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Specific Programmes

Cooperation

The specific programme on Cooperation supports all types of research activities carried out by different research bodies in trans-national cooperation and aims to gain or consolidate leadership in key scientific and technology areas.
FP7 allocates EUR 32 413 million to the Cooperation programme. The budget will be devoted to supporting cooperation between universities, industry, research centres and public authorities throughout the EU and beyond.
The Cooperation programme is sub-divided into ten distinct themes. Each theme is operationally autonomous but aims to maintain coherence within the Cooperation Programme and allowing for joint activities cutting across different themes, through, for example, joint calls.
The ten identified themes reflect the most important fields of knowledge and technology where research excellence is particularly important to improve Europe's ability to address its social, economic, public health, environmental and industrial challenges of the future. Their continued relevance will be guaranteed by relying on a number of sources from the research sector, including the European Technology Platforms (ETP). Important themes identified in the Strategic Research Agendas (SRAs) developed by the ETPs are therefore covered by the Cooperation programme.
Across all these themes, support to trans-national cooperation will be implemented through.


Support to trans-national cooperation

  1. Health
  2. Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology
  3. Information & communication technologies
  4. Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials & new production technologies
  5. Energy
  6. Environment (including Climate Change)
  7. Transport (including aeronautics)
  8. Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities
  9. Space
  10. Security
1. Collaborative research: European Excellence

The bulk of EU research funding in FP7 will go to collaborative research, with the objective of establishing excellent research projects and networks able to attract researchers and investments from Europe and the entire world. This is to be achieved through a range of funding schemes: Collaborative projects, Networks of Excellence, Co-ordination/support actions, etc.
The Commission's 2004 stakeholder consultation on the future of European research showed very strong support for European funding for trans-national collaborative research, though a common concern was that there should be a lower number of partners in consortia and a greater focus on smaller projects than was the case under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
Dr Ramon Marimon also led a high-level expert panel to carry out a mid-term review of the new instruments introduced under FP6.

References:
Amended proposal for a European Parliament and Council Decision concerning the 7th framework programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013).
Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the Specific Programme "Cooperation" implementing the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013) (COM(2005) 440
Europa: Action for "centres of excellence" with a European dimension Commission's Communication: Towards a European Research Area [PDF]


2. Technology Platforms

European Technology Platforms (ETPs) have been set up in a number of areas where Europe's competitiveness, economic growth and welfare depend on important research and technological progress in the medium to long term. They bring together stakeholders, under industrial leadership, to define and implement a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) The ETPs have contributed to the definition of the themes of the Cooperation programme, in particular in research areas of special industrial relevance. The implementation of the SRA will be supported by the Cooperation programme in areas where they constitute true European added value.

EURAB, the European Research Advisory Board has made a checklist of "guiding principles" for Technology Platforms - Report on European Technology Platforms [PDF]

An advanced preparatory report on the key features and objectives of the different Technology Platforms and their current state identified up to and beyond the launch of FP7 - Technology platform: from definition to implementation of a common research agenda [PDF]

 


3. Joint Technology Initiatives

In a limited number of cases, the scale of a research or technological objective and the resources involved justify setting up long-term public-private partnerships in the form of Joint Technology Initiatives. These initiatives, mainly resulting from the work of European Technology Platforms and covering one or a small number of selected aspects of research in their field, will combine private sector investment and national and European public funding, including grant funding from the Research Framework Programme and loan finance from the European Investment Bank. Joint Technology Initiatives may be decided on the basis of Article 171 of the Treaty or on the basis of the Specific Programme Decisions in accordance with Article 166 of the Treaty.


4. Coordination between national research programmes

These actions will use two main tools: the ERA-NET scheme and the participation of the Community in jointly implemented national research programmes (Treaty Article 169). The action may cover subjects not directly linked to the ten themes in as far as they have a sufficient EU added value. The action will also be used to enhance the complementarity and synergy between FP7 and activities carried out under intergovernmental structures such as EUREKA and COST. A previous background document Co-ordination of national research programmes [PDF] on the Coordination of national research programmes stated the FP7 proposals will aim at consolidating these results and pushing the coordination to a higher level.
A background document, previously published on the Coordination of national research programmes states that proposals for the FP7 will aim at consolidating the achieved results and pushing the coordination to a higher level. The co-ordination of national research programmes will be improved and ties between European intergovernmental research organisations and the EU will be strengthened.
ERA-NET will aim to strengthen the coordination of national and regional research in two ways:
- providing a framework for actors implementing public research programmes to improve coordination through new ERA-NETs and broadening and deepening existing ERA-NETs;
- providing additional EU financial support to participants who create a common fund for the purpose of joint calls for proposals among national and regional programmes (‘ERA-NET PLUS').
The Commission stakeholder consultation [PDF] on the future of European research revealed a strong support for this objective from all categories of participants. Along with comments on Article 169 stating that lessons from current Article 169 initiatives should be taken into account, and that coordination with EUREKA is important.
While there is a strong element of continuity with previous programmes, the FP7 Cooperation programme introduces some new elements intended to facilitate European research cooperation.
• Joint Technology Initiatives intended to facilitate ambitious pan-European public-private partnerships;
• Strengthened coordination of national research programmes will be strengthened, assisted by a continuation of the ERA-NET scheme, which will be implemented within each research theme;
• Enhanced complementarity and synergies of research programmes across Europe through ‘Article 169 initiatives‘ whereby the European Community participates in jointly implemented national research programmes;
• A more targeted approach to international cooperation within each theme and across themes;
• More flexible means to react to emerging needs and unforeseen policy needs;
• Optimal participation of SME across all themes.

Find a call

The European Commission will fund collaborative research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the Seventh Framework Programme are published they will be announced on this page.
The proposal process is triggered by the call. Calls are published official invitations for researchers to submit project proposals for a specific area of the Framework Programme by a specific date, usually about three months after the call.
The legal text of the call defines the necessary specifications to prepare and submit a proposal, i.e. research theme, funding instruments used, address and other technical means for submission, deadlines etc. Proposals that do not meet the specifications in the call will be disqualified.
Calls are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The call and any documents relating to it are also published on CORDIS and announced on this page as well as in other relevant sections. Users can set up a CORDIS Rapidus 'News' profile on CORDIS to receive an e-mail alert informing them of new calls, or sometimes even advance notice of calls that are imminent.
In addition to the description of the thematic areas, topics or research objectives, calls comprise information on the following items:

  • Closure date(s)
  • Indicative budget and its distribution per area and/or instrument
  • Minimum number of participants
  • One-stage or two-stage submission and evaluation procedure
  • Non-standard evaluation criteria
  • Indicative delays for evaluation and selection of proposals

Instruments: how will the activities be funded?
Collaborative research will be implemented through several funding schemes common to FP7, with the relevant scheme indicated in the call text:

  • Collaborative projects: Small or medium-scale focussed research projects and large scale integrating projects will be subject to separate calls.
  • Networks of excellence will be used to promote durable integration of key competencies where still needed, so as to support integrating research activities in strategic areas for European competitiveness. These Networks should show clear impacts in structuring and reinforcing research capacities in the fields covered by the Theme. Training is an integral part of the activities.
  • Coordination and Support actions may relate to coordination and networking activities, at European and international, national or regional level (organisation of events, studies, where relevant, organisation and management of joint or common initiatives); activities to support the implementation of the Theme (including dissemination, information and communication); activities to stimulate and encourage the participation of civil society organisations;
Themes 1. Health

Objective
The objective of health research under FP7 is to improve the health of European citizens and boost the competitiveness of health-related industries and businesses, while addressing global health issues such as anti-microbial resistance, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and emerging pandemics.

Why is it important?

  • Promoting good health
  • Preventing and treating major diseases
  • Delivering health care
  • Increasing the competitiveness of health care biotechnology and medical technology sectors where SMEs are main actors
  • Developing norms and standards for advanced therapies
  • Enhancing international efforts to combat global health problems
  • Researching rare diseases

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Biotechnology, generic tools and technologies for human health - producing knowledge that will be applied in the area of health and medicine;
  • Translating research for human health - making sure that basic discoveries have practical benefits and improve the quality of life;
  • Optimising the delivery of health care to European citizens - ensuring that the results of biomedical research will ultimately reach the citizens.

Budget
Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 6 billion for funding health over the duration of FP7.


2. Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology

Objective
The primary aim in funding food, agriculture and biotechnology research under FP7 is to build a European Knowledge Based Bio-Economy (food, feed, forest, fisheries, agriculture, aquaculture, chemistry, etc.) by bringing together all industries and economic sectors that produce, manage and exploit biological resources and related services, supply or consumer industries, such as food, fisheries, forestry, agriculture, etc.

Why is it important?
The knowledge-based bio-economy will play an important role in a global economy, where knowledge is the best way to increase productivity and competitiveness and improve our quality of life, while protecting our environment and social model. It is a sector estimated to be worth more than € 1.5 trillion per year.
Furthermore, it addresses the following needs:

  • Growing demand for safer, healthier, higher quality food;
  • Sustainable use and production of renewable bio-resources;
  • Increasing risk of epizootic and zoonotic diseases and food related disorders;
  • Threats to the sustainability and security of agricultural, aquaculture and fisheries production;
  • Increasing demand for high quality food, taking into account animal welfare and rural and coastal contexts and response to specific dietary needs of consumers.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Sustainable production and management of biological resources from land, forest and aquatic environments;
  • Fork to farm: Food, health and well-being;
  • Life Sciences and Biotechnology for sustainable non-food products and processes.

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked more than € 1.9 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.


3. Information & communication technologies (ICT)

The new ICT service on CORDIS is available at the following address: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/
In addition to a general introduction to ICT research under FP7, the service provides detailed information about the ICT work programme and its seven 'Challenges', which reflect issues of particularly important strategic interest for European society.


4. Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials & new production technologies (NMP)

Objective
The core objective of the 'Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies (NMP)' theme is to improve the competitiveness of European industry and generate the knowledge needed to transform it from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-intensive industry.
NMP research also aims to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry by generating ‘step changes' in a wide range of sectors and implementing decisive knowledge for new applications between different technologies and disciplines.
Funding the NMP research theme will benefit new, high tech industries and higher-value, knowledge-based traditional industries, with a special focus to the appropriate dissemination of research results to SMEs.

Why is it important?
The transformation of European industry into a knowledge-intensive one is essential in order to produce high added value products, which in turn is crucial to create new industries, and meet customer requirements as well as growth, environmental, health and other societal expectations.
More information on other related European Commission nanotechnology initiatives is available here.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Nanosciences and nanotechnologies - studying phenomena and manipulation of matter at the nanoscale and developing nanotechnologies leading to the manufacturing of new products and services.
  • Materials - using the knowledge of nanotechnologies and biotechnologies for new products and processes.
  • New production - creating conditions for continuous innovation and for developing generic production 'assets‘ (technologies, organisation and production facilities as well as human resources), while meeting safety and environmental requirements.
  • Integration of technologies for industrial applications - focusing on new technologies, materials and applications to address the needs identified by the different European Technology Platforms.

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 3.5 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.
Calls
The European Commission will fund NMP research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the NMP programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Previous relevant European research
Related research themes under FP6:

  • Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences
  • Knowledge-based Multifunctional Materials
  • New Production Processes and Devices

5. Energy

Objective
The objective of energy research under FP7 is to adapt the current energy system into a more sustainable, competitive and secure one. It should also depend less on imported fuels and use a diverse mix of energy sources, in particular renewables, energy carriers and non polluting sources.

Why is it important?
Growing global demand for energy to power economic development and growth demands the development of cost-effective technologies for a more sustainable energy economy for Europe (and world-wide) to ensure that European industry can compete successfully on the global stage.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Hydrogen and fuel cells - supporting EU fuel cell and hydrogen industries, for stationary, portable and transport applications.
  • Renewable electricity generation - technologies to increase overall conversion efficiency, cost efficiency and reliability, driving down the cost of electricity production.
  • Renewable fuel production - fuel production systems and conversion technologies. Renewables for heating and cooling - technologies for cheaper, more efficient active and passive heating and cooling from renewable energy sources.
  • CO2 capture and storage technologies for zero emission power generation - technologies reducing the environmental impact of fossil fuel use by capturing CO2.
  • Smart energy networks - increasing the efficiency, safety, reliability and quality of the European electricity and gas systems and networks in the context of a more integrated European energy market.
  • Energy efficiency and savings - technologies to improve energy efficiency and to enable final and primary energy consumption savings, over their life-cycle, for buildings (including lighting), transport, services and industry.
  • Knowledge for energy policy making - tools, methods and models to assess the economic and social issues related to energy technologies and to provide quantifiable targets and scenarios for medium and long term horizons.

Calls
The European Commission will fund Energy research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the Energy research Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 2.3 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Previous relevant European research


6. Environment (including climate change)

Objective
The main objective of environment research under FP7 is to manage both the man-made and natural environment and its resources. By increasing the knowledge on the interaction between the climate, biosphere, ecosystems and human activities, new environmentally-friendly technologies should be developed.

Why is it important?
As environmental problems extend beyond national frontiers and natural resources are under pressure, Europe needs a new sustainable relationship with the environment.
Funded actions should focus on:

  • predicting climate, ecological, earth and ocean systems changes;
  • tools and technologies for monitoring, prevention and mitigation of environmental pressures and risks including on health;
  • sustainability of the natural and man-made environment.

Funding in this area will also improve competitiveness and strengthen European industries' position in world markets for environmental technologies.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Climate change, pollution and risks
    • Pressures on the environment and climate
    • Environment and health
    • Natural hazards
  • Sustainable Management of Resources
    • Conservation and sustainable management of natural and man-made resources and biodiversity
    • Management of marine environments
  • Environmental Technologies
    • Environmental technologies for observation, simulation, prevention, mitigation, adaptation, remediation and restoration of the natural and man-made environment
    • Protection, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage, including human habitat improved damage assessment on cultural heritage
    • Technology assessment, verification and testing
  • Earth observation and assessment tools
    • Earth and ocean observation systems and monitoring methods for the environment and sustainable development
    • Forecasting methods and assessment tools for sustainable development taking into account differing scales of observation

Calls
The European Commission will fund Environment research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the Environment Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 1.8 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Previous relevant European research


7. Transport (including aeronautics)

Objective
The central objective of transport research under FP7 is to develop safer, 'greener‘ and 'smarter‘ pan-European transport systems that will benefit all citizens, respect the environment, and increase the competitiveness of European industries in the global market.

Why is it important?
While the European transport system has a crucial role in the transportation of people and goods and is essential to Europe's prosperity, ways must be found to mitigate the negative impacts and consequences of increased mobility in relation to the environment, energy usage, safety and security and public health.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

Aeronautics and air transport
  • reduction of emissions, work on engines and alternative fuels,
  • air traffic management, safety aspects of air transport,
  • environmentally efficient aviation
Sustainable surface transport - rail, road and waterborne
  • development of clean and efficient engines and power trains,
  • reducing the impact of transport on climate change,
  • inter-modal regional and national transport,
  • clean and safe vehicles,
  • infrastructure construction and maintenance, integrative architectures
Support to the European global satellite navigation system
  • Galileo and EGNOS
  • navigation and timing services,
  • efficient use of satellite navigation

Calls
The European Commission will fund Transport research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the Transport Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 4.1 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Previous relevant European research


8. Socio-economic sciences & the humanities (SSH)

Objective
Funding ‘Socio-economic sciences and the humanities' (SSH) will contribute to an in-depth, shared understanding of the complex and interrelated socio economic challenges Europe is confronted with.

Why is it important?
Research in this theme will help us study and provide answers to questions related to:

  • growth, employment and competitiveness;
  • social cohesion, social, cultural and educational challenges in an enlarged EU;
  • sustainability, environmental challenges, demographic change, migration and integration, quality of life and global interdependence.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Growth, employment and competitiveness in a knowledge society:
    • innovation, competitiveness and labour market policies;
    • education and life-long learning;
    • economic structures and productivity.
  • Combining economic, social and environmental objectives in a European perspective:
    • socio-economic models within Europe and across the world;
    • economic and social and cohesion across regions;
    • social and economic dimensions of environmental policy.
  • Major trends in society and their implications - demographic change, reconciling family and work, health and quality of life, youth policies, social exclusion and discrimination;
  • Europe in the world - trade, migration, poverty, crime, conflict and resolution;
  • The citizen in the European Union - political participation, citizenship and rights, democracy and accountability, the media, cultural diversity and heritage, religions, attitudes and values;
  • Socio-economic and scientific indicators - the use and value of indicators in policymaking at macro and micro levels;
  • Foresight activities - the future implications of global knowledge, migration, ageing, risk and the emerging domains in research and science.

Calls
The European Commission will fund SSH research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the SSH Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked more than € 610 million for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Previous relevant European research

  • Knowledge based society and social cohesion
  • Citizenship, democracy and new forms of governance

9. Space

Objective
The aim of the Space theme under FP7 is to support a European Space Programme focusing on applications such as ‘Global monitoring for environment and security' (GMES) with benefits for citizens and for the competitiveness of the European space industry.
This will contribute to the development of a European space policy, complementing efforts by Member States and by other key players, including the European Space Agency (ESA).

Why is it important?
In the last 40 years, Europe has built up excellent technological competence , both nationally and through ESA. Sustaining a competitive industry, including manufacturers, service providers and operators, requires new research and technologies.
Space applications bring important benefits to citizens by virtue of technological spin-off effects and are indispensable in a high tech society.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Space-based applications serving European society - developing satellite observation systems and the GMES services for the management of the environment, security, agriculture, forestry and meteorology, civil protection and risk management;
  • Exploration of space - provision of support for collaborative initiatives between ESA or national space agencies, as well as coordinating efforts for the development of space-borne telescopes;
  • Strengthening Space foundations - support research for long term needs such as space transportation, bio-medicine, life and physical sciences in space.

Calls
The European Commission will fund Space research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the Space Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked more than € 1.4 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.


10. Security

Objective
The objectives of the Security theme are:

  • to develop technologies and knowledge needed to ensure the security of citizens from threats such as terrorism and (organised) crime, natural disasters and industrial accidents while respecting fundamental human rights;
  • to ensure optimal and concerted use of available and evolving technologies to the benefit of civil European security;
  • to stimulate the cooperation of providers and users for civil security solutions; improving the competitiveness of the European security industry and delivering mission-oriented results to reduce security gaps.

Why is it important?
Security related research is an important building block for supporting European freedom, security and justice. It will also contribute to developing technologies and capabilities in support of other European Community policies in areas such as transport, civil protection, energy, environment and health.

What will be funded?
Emphasis will be given to the following activities:

  • Increasing the security of citizens - technology solutions for civil protection, bio-security, protection against crime and terrorism;
  • Increasing the security of infrastructures and utilities - examining and securing infrastructures in areas such as ICT, transport, energy and services in the financial and administrative domain;
  • Intelligent surveillance and border security - technologies, equipment, tools and methods for protecting Europe's border controls such as land and coastal borders;
  • Restoring security and safety in case of crisis - technologies and communication, coordination in support of civil, humanitarian and rescue tasks;
  • Improving security systems integration, interconnectivity and interoperability - information gathering for civil security, protection of confidentiality and traceability of transactions;
  • Security and society - socio-economic, political and cultural aspects of security, ethics and values, acceptance of security solutions, social environment and perceptions of security;
  • Security research coordination and structuring - coordination between European and international security research efforts in the areas of civil, security and defence research.

Calls
The European Commission will fund Security research by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the Security Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 1.4 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Previous relevant European research



Open Edit 

Capacities

The Commission's proposals for the FP7 Capacities programme aim to enhance research and innovation capacities throughout Europe and ensure their optimal use. The Capacities
s programme is provided with a budget of EUR 4 097 million to operate in seven broad areas:

  1. Research infrastructures
  2. Research for the benefit of SMEs
  3. Regions of knowledge and support for regional research-driven clusters
  4. Research potential of Convergence Regions
  5. Science in society
  6. Support to the coherent development of research policies
  7. International cooperation

This specific programme also aims to:

  • support the coherent development of policies;
  • complement the Cooperation programme;
  • contribute to EU policies and initiatives to improve the coherence and impact of Member States policies;

find synergies with regional and cohesion policies, the Structural Funds, education and training programmes and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP)

1. Research infrastructures

Objective
The overall objective of the ‘Research infrastructures' part of the FP7 Capacities programme is to optimise the use and development of the best research infrastructures existing in Europe. Furthermore, it aims to help to create new research infrastructures of pan-European interest in all fields of science and technology. The European scientific community needs these to remain at the forefront of the advancement of research, and they will help industry to strengthen its base of knowledge and technological know how.
Why is it important?
Knowledge generation and, by implication, innovation, directly depend on the quality and availability of research infrastructures, which include facilities such as observatories, data banks, radiation sources and communication networks.

What will be funded?

Support to existing research infrastructures: Integrating Activities - providing a wider and more efficient access to, and use of, the research infrastructures exiting in EU Member States, Associated Countries and at international level when appropriate (including: transnational access, joint research and networking;
ICT-based e-Infrastructures - supporting a number of interrelated topics designed to foster the emergence of a new research environment in which ‘virtual communities' share and exploit the collective power of European scientific and engineering facilities.
Support to new research infrastructures: Design Studies – concepts for new research infrastructures with clear European dimension and interest;
Construction of new infrastructures - providing catalytic and leveraging support for the preparatory phase for the construction of new research infrastructures.

Accompanying Measures

  • Policy development - supporting, in the context of building up the European Research Area and including international cooperation, the coordination of national and/or regional policies and programmes in the field of research infrastructures;
  • Programme implementation and support to emerging needs - supporting the effective implementation of this programme by fostering cooperation among National Contact Points (NCPs) and promoting measures to identify emerging needs.

Calls
The European Commission will fund ‘Research infrastructures' activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the ‘Research infrastructures' Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked over € 1.8 billion for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)
The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has published its ‘European roadmap on research infrastructures' for the next 10 to 20 years:

While EU Member States remain central to the development and financing of infrastructures, the European Community can and should play a catalysing and leveraging role by helping to ensure wider and more efficient access to, and use of, the infrastructures existing in the different EU Member States. Community actions should also stimulate the coordinated development and networking of these infrastructures, and foster the emergence of new research infrastructures of pan-European interest with a medium to long term vision.

Events
FP7 workshop on the preparatory phase of the ESFRI roadmap projects:

Previous relevant European activities on research infrastructures
See: http://cordis.europa.eu/infrastructures/
The Commission published a working document on research infrastructures in FP7 [PDF] setting out how Research infrastructures of European interest will be developed using a mechanism similar to the one used for the trans-European networks (TENs). This approach will require the development of a vision and roadmap for research infrastructures in Europe in the next 10 to 20 years, and the development of a new operational mechanism, drawing on experience from the TENs.
The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), launched in April 2002, has now published this strategic ‘European roadmap on research infrastructures' for the next 10 to 20 years. Formerly, in an initial stage, ESFRI presented its first 'List of Opportunities' to the Commission in April 2005, listing 23 research infrastructure projects that could be prioritised for funding to meet the research community's needs.
In the stakeholder consultation [PDF] on the European Commission's Communication on the future of European research many participants stressed the importance of research infrastructure to Europe's research performance, citing examples such as CERN and the GEANT network. The need to cover a wide range of disciplines, including social sciences and humanities, as well as the need for industrially relevant infrastructure, was mentioned.
The Commission also conducted a 'Survey of European Research Infrastructures', which closed in January 2005, calling for research infrastructure stakeholders to help map the existing infrastructures as well as those under construction within the next two years.
The European Research Advisory Board (EURAB), has also published its recommendations on European Research infrastructures.


2. Research for the benefit of SMEs

Objectives
The aim of “Research for the benefit of SMEs” is to strengthen the ‘innovation capacity' of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and their contribution to the development of new technology based products and markets. The programme will help them outsource research, increase their research efforts, extend their networks, better exploit research results and acquire technological know how, bridging the gap between research and innovation.

Why is it important?
Representing 99% of all enterprises in Europe, they contribute more than two thirds of European GDP and provide 75 million jobs in the private sector. They are therefore key to implementation of the renewed Lisbon strategy for economic growth and employment.

What will be funded?
To achieve the objectives of ‘Research for the benefit of SMEs', the following three groups of indirect actions will be implemented:

1. Supporting SMEs outsourcing research activities
This support aims at SMEs or SME associations in need of outsourcing research to providers of research services (‘RTD performers') such as universities, research centres or other, more specialised SMEs.
It will be implemented through two distinct schemes:

  • Research for SMEs - targeting mainly low to medium technology SMEs with little or no research capability, but also high-tech SMEs who need to outsource research to complement their core research capability. Projects aim at creating new knowledge or producing results with clear potential to improve or develop new products, processes or services for the participating SMEs.
  • Research for SME associations - targeting associations which act on behalf of their SME members to identify and address common technical problems and to promote the effective dissemination and take-up of results. Projects in this activity may address topics such as pre-normative research issues, technological problems related to the development and implementation of legislation, and technological problems of whole industrial sectors.

2. Developing and coordinating support to SMEs at national level
In the long-term perspective, it is expected that national and regional research programmes for SMEs establish common objectives and evaluation methods for trans-national research cooperation with a significant added value to Community support for the benefits of SMEs.
a) Financial support, based on ‘Article 169 initiatives';
b) Financial support to national schemes providing financial means (‘exploratory awards') to SMEs or SME associations to prepare proposals;
c) ERA-NET projects will aim at the coordination of national or regional programmes targeting SMEs in a similar way as 'Research for SMEs' and 'Research for SME associations';
d) A ‘Coordination and support action' will be awarded to the network of National Contact Points (NCPs) appointed by EU Member States and Associated Countries for ‘Research for the benefit of SMEs'.

3. Support measures
In this context, additional measures will be launched to reinforce the impact of participation in SME-specific research projects and to closely monitor and assess participation in both FP6 and FP7:
a) ‘Coordination and support actions' will be awarded to projects favouring and increasing the impact of actions undertaken under ‘Research for the benefit of SMEs';
b) Studies will be undertaken at various stages of FP7 to analyse and assess the socio-economic impact on and needs of participants in ‘Research for the benefit of SMEs'.

Calls
The European Commission will fund activities targeting SMEs by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the SME Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 1336 million for funding SME research support over the duration of FP7.

Other relevant European activities
The Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) will also provide support to networks of intermediaries and national schemes for actions to encourage and facilitate the participation of SMEs, while the participation of SMEs will be encouraged and facilitated, and their needs taken into account, across all parts of FP7.
Previous work carried out in Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) over the period 2002 to 2006.


3. Regions of knowledge

Objectives
The ‘Regions of knowledge' initiative aims to strengthen the research potential of European regions, in particular by encouraging and supporting the development, across Europe, of regional ‘research-driven clusters', associating universities, research centres, enterprises and regional authorities.

Why it is important?
It will allow regions to intensify the role of research and technological development (RTD) in economic development and to invest better and more in RTD through cultivating innovative ‘research-driven clusters' at a local and regional level. The aim is to increase the capacity of European regions to invest in and develop their commitment in research which can contribute significantly to economic development.
The actions undertaken in this area will enable European regions to strengthen their capacity for investing in and carrying out research activities, while maximising their potential for a successful involvement of their operators in European research projects. These activities will be implemented in close relationship with the EU's regional policy and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).

What will be funded?
This activity will be implemented through Coordination and Support Actions to cover the following:

Analysis, development and implementation of research agendas for regional or cross-border clusters

thematic issues or priorities, based on the analysis of the existing regional plans of RTD and on the development policies of economic sectors;

regional RTD public and private actors (engaged and non engaged);

the strengths and weaknesses of the regions concerned in terms of their capacity to produce, transfer and use knowledge;

economic development needs;

existing RTD policy and activities, their evolution and impact;

European and international context;

synergies and opportunities for mutual learning;

mentoring and cooperation possibilities between regional actors involved in research driven clusters.

Mentoring of regions with a less-developed research profile by highly developed ones organising events including conferences, meetings, workshops or seminars, related studies, exchange of personnel, exchange and dissemination of good practices and, if necessary, the definition, organisation and management of joint or common initiatives.
Initiatives to improve integration Increasing the research potential and researcher mobility;
Improving and sharing RTD infrastructure;
Supporting research projects;
Promoting networking between research organisation and enterprises, in particular SMEs;
Enhancing knowledge transfer between firms and between research organisation and enterprises, in particular SMEs;
Improving availability of and access to SME support services and private financing for RTD;
outlining of a business plan: defining how to finance the joint action plan by using possibilities afforded at national/local level or at Community level Framework Programmes, Structural Funds).
Dissemination activities - conferences, workshops, publications, web-based initiatives.

Calls
The European Commission will fund ‘Regions of knowledge' activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the ‘Regions of knowledge' Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…
Suitable participants would be ‘Consortia of Regional research driven clusters or a single research-driven cluster having multinational partnership' - concentrations of research organisations (public research centres, universities, not-for-profit bodies), enterprises (large firms, SMEs), regional or local authorities (local government, regional development agencies) and where appropriate local entities such as chambers of commerce, savings banks and banks, operating in a particular scientific and technological domain or economic sector.

Budget:
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 126 million for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.
Relevant European activities

For further information please see pages on the Regional Gateway and related initiatives.


4. Research potential of Convergence Regions

Objective:
Stimulating the realisation of the full research potential of the enlarged European Union by unlocking and developing the research potential in the EU´s ‘convergence regions' and outermost regions, and helping to strengthen the capacities of their researchers to successfully participate in research activities at EU level.

Why is it important?
In order to support the realisation of the full research potential of the enlarged European Research Area, this action will seek to unlock the potential of research groups in the convergence regions and outermost regions of the EU.

What will be funded?
FP7 will provide support for:

  • Trans-national two-way secondments of research staff in the convergence regions;
  • The acquisition and development of research equipment in selected centres;
  • The organisation of workshops and conferences to facilitate knowledge transfer;
  • ‘Evaluation facilities' for research centres in the ‘Convergence regions' to obtain an international independent expert evaluation of their research quality and infrastructures.

‘Research potential' is a bottom-up scheme, the projects may address any research theme of FP7.
The Funding scheme for this activity will be ‘Coordination and Support Actions'.

Calls
The European Commission will fund ‘Research potential' activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the ‘Research potential' Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget:
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 340 million for funding these activities over the duration of FP7.

Other relevant European activities
Strong synergies will be sought with the EU's regional policy. Actions supported under this heading will identify needs and opportunities for reinforcing the research capacities of emerging and existing centres of excellence in Convergence Regions which may be met by the Structural and Cohesion Funds.
See the pages on related initiatives and the CORDIS Regional Service


5. Science in society

Objective
With a view to building an effective and democratic European knowledge-based society, the aim is to stimulate the harmonious integration of scientific and technological endeavour and associated research policies into European society.

Why is it important?
The ‘Science in society' initiative aims to stimulate a harmonious integration of scientific and technological endeavour and associated research policies in European society. It will encourage Europe-wide reflection and debate on science and technology and their relation with society and culture. This action line is based on the rationale that the ability of European societies to develop themselves in a positive and sustainable way depends, to a large extent, on their capacity to create and exploit knowledge and to innovate.
‘Science in society' will be implemented through the following mix of initiatives:

  • Policy-related actions and research supported directly from this theme;
  • Cooperation between EU Member States, identifying common goals, and reinforcing national practices, in the spirit of the open method of coordination;
  • Promoting, supporting and monitoring the uptake and impact of ‘Science in society' issues in other parts of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The theme will also ensure overall coordination of issues related to ‘Science in society' both across FP7 and within other relevant European Community activities (e.g. relating to education and culture).

What will be funded?
The initiative undertaken in this field will provide support to:

  • A more dynamic governance of the relationship between science and society
    • Research on ethics in science and technology;
    • The reciprocal influence of science and culture;
    • Conditions for an informed debate on ethics and science;
  • Strengthening potential, broadening horizons
    • Strengthening the role of women in scientific research;
    • Supporting formal and informal science education in schools as well as through science centres and museums and other relevant means;
    • Reinforcing links between science education and science careers;
  • Science and society communication
    • Encouraging a European dimension at science events targeting the public;
    • Science prizes;
  • Trans-national cooperation among National Contact Points (NCPs) for ‘Science in society'.

Calls
The European Commission will fund ‘Science in society' activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the ‘Science in society' Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget:
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 330 million for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Previous relevant European activities
http://cordis.europa.eu/science-society/home.html


6. Support to the coherent development of research policies

Objectives:
This action aims to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of national and European Community research policies and their articulation with other policies, improving the impact of public research and its links with industry, and strengthening public support and its leverage effect on investment by private actors.

Why it is important?
Through this new chapter in the amended proposals, the European Commission aims to increase the effectiveness and coherence of national and Community research policies and improve the impact of public research and its links with industry.

What will be funded?
Monitoring and analysis of research-related public policies and strategies - to provide qualitative and quantitative information and analyses in support of the design, implementation, evaluation and trans-national coordination of public research-related policies and strategies.

  • Development of an information and intelligence service (ERAWATCH);
  • Industrial research investment monitoring activity;
  • Development and analysis of indicators on research activity and its impact on the economy.
  • Coordination of research policies - to strengthen, on a voluntary basis, the coordination of research policies. There is a need for further policy learning and for assessing good practices in support of research with regard to their transferability and methods of implementation. Through this action line, European platforms will be provided to share and validate good practices, bringing together the relevant stakeholders and encouraging peer reviews.
  • Support to the implementation of the ‘Open method of coordination';
  • Support to bottom up policy coordination initiatives undertaken by several countries and regions (OMC-NET).

Calls
The European Commission will fund ‘Policy coherence' activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the ‘Policy coherence' Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget:
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 70 million for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.


7. International cooperation

Objective:
To become more competitive and play a leading role globally, the European Community needs a strong and coherent international science and technology (S&T) policy with three objectives:

  • support European competitiveness through strategic partnerships with non-EU countries in selected fields of science and by engaging the best scientists from such countries to work with and in Europe;
  • enhance the production of knowledge and scientific excellence by enabling European universities, research institutions and firms to establish contacts with their partners in such third countries, thereby facilitating access to research environments outside Europe and promoting synergies on a global scale;
  • address specific problems that third countries face, or that have a global character, on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit.

Why is it important?
The international competitiveness of modern economies is linked increasingly to their ability to generate, adapt and use new knowledge. Science and technology (S&T) are considered to be key factors contributing to achieving sustainable development, prosperity and economic growth. S&T has also proved instrumental to enhancing and enriching many other policy areas with an impact on external relations: trade, development, environment, energy, telecommunications, etc.
For more information on international cooperation (INCO) activities please see the CORDIS INCO Portal.

Eligible Countries:
Cooperation with third countries is targeted in particular at the following groups of countries:

What will be funded?
Research theme-oriented international cooperation will be carried out under the Cooperation programme.
International actions in the area of human potential will be under the People programme.
The Capacities programme will implement horizontal support actions and measures with a focus other than a specific thematic or interdisciplinary area. It will also aim to support the coordination of national programmes on international scientific cooperation, and the various international cooperation actions under the different programmes of FP7. Initiatives under this programme will include:

  • Bi-regional coordination of S&T cooperation including priority setting and definition of S&T cooperation policies; bringing together policy makers, scientific community, civil society and private sector stakeholders from the EU and third countries to identify priorities and define policy orientations; implementing specific activities dedicated to strengthening participation from targeted countries and regions in FP7, including support for information points in the third countries:
    • Western Balkan area
    • Mediterranean area
    • EECA countries
    • Latin America
    • ACP and South Africa
    • Asia
  • Bilateral coordination for the enhancement and development of S&T partnerships:
    • Improving the provision of information on programs and funding designed to promote cooperation between Europe and specific third countries;
    • Better identifying and demonstrating mutual interest and benefit in S&T cooperation between the EU and specific third countries;
    • Sharing best practices via joint forums such as workshops and presenting the state of the art and the prospects for cooperation in particular fields.
  • Supporting the coordination of national policies and activities of EU Member States and Associated Countries on international S&T cooperation. The objective of the ERA-NET scheme is to step up the cooperation and coordination of national or regional research programmes through networking, aiming at mutual opening and the development and implementation of joint activities.
    • ERA-NET ‘International cooperation'
    • ERA-NET PLUS ‘International cooperation'

Calls
The European Commission will fund ‘International cooperation ‘activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals'. When the first calls of the ‘International cooperation' Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Budget
The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 180 million for funding these activities over the duration of FP7.

Previous relevant European activities
International cooperation activities under FP6



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Ideas

The Commission's revised FP7 proposals provide for EUR 7 510 million for an Ideas' programme that aims to enhance dynamism, creativity and excellence in European research at the frontier of knowledge by supporting 'investigator-driven' research projects across all fields by individual teams competing at a European level. Projects will be funded based on proposals presented by researchers on subjects of their choice, evaluated on scientific excellence by peer review.
The Ideas programme proposes a trans-European mechanism to support creative scientific research designed to generate new knowledge that opens up new avenues for technological progress and new solutions for social and environmental problems. This 'frontier research', which will be at the heart of the Ideas programme, is a new approach to basic research that is, by virtue of its nature, risky and cuts across established disciplinary boundaries and national borders.

A European Research Council to support basic, frontier research

By promoting “frontier research”, the Specific Programme will aim to put European research in a leading position, opening the way to creating new scientific and technological results and probably unexpected results.
The programme proposes the setting up of a European Research Council (ERC), composed of a Scientific Council and a dedicated organisation to implement EU frontier research activities. Research areas covered will be independent of the thematic orientations of other parts of the Framework Programme, and will include engineering, social sciences and the humanities.
The Scientific Council is responsible for the governance of the ERC and consists of 22 representatives of the European scientific community at the highest level, nominated by the Commission following the final report [PDF] of the independent ERC Identification Committee chaired by former European Commissioner Lord Patten of Barnes (see also Interim Report on 21 March 2005 [PDF]).
The ERC Scientific Council has elected Professor Fotis Kafatos as its Chairman and Professor Helga Nowotny and Dr. Daniel Estève as Vice-Chairs. It has also gone on to recruit the first two Secretaries General of the ERC, Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker (Jan 2007 – June 2009) and Professor Andreu Mas-Colell (July 2009 – Dec 2011).
The European Parliament has welcomed the creation of the ERC but has suggested it become an independent structure (possibly as an Article 171 initiative) following a brief transition phase after its launch as an Executive Agency. The Commission's revised FP7 proposals incorporate important clarifications of the term of office, the renewal and the role of the Scientific Council, the management and staffing arrangements of the ERC, and an independent review of the ERC no later than 2010.

Strategy

The amended proposals of 28 June 2006 also allow for the ERC to conduct its own strategic studies for the preparation and support of its operational activities. The ERC's Scientific Council has already published its outline strategy for the launch of the ERC [PDF] providing details of how it hopes to stimulate investigator-initiated frontier research across all scientific fields, on the basis of excellence.

The launch strategy refers to two funding streams, operating on a 'bottom up' basis across all research fields, to be the core of the ERC's operations for the duration of FP7. Priority will first be given to an ERC Starting Independent Research Grant [PDF] scheme, aiming to provide support to the independent careers of excellent researchers at the stage of establishing their first research team or pursuing independent research for the first time. A second funding stream, the Advanced Investigator Research Grant scheme, will be established as soon as feasible thereafter. The Scientific Council says that one-third of the ERC's overall annual budget (approximately EUR 300-350 million per year) will be earmarked for some 200 Starting Independent Research Grants.


Open Edit 

People

Highly trained researchers are needed to advance science and underpin innovation, and to attract and sustain public and private investment in research. With growing global competition, the development of an open European labour market for researchers and the diversification of skills and career paths of researchers are crucial, and mobility, both trans-national and inter-sectoral, is a key component of the European Research Area.
The Commission's proposal for the FP7 Specific Programme on People aims to improve the quality of the human potential in European R&D and increase the number of researchers and others working in the R&D sector. It aims to do this by stimulating people to enter into research professions, encouraging European researchers to stay in Europe and making Europe more attractive for the best researchers from around the world. At the same time, training and career development of researchers will be actively supported.
The FP7 programme's activities will be based on the long and successful experience of the Marie Curie actions and will cover all stages of a researcher's professional life, from initial research training to life long learning and career development. While building on the positive experiences of the Marie Curie programme so far, there will be an increased focus on three aspects:

  • Better structuring: While existing European post-doctoral fellowships have reached a degree of maturity, there is fragmentation among regional, national and international (non-Community) programmes, which are often limited in their European dimension. European co-funding for these programmes (based on open calls) could bring a better structure;
  • Industrial participation: FP7 will introduce a stronger focus on training and career development (especially in the private sector). There will be a stronger emphasis on developing the complementary skills needed to better understand research in enterprises and on an active role for industrial actors, especially SMEs.
  • A stronger international dimension: FP7 will reinforce cooperation with researchers from third countries and introduce new dimensions for collaboration with the EU's neighbouring countries. ‘Scientific diasporas' of European researchers abroad and foreign researchers in Europe will also be supported.

Marie Curie actions to achieve the aims of the Specific Programme on ‘People' cover:

  • initial training via Marie Curie Networks - aiming to improve career perspectives by strengthening the initial training and career development of researchers at the European level and to overcome fragmentation of researchers' qualifications and prospects.
  • Life-long training and career development to support the career development of experienced researchers through individual fellowships awarded directly at Community level and by co-financing of regional, national or international programmes.
  • Industry-academia pathways and partnerships – supporting longer term cooperation programmes between academia and industrial entities, in particular SMEs, through staff secondments and workshops for exchanging information and experience.
  • The international dimension: FP7 aims to attract research talent from outside Europe, to foster mutually beneficial research collaboration with researchers from outside Europe and to improve the career development of European researchers by supporting international research cooperation. Marie-Curie International Fellowships will support exchanges and work-stays for non-European researchers. The introduction of reintegration grants and the new 'scientific visa' Directive also aim to facilitate these exchanges. Partnerships between European research institutions and their counterparts in countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy or who have a Science and Technology Agreement with the EU will also be actively encouraged and supported.
  • Specific actions to support the creation of a genuine European labour market for researchers and awards to improve the public awareness of Marie Curie actions.

Further information on existing Marie Curie actions under FP6

For more generic information visit the Marie Curie Actions - Human Resources and Mobility service on Europa.


Open Edit