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€7bn for cutting-edge research - 19/07/2011

Scientist and representation of atoms © EU

The EU's latest call for research proposals focuses on innovation and getting good ideas to market.

About €7bn is available for this round of grants, part of the €53bn available through the current research funding programme for 2007 to 2013.

Research teams from the EU and beyond can apply for the funds, which are helping Europe to develop world-class research and close the innovation gap between the EU and its main competitors, the US and Japan.

To build up science and innovation, the EU wants to increase spending on research to 3% of gross domestic product by 2020 (from 2% in 2009). Achieving that target could create 3.7 million jobs and boost annual growth by about €800bn.

The call for research proposals also addresses the aims of the EU's "innovation union" policy. This flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 growth and job strategy will stimulate and speed up innovation in Europe, while removing bottlenecks that prevent good ideas from reaching the market.

Research grants will target such areas as:

  • active and healthy ageing - helping older people lead active and independent lives is the first European innovation partnership, combining public and private research
  • information and communication technologies - network and service infrastructures, nano- and micro-systems, photonics, robotics, digital content, language, health and energy-efficiency
  • collaborative projects among European researchers and helping them commercialise discoveries
  • supporting researchers - about 10 000 will receive funding through the Marie Curie programme, under which a pilot project is being launched to encourage entrepreneurship and cooperation among universities, research bodies and private companies
  • environmental challenges - climate change, biodiversity loss, achieving resource efficiency
  • safer and healthier food - investments in a strong bio-economy, improving production methods
  • nanotechnologies - research into behaviour of particles at atomic and molecular levels could lead to new types of factories, greener cars and energy efficient buildings
  • cleaner, safer and more efficient transport and mobility

About 16 000 recipients will receive grants for research projects this year. About €1bn will be used to help small and medium-sized businesses innovate.

There will also be a new prize for female innovators whose work has been funded through the research funding programme.

Most of the invitations to bid for funds will be published on 20 July.

More on research and innovation

More on innovation union

Find out more about applying for a research grant

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