What is FP7? The basics
The complete name of FP7 is 7 th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development . It will last for seven years from 2007until 2013. The programme has a total budget of over € 50 billion. This represents a substantial increase compared with the previous Framework Programme FP6 (41% at 2004 prices, 63% at current prices), a reflection of the high priority of research in Europe.
Indeed, FP7 is a key tool to respond to Europe's needs in terms of jobs and competitiveness, and to maintain leadership in the global knowledge economy.
This money will (for the most part) be spent on grants to research actors all over Europe and beyond, in order to co-finance research, technological development and demonstration projects. Grants are determined on the basis of calls for proposals and a peer review process, which are highly competitive.
In order to complement national research programmes, activities funded from FP7 must have a “European added value”. One key aspect of the European added value is the transnationality of many actions: research projects are carried out by consortia which include participants from different European (and other) countries; fellowships in FP7 require mobility over national borders. Indeed, many research challenges (e.g. fusion research, etc), are so complex that they can only be addressed at European level.
But in FP7 there is also a new action for “individual teams” with no obligation for trans-national cooperation. In this case, the “European added value” lies in raising the competition between scientists in fundamental “frontier” research from the national to the European level.
FP7 is the natural successor to the previous programme, FP6. It is the result of years of consultation with the research community from both the public and private sectors, with economic actors, and with political decision makers in Europe. FP7 is both larger and more comprehensive than its predecessors. It is also more flexible, with simplified procedures.
The Framework Programmes for Research have two main strategic objectives:
How to find your way through
A 7 year programme with over € 50 billion to spend, reflecting all aspects of EU research policy, is – quite naturally - of a certain complexity. A newcomer might indeed get lost in the panoply of themes, activities, funding schemes, etc. But help is at hand!
In all EU Member States, in the countries associated with FP7 and in several other countries, National Contact Points (“NCPs”) have been set up to give personalized help and advice to researchers and organisations intending to participate. Contact your NCP by phone, fax or e-mail in your national language, and explain your situation and your ideas.
The NCP’s job is it to point you to the part of FP7 that might be of interest to you and to help you with your application. With their support, getting through the necessary paperwork will be much easier. You will find the address details of your National Contact Point at cordis.europa.eu/fp7/get-support_en.html
The EU policies of developing research for the global knowledgebased economy focus increasingly on collaborative research, both within the EU and with external research partners. Coordinating national or European teams, setting up research networks, and increasing the mobility of individual researchers are at the heart of such policies. Bringing together research teams from different countries is also a way of countering the fragmented nature of the European research landscape.
For the first time in the EU research programmes, FP7 can now also support research projects by single researchers/teams through the investigator-led programmes of the new European Research Council