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FP Support Services

Network of National Contact Points (NCPs)

The network of National Contact Points is the main structure to provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in FP7.

What is the NCP network?

NCPs are national structures established and financed by governments of the 27 EU member states and the states associated to the framework programme. NCPs give personalised support on the spot and in proposers' own languages.
The NCP systems in the different countries show a wide variety of architectures, from highly centralised to decentralised networks, and a number of very different actors, from ministries to universities, research centres and special agencies to private consulting companies. This reflects the different national traditions, working methodologies, research landscapes and funding schemes.

FP7 - contacts in third countries

In FP7, participation of organisations from third countries (which are neither Member nor Associated States) is encouraged. The Commission therefore have established a database with contacts in third countries who can give assistance to potential participants in these countries and to organisations from Member and Associated States looking for partners in third countries. For the moment, the list of countries is limited. Continuous updates are foreseen.

Other support services FP7 support services
  • IGLO - Informal Group of RTD Liaison Offices
    IGLO is an informal association of Brussels-based non-profit R&D Liaison Offices. The aim of IGLO is to facilitate and enhance the interaction, information exchange and co-operation between Members of IGLO, their national research systems and the European institutions on issues related to EU R&D, in particular, the Framework Programmes.
  • CORDIS Mini-Guide makes the most of the service's many benefits
Non FP7 specific support services
The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme

The Seventh R&D Framework Programme (FP7) and the CIP are mutually reinforcing components of the EU's efforts to reach the Lisbon goals and support Europe's competitiveness and innovative capacity. The CIP will primarily focus on the technological and non-technological aspects of innovation and the downstream parts of the innovation and research process. It aims to provide a common framework for sub-programmes integrating a number of existing measures in a much simpler structure, including: the multi-annual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, the LIFE programme, the eEurope action plan, the European Digital Content programme, financial aid to the establishment of Trans-European Networks (including telecomms) and the Intelligent Energy - Europe Programme.

The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) is intended as a single, coherent legal basis for all Community action relating to competitiveness and innovation within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy. It covers entrepreneurship, SME policy, industrial competitiveness, innovation, ICT development and use, environmental technologies and intelligent energy. The CIP is expected to result in greater coherence and more synergies between different Community support measures.
With a proposed budget of EUR 4,212.6 million, the CIP will fund actions in three different work programmes:
- The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, with a special focus on SMEs;
- The ICT Policy Support Programme, supporting the use of ICT in businesses;
- The Intelligent Energy Europe Programme.

1. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme
This programme will bring together activities that were previously carried out under the Multiannual Programme for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (MAP), and the environmental technologies part of the LIFE-Environment programme. CIP will also build on innovation activities that were previously implemented through framework programmes for research, technological development and demonstration.
- The programme aims to help enterprises innovate by providing access to finance: sharing risks and reward with private equity investors and providing counter or co-guarantees to national guarantee schemes. The financial instruments will be operated by EIF.
- Through the programme, SMEs will also have simple, clear and efficient access to the EU via the business support networks consisting of many information and advice about of today's EICs (Euro Info Centres) and IRCs (Innovation Relay Centres). A "no wrong door: no closed door" approach will ensure that SMEs access to such services is simplified. A call was launched in December 2006.
- The conditions for innovation will be improved through innovation actions, including exchanges of best practices between Member States and evidence (innovation trendchart, innobarometer, innovation scoreboard).
Whilst building on such tried and tested programmes, CIP also includes new elements such as:
- a risk capital instrument for high growth and innovative companies;
- "securitisation" of bank's SME loan portfolios;
- enhanced role for innovation and business support networks

2. ICT Policy Support Programme
This programme will build on the aims of the previous e-TEN, Modinis and e-Content programmes and will support the aims of the new integrated strategy i2010 - European Information Society 2010.
The ICT programme will stimulate the new converging markets for electronic networks, media content and digital technologies. It will test solutions to the bottlenecks that delay wide European deployment of electronic services. It will also support the modernisation of public sector services that will raise productivity and improve services.
Actions under the ICT-policy support programme will

  • underpin regulatory and research actions of the Commission to stimulate emerging digital economy based on the convergence between network services, media content and new electronic devices
  • provide a bridge between research investment and wide adoption, by providing a testing ground for pan-European electronic services in both the public and private sectors
  • reinforce European cultural and linguistic identities by support for the production and distribution of European digital content
  • assist the development of an open and inclusive European Information Society through stimulating innovative approaches to inclusion, quality of life and public services.

3. Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme
The Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme will encourage the wider uptake of new and renewable energies and improve energy efficiency, and shall foster compliance with our energy regulatory framework. The programme aims at accelerating action in relation to the agreed EU strategy and targets in the field of sustainable energy, increasing the share of renewable energy and further reducing our final energy consumption. It includes actions to:

  • increase the uptake and demand for energy efficiency
  • to promote renewable energy sources and energy diversification, and
  • to stimulate the diversification of fuels and energy efficiency in transport.
The programme will also help to increase the level of investment in new and best performing technologies and bridge the gap between the successful demonstration of innovative technologies and their effective introduction to the market to achieve mass deployment. Furthermore, it will strengthen the administrative capacity both to develop strategies and policies and to implement existing regulations.