Seventh Framework Programme

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The logo of the programme

The Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7) is the European Union's chief instrument for funding research over the period 2007 to 2013. It bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment. CORDIS is the official portal for participating in FP7 and following related developments in European science and technology. As was the case for FP6, its main objective is to further the construction of the European Research Area. Its specific goals are fourfold:

  • To gain leadership in key scientific and technology areas
  • To stimulate the creativity and excellence of European research
  • To develop and strengthen the human potential of European research
  • To enhance research and innovation capacity throughout Europe

The total budget for FP7, including the non-nuclear research of the Joint Research Centre, is 51 Billion euros over 7 years. The overall budget is fixed, and the split of it along thematic priorities and the content of those priorities was decided in November 2006.


[edit] Vocabulary

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Trying to understand how the Framework Programme works requires a bit of vocabulary understanding. Here are some useful definitions (the indent reflects the increasing level of granularity):

  • Framework Programme: this is the umbrella of the Programme. The acronym is "FP", usually followed by the edition: "FP7" in this case.
  • Specific Programme: This is the first layer of breakdown of FP7. There are 4 Specific Programmes under FP7: Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities (see below). Specific Programmes are sometimes referred as Activities.
  • Non-nuclear vs. nuclear research The nuclear activities under FP7 are somewhat different from the non-nuclear. Like all EU nuclear issues, FP7 nuclear research is guided by the EURATOM-treaty (instead of the Treaty on European Union). FP7 nuclear research receives € 2.7 billion spread over 4 years (2007-2011)[1].
  • Thematic Area: This is the second layer of breakdown for the Cooperation Specific Programme of FP7. There are 10 Thematic Priorities in the Cooperation Specific Programme of FP7 (see below)
  • Challenges: This is the third layer of breakdown for Thematic Areas. The number of Challenges vary for each Thematic Areas and won't be finalized until end of 2006.
  • Work Programme: For every Thematic Area, the European Commission publishes a Work Programme that covers a period of 1 to 3 years. This document provides in detail the areas that will be funded within each Thematic Areas as well as a calendar for Call for Proposals and an indicative budget.
  • Call for Proposals: About once a year for each Thematic Area, the European Commission publishes a Call for Proposal, requesting interested entities to submit Proposals with the aim to be founded. When Calls for Proposals cover more than one Thematic Area, they are called Joint Calls. Proposal's content is usually very close to the Work Programme phrasing, with some further precisions.
  • Tracks: Calls for Proposals usually cover different Challenges within a Thematic Area. Tracks are sub-parts of Calls for Proposals and usually address a specific challenge. Tracks are usually known by their number, which is made of 3 digits. For example, FP7 3.4.5 should be understood as a call: part of FP7, 3rd Thematic Area, 4th Call for Proposals, 5th Track.

[edit] Timeline

FP7 was only launched at the end of 2006 with the first Calls for Proposals published 22 December 2006 on [1]. However, first Work Programmes were due to be available in Oct/Nov 2006, providing a good flavour of the upcoming Call's content. A detailed and updated list of FP7 past and upcoming milestone is linked below.

[edit] FP7 Specific Programmes

Four Specific Programmes were created to address the corresponding objectives. In addition, 3.5% of the budget are dedicated to the non-nuclear activities of the Joint Research Centre.

[edit] Cooperation (64% of the non-nuclear budget)

Any transnational research activities can be funded within this programme. The following ten thematic priorities have been defined (part of Cooperation budget):

  1. Health - 19%
  2. Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology - 6%
  3. Information and Communication Technologies - 28%
  4. Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new production technologies - 11%
  5. Energy - 7%
    The IEA noted that FP7 was drafted before energy emerged as a critical issue on the EU's agenda. This, and also that Nuclear Fusion consumes more then half of the Communities' energy research funding, although it won't address any energy issues before 2050, triggered the IEA to advise the EC to consider a recasting of FP7 before it expires to ensure a sufficient volume of energy R&D[2].
  6. Environment (including climate change) - 6%
  7. Transport (including Aeronautics) - 13%
  8. Socio-economic sciences and Humanities - 2%
  9. Security
  10. Space

This programme also includes cooperation between the EU and third countries.

[edit] Ideas (15% of the non-nuclear budget)

Ideas will, similarly to Cooperation, finance directly scientific research. However, it will differ on the following aspects:

  • It will not be linked to the thematic priorities of FP7 and will include engineering, social sciences and the humanities.
  • It will not be managed by the European Commission, but by an autonomous entity: the European Research Council.
  • It will focus on research at the "frontier of knowledge", where risks are higher. The expected fields of research are therefore expected to be more fundamental.

[edit] People (9% of the non-nuclear budget)

This Specific Programme is focussed on supporting the training, the mobility and the career development of European researchers, mainly through the expansion of Marie Curie actions.

[edit] Capacities (9% of the non-nuclear budget)

The Capacities specific programme is targeted at enhancing research infrastructures and improving its usage, promoting "Regions of Knowledge", supporting regional research-driven clusters, and stimulating the research potential in the EU's "convergence" regions.

Additionally, this part of FP7 will contain some budget dedicated to policy development, e.g. coordination of research policies.

[edit] Project Types

These were known as Financial Instruments in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). Project Types describe the nature of funding open to participants in FP7. Not all project types will apply to all programme areas. The applicable project types will be published in the Work Programmes and the Calls for Proposals. Partly as a result of simplification measures to be implemented in FP7, Project Types have been rationalised, although there is some element of continuity from FP6. The Project Types are:

[edit] Collaborative Research Projects

These fund projects on the basis of innovative research outputs described in the form of project deliverables. In FP7 there will be small and large Collaborative Research Projects. The equivalent FP6 Financial Instruments were Integrated Projects (IP) and Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREP).

[edit] Networks of Excellence

As with FP6, the main aim of a Network of Excellence (NoE) is to integrate research at a European level. Thus, participants are paid on the basis of degree of integration achieved and the number of researchers actively participating in the network rather than research outputs.

[edit] Support and Coordination Actions

Support Actions (SA) fund studies or other measures in support of the relevant Work Programme. Coordination Actions (CA) fund networking research that previously was primarily carried out at national level. SA and CA were separate actions in FP6.

[edit] Marie Curie Actions

The People Specific Programme refers to the Marie Curie actions ('Mobility' in FP6). These fund research training and mobility of researchers. The main actions are individual fellowships for post-graduate researchers (three categories: Intra-European Fellowships, Incoming International Fellowships and Outgoing International Fellowships) and Marie Curie Networks, where institutions cooperate to provide joint training programmes for researchers. There is also an action to support cooperation between industry and academia, and reintegration grants aimed at previous Marie Curie fellows.

[edit] See also

[edit] National contact points for advice on FP7

Each member state funds a National Contact Point, which is an organisation designed to help those submitting proposals or looking for European partners by providing guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in FP7 on a non commercial basis.

[edit] Expert assistance

In addition to the National Contact Points, various commercial services provide assistance in the development of bids for FP7 funding; and for project support and management. A wide selection of literature and handbooks are commercially available on a number of FP7 topics. Training courses on proposal writing and management are available in most major cities in Europe.

[edit] References

  1. ^ CORDIS: FP7 : Budget
  2. ^

[edit] External links

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