European Commission - Research

FP7 in Brief illustration from FP7 in Brief brochure How to get involved in the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research

What are the "Funding schemes"?

"Funding schemes" are the types of projects, by which FP7 is implemented. They are the following:

Collaborative projects

Collaborative projects are focused research projects with clearly defined scientific and technological objectives and specific expected results (such as developing new knowledge or technology to improve European competitiveness). They are carried out by consortia made up of participants from different countries, and from industry and academia.

Networks of excellence

The Networks of Excellence are designed for research institutions willing to combine and functionally integrate a substantial part of their activities and capacities in a given field, in order to create a European "virtual research centre" in this field.

This is achieved through a "Joint Programme of Activities" based on the integrated and complementary use of resources from entire research units, departments, laboratories or large teams. The implementation of this Joint Programme of Activities will require a formal commitment from the organisations integrating part of their resources and their activities.

Coordination and support actions

These are actions that cover not the research itself, but the coordination and networking of projects, programmes and policies.

This includes, for example:

  • coordination and networking activities, dissemination and use of knowledge
  • studies or expert groups assisting the implementation of the FP
  • support for transnational access to major research infrastructures
  • actions to stimulate the participation of SMEs, civil society and their networks
  • support for cooperation with other European research schemes (e.g. "frontier research").

Individual projects

Projects carried out by individual national or multinational research teams, lead by a "principal investigator", funded by the European Research Council (ERC).


Support for training and career development of researchers

Training and career development for researchers from across the European Union and its research partners, through a range of support actions named after Marie Curie

Research for the benefit of specific groups - in particular SMEs

Research and technological development projects where the bulk of the research is carried out by actors such as universities, research centres or other legal entities, for the benefit of specific groups, in particular SMEs, or for civil society organisations and their networks.

Talking about money

The basic principle of funding in FP7 is co-financing. This means that, in general, the Commission does not "purchase" research services by placing contracts and paying a price. Rather, it gives grants to projects, thus contributing a certain percentage to the overall costs.

The maximum reimbursement rates to the costs of a project depend on the funding scheme, the legal status of the participants and the type of activity. The standard reimbursement rate for research and technological development activities is 50%. Certain legal entities can receive up to 75% (non-profit public bodies, SMEs, research organisations, higher education establishments). For demonstration activities, the reimbursement rate may reach 50%. For other activities (consortium management, networking, training, coordination, dissemination etc.), the reimbursement can be up to 100% of the eligible costs. The 100% rate applies also to frontier research actions under the European Research Council.

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