A dedicated website and a practical guide have been conceived in order to help potential beneficiaries of our programmes find their way through the three funding instruments and identify the most appropriate funding scheme for them. It provides a concise description of the three funding sources, explains how they can in practice be combined and provides policy makers with advice on setting up mechanisms at the national and regional levels to foster co-ordinated access to them.
FP7 with a total budget of over € 50 billion for the period 2007-2013 is the EU instrument specifically targeted at supporting research and development. It provides funding to co-finance research, technological development and demonstration projects based on competitive calls and independent peer review of project proposals. Support is available for collaborative and individual research projects as well as for the development of research skills and capacity. Since the 1980s, the successive Research Framework Programmes have played a lead role in multidisciplinary research and cooperative trans-national R&D activities in Europe and beyond.
1.4. Some ongoing calls
With small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as its main target, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) supports innovation activities (including eco-innovation), provides better access to finance and delivers business support services in the regions.
It encourages a better take-up and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and helps to develop the information society.
It also promotes the increased use of renewable energies and energy efficiency.
The CIP runs from 2007 to 2013 with an overall budget of € 3621 million.
The CIP is divided into three operational programmes.
Each programme has its specific objectives, aimed at contributing to the competitiveness of enterprises and their innovative capacity in their own areas, such as ICT or sustainable energy:
The purpose of the Structural Funds (European Regional Development Fund – ERDF and European Social Fund - ESF) and the Cohesion Fund is to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion by reducing disparities in the level of development among regions and Member States. Each region or Member State has developed, in discussion with the Commission and in partnership with all relevant private and public stakeholders, operational programmes that cover the entire programming period 2007-2013. Many thematic areas are supported by the Structural Funds, including research, innovation and enterprise for which EU funding in the period 2007-2013 will be above € 86 billion. The allocation of funds in a given Member State or region varies according to its level of development. However, most regions will have some funding available from the Structural Funds in support of Research, Technological Development and Innovation (RTDI). Unlike FP7 and CIP, the management of the Structural Funds is decentralised to regional or national bodies.