for Starting Grants) or up to 3.5 Million € (for Advanced Grants), for up to 5 years
- Principal Investigators and their research teams are supported, and no trans-national partnerships nor consortia are required
- Scientific excellence is the sole evaluation criterion, and neither political nor geographic considerations affect evaluation and funding decisions
The People programme provides support for researcher mobility and career development, both for researchers inside the European Union and internationally. It is implemented via a set of Marie Curie actions, providing fellowships and other measures to help researchers build their skills and competences throughout their careers:
- Initial training of researchers - Marie Curie Networks
- Industry-academia partnerships
- Co-funding of regional, national and international mobility programmes
- Intra-European fellowships
- International dimension - outgoing and incoming fellowships, international cooperation scheme, reintegration grants
- Marie Curie Awards
The Capacities programme strengthens the research capacities that Europe needs if it is to become a thriving knowledge-based economy. It covers the following activities:
- Research infrastructures
- Research for the benefit of SMEs
- Regions of Knowledge
- Research Potential
- Science in Society
- Specific activities of international cooperation
The programme for nuclear research and training activities will comprise research, technological development, international cooperation, dissemination of technical information, and exploitation activities, as well as training. Two specific programmes are planned:
- the first programme includes: fusion energy research (in particular ITER), and nuclear fission and radiation protection;
- the second programme covers the activities of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in the field of nuclear energy, including nuclear waste management, and environmental impact, nuclear safety, and nuclear security. In addition to direct actions in the nuclear field, the JRC carries out research in a number of other areas to provide scientific and technological support to EU policy making (see www.jrc.ec.europa.eu/).