Europe must fully exploit its research potential if it is to establish itself as a global innovation leader. This includes realising the potential of Europe’s less-advanced and often remote regions and ensuring they are better integrated in the European Research Area. To achieve this, the FP7 Research Potential programme supports partnering arrangements between research institutions (public or private) located in the EU’s convergence and outermost regions – as defined by the regulations governing the Structural Funds (2007-2013) – with advanced institutions elsewhere in Europe. Such partnering activities include staff exchanges, hiring personnel, networking or advice and knowledge transfer. Specific links and synergies with Cohesion policy in the regions involved are always sought.
Research Potential has a total budget of €340 million over seven years (2007-2013) and is implemented via the Coordination and Support Action (CSA) funding scheme. Although projects do not address research, they can cover any scientific area within FP7.
The programme’s ultimate goal is to unlock the full research potential of the EU by reinforcing and developing emerging capabilities in Europe’s remote and less-developed regions. These so-called ‘convergence’ regions often face significant problems, such as a brain drain of top talent and a lack of appropriate access to finance. As a result, they are frequently excluded from mainstream European research networks and thus have fewer chances to compete properly for project funding at the European level.
The programme also funds the acquisition and development of small-scale research equipment and the organisation of workshops and conferences to facilitate knowledge transfer. Research Potential offers significant scope, with 20 of the 27 Member States and six Associated Countries involved.
By strengthening the research capacities of Europe’s convergence and outermost regions, researchers are better equipped to successfully participate in research activities at EU level and thus are more likely to compete in the global market place.