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| EditorialPreliminary data have been released on the 2008 Environment call for proposals for FP7 (FP7-ENV-2008-1), which was published in November last year and closed in February. Of the 425 submitted proposals, 402 were assessed as being eligible (97%), totalling a requested EC grant of €1 145 million.
As in 2007, the eligible proposals under the 2008 call represent a good thematic spread within the Environment theme. Given current focus on the environment and sustainable development, some topics continued to attract a similar level of interest this year as they did last. Environment technologies received by far the highest number of proposals and requested funding at 28% of the total. This area concerns further development of environmental technologies for observation, simulation, prevention, mitigation, adaptation, remediation and restoration of the natural and man-made environment.
This was followed by Management of natural resources which relates to the conservation and sustainable management of natural and man-made resources and biodiversity, asking for 18%. In 2007, this order was reversed in terms of number of submissions, although the former requested a higher amount of funding (24%).
A current popular topic, Climate change, pollution and risks had the second-highest amount of requested funding with €337 million (after Environment technologies). The number of proposals received under this theme, however, was lower than in 2007, with 128 submitted this year compared with 179 last. In both years, Pressures on environment and climate had the highest number of proposals, both received and eligible, and requested EU contribution, with 53 (51 of which were eligible) and €151 million (2008).
In the same vein of the focus on sustainable development, Expo Zaragoza 2008 began this month and will last until mid-September 2008, with the theme of Water and sustainable development. The Expo expects seven million people to visit, with performances, and artistic and cultural events, to involve the general public and bring the theme of water and sustainable development to the greatest possible number of people. In addition, three large-scale multimedia productions – Iceberg, Hombre vertiente and Awakening of the serpent – will be able to be viewed by over 20 000 spectators from across the exhibition grounds.
The EU and DG Research will be actively involved in Expo Zaragoza 2008, providing information to the general public and promoting EU policies concerning sustainable development and water pavilion via a pavilion shared by EU institutions. In addition, EU-funded water research activities will be presented, with an RTD open day on 8 September which will be attended by the Commissioner for Science & Research, Janez Potočnik.
As to what happens next for the second FP7 calls, the Inter-Service Consultation is currently being launched and the results will be presented to the Member States in the Environment Programme Committee meeting in early July. The negotiations are then scheduled to be launched by mid-July, with the signature of the first grant agreements in November.