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About FP

Introduction into the 6th EU Framework Programme (FP6)

Programme and structure

The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6)- 2002-2006 - is the European Unions' main instrument for research funding in Europe. FP6 contributes to the implementation of the European Research Area (ERA) – an internal market for science and technology that overcomes the three weaknesses of European Research: insufficient funding, lack of an environment to stimulate research and exploit results, and the fragmented nature of activities and the dispersal of resources.

Furthermore, FP6 serves two main strategic objectives: Strengthening the scientific and technological bases of industry and improving competitiveness and innovation in Europe through the promotion of increased co-operation and improved co-ordination between relevant actors at all levels.

FP6, the European Community Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration, encompasses three main blocks:

 SMEsforFOOD focuses on projects related to the 5th Thematic Priority:
 ”Food Quality and Safety”.
SME participation

The EU attaches great importance to the participation of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in FP6 as SMEs comprise 95% of the European enterprises contributing to 2/3 of employment and economic turnover. Therefore, at least 15% of the budget of the seven Thematic Priorities is collectively to be allocated to SMEs. It is of key importance to encourage and facilitate the involvement of SMEs in FP6, especially in the new instruments Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence as a significant part of the FP6 budget is expected to be channelled through these project types.

SMEsforFOOD aims at improving SME participation in FP6

Introduction into the 7th EU Framework Programme (FP7)

On 6 April the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new EU programme for Research. The proposal provides new impetus to increase Europe's growth and competitiveness, recognising that knowledge is Europe's greatest resource. The programme places greater emphasis than in the past on research that is relevant to the needs of European industry, to help it compete internationally, and develop its role as a world leader in certain sectors. The programme will also for the first time provide support for the best in European investigator-driven research, with the creation of a European Research Council. Focus will be on excellence throughout the programme, a requirement if it is to play its role in developing Europe's global competitiveness. Another priority will be to make participation in the programme simpler and easier, through measures addressing the procedures, plus a rationalisation of instruments In spite of this new approach, there are many elements of continuity: in practice, for the majority of participants, the programme itself will not change, but participation will become simpler.


The European Union's Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (FP7) is planned for 7 years and will be active from 2007 to 2013.

FP7's budget is still being negotiated between the European Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and the European Commission. It is currently estimated that the overall budget for FP7 will be 49 billion €.

FP7's first calls for proposals are to be published by the end of 2006.


FP7 will be based on 4 specific programs:
  • “COOPERATION” - Collaborative Research (~32292M€)
  • “IDEAS” - Frontier Research (~7460M€)
  • “PEOPLE” - Human Potential (~4727M€)
  • “CAPACITIES” - Research & Innovation (~4291M€)


The Cooperation Programme


The Co-operation programme is designed to establish European leadership in key scientific and technological areas by supporting cooperation between universities, industry, research centres and public authorities across the European Union as well as the rest of the world. The Commission is proposing an amount of ~€32200 million, about 60% of total proposed FP7 expenditure. The programme focuses on ten themes, corresponding to the major fields of progress in knowledge and technology where excellent research must be strengthened to address European social, economic, environmental and industrial challenges. These are:


Health, where the objective is to improve the health of European citizens and increase the competitiveness of European health-related industries and businesses, while addressing global health issues including emerging epidemics. Emphasis will be put on “translational research” (turning basic discoveries into clinical applications), the development and validation of new therapies, methods for health promotion and disease prevention, diagnostic tools and technologies and efficient health care systems. The amount proposed in this area is ~€5984 million.


Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology, where the objective is to build a European knowledge-based bio-economy by bringing together science, industry and other stakeholders. The aim will be to exploit new and emerging research opportunities that address social and economic challenges: the growing demand for safer, healthier and higher quality food, taking into account animal welfare and rural contexts; the sustainable production and use of renewable bio-resources; the increasing risk of epizootic an zoonotic diseases and good-related disorders; threats to the sustainability and security of agricultural and fisheries production resulting in particular from climate change. The amount proposed in this area is ~€1935 million.


Information and Communication Technologies, where the objective is to improve the competitiveness of European industry and enable Europe to master and shape the future developments of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to meet the demands of both society and economy. Activities will strengthen Europe’s scientific and technology base and ensure its global leadership in ICT, help drive and stimulate innovation through ICT use and ensure that ICT progress is rapidly transformed into benefits for Europe’s citizens, businesses, industry and governments. The amount proposed in this area is ~€9110 million.


Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies, where the objective is to improve the competitiveness of European industry, ensure its transformation from resource-intensive to knowledge-intensive, by generating breakthrough knowledge for new applications at the crossroads between different technologies and disciplines and concentrate its capabilities on high-added-value products and technologies to meet customer requirements, as well as environmental, health and other societal expectations. The amount proposed in this area is ~€3467 million.


Energy, where the objective is to transform the current fossil-fuel energy system into a more sustainable one based on a diverse portfolio of energy sources and carriers combined with enhanced energy efficiency, to address the pressing challenges of security of supply and climate change. The amount proposed in this area is ~€2265 million.


Environment, including Climate Change, where the objective is to promote sustainable management of the natural and human environment and its resources by advancing understanding of the interaction of the bio-sphere, ecosystems and human activities and developing new technologies, tool and services to address global environmental issues in an integrated way. Emphasis will be put on prediction of climate, ecological, earth and ocean systems changes, on tools and technologies for monitoring, prevention and mitigation of environmental pressures and risks, including to health and the sustainability of the natural and man-made environment. The amount proposed in this area is ~€1886 million.


Transport, including Aeronautics, seeking to develop integrated, “greener”, “smarter” and safer pan-European transport systems for the benefit of the citizen and society, respecting the environment and natural resources, and securing and developing the competitiveness and leading role of European industry in the global market. The amount proposed in this area is ~€4180 million.


Socio-economic sciences and the Humanities, generating in-depth, shared understanding of complex and inter-related socio-economic challenges facing Europe, such as growth, employment and competitiveness, social cohesion, sustainability, quality of life, education, cultural issues and global interdependence, in particular with a view to providing an improved knowledge case for policies in the fields concerned. The amount proposed in this area is ~€607 million.


Space, supporting a European Space Programme focusing on applications such as 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). 


Security, to develop the technologies and knowledge for building capabilities needed to ensure the security of citizens from threats such as terrorism, natural disasters and crime, 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 co-operation of providers and users for civil security solutions, improving the competitiveness of the European security industry and delivering mission-oriented research results to reduce security gaps. The amount proposed in the Space & Security areas is ~€2858 million.



The Ideas Programme


The Ideas programme will establish a European Research Council (ERC), a pan- European mechanism to support the truly creative scientists, engineers and scholars, whose curiosity and thirst for knowledge are most likely to make the unpredictable and spectacular discoveries that can change the course of human understanding and open up new vistas for technological progress and solving enduring social and environmental problems. The key principles for the operation of the ERC will be scientific autonomy and excellence. The ERC, with a proposed budget of ~€7460 million, will consist of a Scientific Council, composed of 22 eminent scientists from across Europe and from many different disciplines. The Scientific Council will be supported by an implementation structure, responsible for all aspects of administrative implementation and carrying out the work programme. This structure will implement the evaluation procedures, peer review and selection processes according to the principles established by the Scientific Council and will ensure the financial and scientific management of grants.


The People Programme

European science can only be as good as the people carrying it out. It is for this reason that the European Commission proposes allocating a significant amount of the Seventh Framework Programme – ~€4727 million– to measures that will develop Europe’s researchers both qualitatively and quantitatively, which will be known as ‘Marie Curie Actions’. It will build on the significant positive experience of previous such programmes. Actions supported by the People programme will include: initial training of researchers, through a networking mechanism focused on the first four years of their careers; life-long training and career development, through individual fellowships, co-funding regional, national or international programmes; creating closer links between industry and academia, through secondments, hosting programmes, workshops and conferences. There will also be a significant international dimension, with outgoing international fellowships, return and reintegration grants for European researchers, incoming international fellowships and international partnerships. The People programme will be supported by actions that seek to remove obstacles to moving within the EU and enhance the career perspectives of researchers.


The Capacities Programme

The Capacities Programme aims to develop the resources available to Europe’s research community, so that it can operate in the best possible conditions. Measures to achieve this include: Development of research infrastructures (large-scale research facilities such as super-computers, libraries, networked databases, testing facilities, observatories), so that European scientists remains at the forefront of advances in research. Strengthening the innovative capacity of small- and medium-sized enterprises and their ability to benefit from research, by helping them outsource research, increase their own research efforts, extend their networks, make better use of research results and acquire necessary technological know-how. Development of Regions of Knowledge, to strengthen the research potential of the regions by bringing together regional authorities, universities, research centres, enterprises and other interested parties. Unlocking the research potential of the EU’s convergence and outermost regions, to stimulate their greater participation in EU research activities. Such measures could include twinning, networks for exchanging know-how and expertise, secondments, acquisition of research equipment, awareness raising activities. Bringing science and society closer together, to counter the lack of public participation in the setting of priorities, and the perceived isolation of the scientific world from everyday realities of life. Objectives include strengthening and improving the European science system, including access to research results and the link between science and policy-making, promoting better understanding of issues that have an impact on society’s perception of science, such as ethics, law, culture, improving the gender dimension of research, attracting more young people into science, and supporting the effective two-way communication between scientists and the general public.

In broader terms, support can be given under this programme to the coordination of Member States’ research policies, in particular with a view to putting into practice the EU’s growth and competitiveness agenda.

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