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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research N° 45 - May 2005   
 The logic of the ‘leap forward’
 Eastern outpost of the European Research Area
 The agricultural tradition
 Birth of Europe-backed research
 Out of Africa
 Campylobacteria under the microscope
 When distant worlds meet
 Coping with life on the outside
 Researchers take centre stage

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Title  Profile of the Seventh Framework Programme

"Building the European Research Area of knowledge for growth”. This central theme is inspired directly by the stated desire to make the ‘Lisbon Strategy’ a success and to set out the “growth triangle” formed by research, education and innovation policy. The Commission’s proposal to establish the Seventh Framework Programme has been before the Council and European Parliament for examination since the beginning of April 2005. 

To trigger growth and competitiveness, characterised by a strengthened Europe of knowledge and commitment to the excellence needed to achieve this: that is the primary inspiration behind the new Framework Programme. It is built on five core priorities: 

  • to resolutely support research able to create industrial applications and establish Europe as a key player in a global and sustainable economy;
  • to give a new Europe-wide impetus to “pioneering” scientific research as a source of future innovation (priority expressed by the creation of the European Research Council – ERC);
  • to help the research world recruit human resources attaining a higher standard and to equip it with the most effective common tools and infrastructure possible;
  • to strengthen coordination between research efforts at national and regional level;
  • to simplify and render more efficient the operating methods of the Framework Programme and the procedures for participating in it.
These ambitions will be realised by means of a Framework Programme consisting of four major sub-programmes:

Proposed breakdown between the principal FP7 programmes(On the basis of a global budget of €68.5 billion for the 2007-2013 period)
Proposed breakdown between the principal FP7 programmes (On the basis of a global budget of €68.5 billion for the 2007-2013 period)
Co-operation – This will cover all support for research or coordination projects under the nine scientific and technological priorities. The programme includes Euratom research (nuclear fission and protection and the ITER international programme on nuclear fusion).

Ideas – This programme is dedicated to the new dimension of “pioneering research” (support for the ERC). 

Researchers – Going from strength to strength with each successive programme, this component concerns the continuation of and  building on present or future Marie Curie mobility actions, as well as efforts to improve conditions for carrying out research occupations. 

Capacities –  This covers:

  • support for research infrastructures;
  • specific actions in favour of SMEs;
  • efforts by the regions and for convergence in the quest for excellence throughout the Union;
  • support for highlighting the role of “science in society” and its perception by the general public;
  • the development of scientific co-operation and international technologies (a theme that will also be incorporated in all the aforementioned research actions).
The changes brought to the Seventh Framework Programme are very much in keeping with the spirit of its predecessor in terms of priority research subjects. There is also a desire for continuity in the forms of support, the so-called “instruments”. At the call for proposals stage, however, the choice will be rendered less predetermined and thus more flexible. 

Nevertheless, a limited number of new forms of action have been introduced: 

  • support for "joint technological initiatives” that can be put into place on the basis of various strategic avenues of innovation identified by the “Technology platforms” in various industrial or pre-industrial sectors;
  • EU support for “variable geometry” projects involving a limited number of Member States, as provided for in the Treaties;
  • the promotion of a new private financial dynamism for the development of research with a high innovation potential, through the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility device, developed with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
As for the rest, there will be strengthened synergy between the Framework Programme and the other policies pertinent to the Lisbon Strategy, ranging from the Structural and Cohesion Funds to education, and including European enterprise and innovation policy and trans-European networks.