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2. When

3. What

4. How


Any company, university, research centre, organisation or individual, legally established in any country, may participate in an indirect action provided that the minimum conditions laid down in the Rules for Participation in FP7 (RFP), Chapter II, have been met, including any additional conditions laid down by specific programmes or individual work programmes (see Article 12 of RFP). Please note:

  • An individual defined as a legal entity is any natural person, or any legal person created under the national law of its place of establishment, or under Community law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting under its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations;
  • In addition to the minimum conditions laid down in the RFP, specific programmes or work programmes may lay down conditions regarding the minimum number of participants, or additional conditions on the type of participant or place of establishment.

1.2 Eligible countries

While FP7 participants can in principle be based anywhere, there are different categories of country which may have varying eligibility for different specific and work programmes:

  • MEMBER STATES - The EU-27;
  • ASSOCIATED COUNTRIES – with science and technology cooperation agreements that involved contributing to the framework programme budget;
  • CANDIDATE COUNTRIES – currently recognised as candidates for future accession;
  • THIRD COUNTRIES - the participation of organisations or individuals established in countries that are not Member States, candidates or associated should also be justified in terms of the enhanced contribution to the objectives of FP7.

View the list of the International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPC) [PDF]

1.3 Eligible consortia

In most cases EU research funding through FP7 is to be sought by building a consortium in order to submit a project proposal in response to a call. The eligibility of these consortia also varies according to different conditions related to the type of action of funding schemes. These funding schemes are set out in Annex III ‘Funding Schemes' of the European Parliament and the Council decision concerning the FP7 EC, while the minimum conditions for eligibility are summarised as follows:


At least three legal entities (defined as organisations or individual researchers as above) must participate, each of which is established in a Member State or Associated country, and no two of which are established in the same Member State or Associated country. All three legal entities must be independent of each other in accordance with Article 6 of the RFP, meaning they are not subsidiaries of the same organisation or of each other.


While participants from non-EU or Associated countries are still eligible consortium members for most projects, special conditions apply for collaborative projects addressing the participation of international cooperation partner countries in parity with Member States or Associated countries. These minimum conditions, mainly relevant to the International Cooperation activities under the specific programme for Capacities, as identified in the work programme, are the following: (a) At least four legal entities must participate; (b) at least two of the legal entities referred to in point (a) must be established in Member States or Associated countries, but no two may be established in the same Member State or Associated country; (c) at least two of the legal entities referred to in point (a) must be established in international cooperation partner countries, but no two may be established in the same international cooperation partner country; (d) All four legal entities referred to in point (a) must be independent of each other in accordance with Article 6 of the RFP.


For support actions, and actions in favour of training and career development of researchers, the minimum condition shall be the participation of one legal entity.
For the coordianting type the minimum condition shall be three indipendent legal entities each of which is established in a Member State or Associated country, and no two of which are established in the same Member State or Associated country.


For indirect actions to support investigator-driven ‘frontier' research projects funded in the framework of the European Research Council, the minimum condition shall be the participation of one legal entity established in a Member State or in an Associated country.


Where the minimum conditions for an indirect action are satisfied by a number of legal entities, which together form one legal entity, the latter may be the sole participant in an indirect action, provided that it is established in a Member State or Associated country. The participation of natural persons will ensure that the creation and development of scientific excellence and ability are not limited to Community funding of projects involving only legal persons, ensuring also the participation of SMEs that are not legal persons.

1.4 Appointment of independent experts

The European Commission will appoint independent experts to assist with evaluations required under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and its specific programmes. The Commission will choose independent experts considering the skills and knowledge appropriate to the tasks assigned to them.
The European Commission will contact FP6 registered experts and transfer their data to the FP7 database of experts. The registration service for FP7, the Experts Management Module (EMM) is now available on CORDIS.
Independent experts shall be identified and selected on the basis of calls for applications from individuals and calls addressed to national research agencies, research institutions or enterprises with a view to establishing lists of suitable candidates.
The Commission may, if deemed appropriate, select any individual with the appropriate skills from outside the lists.
Appropriate measures shall be taken to ensure reasonable gender balance when appointing groups of independent experts.
When appointing an independent expert, the Commission shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the expert is not faced with a conflict of interests in relation to the matter on which the expert is required to provide an opinion.
The Commission shall adopt a model appointment letter, hereinafter ‘the appointment letter', which shall include a declaration that the independent expert has no conflict of interest at the time of appointment and that he undertakes to inform the Commission if any conflict of interest should arise in the course of providing his opinion or carrying out his duties. The Commission shall conclude an appointment letter between the Community and each independent expert. The Commission shall publish periodically in any appropriate medium the list of the independent experts that have assisted it for each specific programme.


The Commission issues calls for project proposals (or for indirect actions) in accordance with the requirements laid down in the relevant specific programmes and work programmes. The first of these were published on 22 December 2006. To see the full details of the calls, please consult the following web address:
In order to reduce unnecessary workload and simplify proposals, in certain cases, FP7 may introduce two-stage submission and evaluation procedures:

  • Where a call for proposals specifies a two-stage submission procedure, only those proposals that pass the evaluation criteria for the first stage shall be requested to submit a complete proposal in the second stage.
  • Where a call for proposals specifies a two-step evaluation procedure, only those proposals that pass the first step, based on the evaluation of a limited set of criteria, shall go forward for further evaluation.

2.2 Roadmap

Users can follow the approval process for FP7 here:

3. What

3.1 Budget

The amended FP7 proposals from the European Commission, following the budget agreement between the European Council and European Parliament amount to a total of EUR 50,521 million, partitioned among the specific programmes as follows:

  • Cooperation EUR 32,413 million
  • Ideas EUR 7,510 million
  • People EUR 4,750 million
  • Capacities EUR 4,097 million
  • JRC (non-nuclear) EUR 1,751 million
  • Euratom (to 2011) EUR 2,751 million

For more details see the revised budget breakdown.

3.2 Funding schemes

Across all these themes, support to trans-national cooperation will be implemented through:

To support actions which are primarily implemented on the basis of calls for proposals:

1. Collaborative projects
Support for research projects carried out by consortia with participants from different countries, aiming at developing new knowledge, new technology, products, demonstration activities or common resources for research. The size, scope and internal organisation of projects can vary from field to field and from topic to topic. Projects can range from small or medium-scale focused research actions to large-scale integrating projects for achieving a defined objective. This distinction, which is also an elegibilty criterion, is made on the EC contribution. Projects should also target special groups such as SMEs and other smaller actors.

2. Networks of Excellence
Support for a Joint Programme of Activities implemented by a number of research organisations integrating their activities in a given field, carried out by research teams in the framework of longer term cooperation. The implementation of this Joint Programme of Activities will require a formal commitment of the organisations integrating part of their resources and their activities.

3. Coordination and support actions
Support for activities aimed at coordinating or supporting research activities and policies (networking, exchanges, trans-national access to research infrastructures, studies, conferences, etc.). These actions may also be implemented by means other than calls for proposals.

4. Individual projects: Support for “frontier” research
Support for projects carried out by individual national or transnational research teams. This scheme will be used to support investigator-driven "frontier" research projects funded in the framework of the European Research Council.

  • ERC Starting Grant
  • Call Advanced Grant

5. Support for training and career development of researchers
Support for training and career development of researchers, mainly to be used for the implementation of Marie Curie actions.

Initial training

  • Initial Training Networks - ITN


  • Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways - IAPP

Life-long training

  • Intra-European Fellowships for Career Development - IEF
  • European Reintegration Grants - ERG
  • Co-funding of Regional, National, and International Programmes - COFUND

International dimension

  • International Outgoing Fellowships for Career Development - IOF
  • International Incoming Fellowships - IIF
  • International Reintegration Grants - IRG

Specific actions

  • Excellence Awards
  • Researchers' Night
  • National Contact Points

6. Research for the benefit of specific groups (in particular SMEs)
Support for research projects where the bulk of the research and technological development is carried out by universities, research centres or other legal entities, for the benefit of specific groups, in particular SMEs or associations of SMEs. Efforts will be made to mobilise additional financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other financial organisations

To support multi-financed large-scale initiatives:

  • A financial contribution from the Community to the joint implementation of well identified national research programmes, on the basis of Article 169 of the Treaty. Such a joint implementation requires the establishment or existence of a dedicated implementation structure. Community financial support will be provided subject to the definition of a financing plan based on formal commitments of the competent national authorities.
  • A financial contribution from the Community to the implementation of Joint Technology Initiatives to realise objectives that cannot be achieved through the funding schemes identified above. Joint Technology Initiatives will mobilise a combination of funding of different kinds and from different sources: private and public, European and national. This funding may take different forms and may be allocated or mobilised though a range of mechanisms: support from the Framework Programme, loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB), or risk capital support. Joint Technology Initiatives may be decided and implemented on the basis of Article 171 of the Treaty (this may include the creation of joint undertakings) or by the Decisions establishing the specific programmes. Community support will be provided subject to the definition of an overall blueprint of financial engineering, based on formal commitments of all parties concerned.

These schemes will be used, either alone or in combination, to fund actions implemented throughout the Framework Programme.
Where different funding schemes can be used, the work programmes may specify the funding scheme to be used for the topic on which proposals are invited.

3.3 Research themes

In the Commission's proposal for FP7 the four specific programmes handle research themes in different ways: Cooperation - Collaborative research projects will be selected under sub-programmes in nine defined themes, largely representing continuity with the seven thematic priorities of FP6
European Joint Technology Initiatives will be selected from the strategic research agendas defined by individual technology platforms.
Ideas - The European Research Council (ERC) will support 'researcher led' basic research across all scientific and technological areas.
People - Marie Curie actions to support individual researchers will operate horizontally across all research themes.
Capacities - Activities to support research infrastructures, SMEs, international cooperation, regional capabilities and 'science in society' will also be identified across all research areas.

4. How

4.1 Financial rules

Forms of grants

Three forms of grants are proposed for the Community financial contribution:

  • reimbursement of eligible costs,
  • lump sums, and
  • flat-rate financing (the latter can be based on scale of unit costs but also includes flat rates for indirect costs).

These may be used to cover the entire Community financial contribution for a funding scheme or more than one may be used in combination.
For most funding schemes, reimbursement of eligible costs will continue to be the preferred method, particularly at the beginning of FP7. Lump sum and flat rate financing will be introduced gradually and if successful will be used more extensively.
For frontier research actions, the ERC's Scientific Council will propose appropriate funding modalities within the terms established by the RFP and the Financial Regulation.

Reporting and reimbursement of eligible costs

The definition of eligible costs has been simplified and the three cost reporting models used in previous framework programmes have been abandoned. This means that participants can charge all their direct and indirect costs and have the option of a flat rate for indirect costs. Costs will be determined according to the usual accounting and management principles of the participants to achieve the project objectives based on principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
The Community financial contribution will cover:

  • a maximum of 50% of eligible costs minus receipts both for research and for demonstration activities, or up to 75% for research activities for SMEs, public bodies, secondary and higher education establishments and non-profit research organisations;
  • 100% of ‘frontier research' actions for all entities.
  • up to 100% for all other activities, including coordination and support actions, and training and career development of researchers, for all entities.

The maxima indicated above are applied to all eligible costs even where part of the reimbursement of costs, or even the full funding of the project, is based on lump sums or flat rates.
Networks of Excellence are based on eligible cost. International Cooperation Partner Countries may opt for a lump sum, as specified in the work programme,
To access the draft agreement, please visit:

4.2 Dissemination and IPR

The coherence of dissemination and publication requirements has been improved, with prior notification of the Commission for publication of results eliminated.
For intellectual property rights (IPR) FP7 aims for as much continuity as possible with FP6. The main changes, to allow more flexibility and based on experience from the implementation of FP6, are:
a) remove most of the obligations for participants to finalise conditions prior to their accession to the EC contract, and
b) remove most obligations to request prior approval from the Commission for publication, transfers of ownership and provision of access rights to third parties, where all other partners agree.
Changes to the definitions are:
‘background' replaces ‘pre-existing know-how' and no longer includes side-ground,
‘foreground' replaces ‘knowledge'.
The new arrangements for IPR under FP7 are summarised in the table below:

Access rights to background Access rights to foreground resulting from the project
For carrying out the project

For use (exploitation + further research)
Yes, if a participant needs them for carrying out it own work under the project
Royalty-free unless otherwise agreed before acceding to the grant agreement Royalty-free
Yes, if a participant needs them for carrying out it own work under the project
Either fair and reasonable condition or royalty free-to be agreed

See details at:
There will still be the possibility to exclude background and to define terms and conditions other than those established by the RFP, but this will now permit adjustments by participants as their project progresses. For joint ownership a default regime will facilitate the exploitation of jointly owned results in the absence of a clear agreement between parties.
Where a participant does not wish to protect knowledge (or foreground) it can offer the other participants the option of ownership before offering this to the Commission. It will also be possible for a participant to offer exclusive access rights to a third party if all the other participants agree to waive their rights to access.
Foreground will become the property of the Community in the following cases:

  • (a) Coordination and support actions consisting in a purchase or service subject to the rules on public procurement set out in the Financial Regulation;
  • (b) Coordination and support actions relating to independent experts.

Foreground from all other indirect actions shall be the property of the participants carrying out the work generating that foreground.
If employees or other personnel working for a participant are entitled to claim rights to foreground, the participant must ensure that it is possible to exercise those rights in a manner compatible with its obligations under the grant agreement.
Where several participants have jointly carried out work generating foreground and where their respective share of the work cannot be ascertained, they shall have joint ownership of such foreground.
Where no joint ownership agreement has been concluded regarding the allocation and terms of exercising that joint ownership, each of the joint owners shall be entitled to grant non-exclusive licenses to third parties, based on prior notice and reasonable compensation.
In general, restrictions on transfer of ownership and access rights have been loosened in order to encourage use and dissemination of results.

 4.3 Consortium agreement

Save where otherwise provided in the call for proposals, all legal entities wishing to participate in an indirect action shall draw up an agreement, hereinafter ‘the consortium agreement', to govern the following:

  • (a) The internal organisation of the consortium;
  • (b) The distribution of the Community financial contribution;
  • (c) Additional rules on dissemination and use including intellectual property rights arrangements, as appropriate;
  • (d) The settlement of internal disputes.