Modernisation of EU research funding on the right track
Today, the European Commission presented a progress report covering the first two years of the 7thEU framework programme for R&D (FP7), which will last until 2013. The biggest EU R&D funding programme ever, with a €54bn budget over 7 years, proves to be well suited to answer the EU's economic and societal needs. Its structure and new instruments help the EU to address its challenges. Priority areas such as environment, energy or nanotechnologies contribute to building a sustainable, low carbon economy, with industry-led technology platforms helping to define topics which meet industry's long term needs; the European Research Council supports our best researchers to globally compete on scientific excellence. Joint Technology Initiatives embody new public–private ventures on an unprecedented technological and financial scale. FP7 is a strong asset in the EU's fight against the current crisis with its budget growing every year by 13% until 2013. The report underlines remaining challenges for the FP7 such as the mobilisation of new Member States, the participation of SMEs and administrative simplification.