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FP7 2013 Work Programme

Stimulus for growth and jobs

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On 9 July 2012, the European Commission announced Work Programme (WP) 2013, the final and largest call for proposals for research projects under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). On 10 July 2012, 52 calls for proposals were published, with the deadline for applications starting from September 2012.

In total, WP 2013 provides a EUR 8.1 billion investment in the future stimulus for growth and jobs. This funding will support ideas that will advance Europe’s competitiveness and engage in such issues as improving human health and preserving the environment, as well as finding new solutions to growing problems such as urbanisation and waste management.

The funding makes up the vast majority of the EU’s proposed EUR 10.8 billion research budget for 2013. It is open to all research actors in the EU and the Associated Countries: universities, research organisations, public authorities, large industry, SMEs and financial institutions.

Exploiting research for innovation and growth

The FP7 calls are important in that research and innovation are critical for stimulating growth and jobs in Europe. They enable the tackling of the biggest societal challenges facing Europe, the supporting of the best researchers and innovators in Europe and on exploiting research for innovation and growth.

Since its launch in 2007, FP7 has provided EUR 25.3 billion to support some 19,000 projects with a total of over 79,000 participants (universities, research organisations and businesses) from throughout the EU. By 2013, it is estimated that FP7 will have directly supported 55,000 individual researchers’ careers (European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant holders).

The WP 2013 call is expected to produce an additional EUR 6 billion of public and private investment in research, and increase employment by 210,000 in the short-term. Over the next 15 years, it is expected to generate an additional EUR 75 billion in growth.

The WP 2013 call takes an innovation and challenge-based approach in order to build a bridge to Horizon 2020, the successor funding programme for EU research which will run during the period 2014-2020. This manifests through the promotion of excellence wherever it is found, through the focus on strategic priorities, through boosting innovation, through helping firms move from idea to market, and with a special focus on SMEs.

Putting the focus on main challenges and SMEs

There is a new special focus on key challenges, providing around EUR 1.4 billion in total. These include the ‘Oceans of the future’ priority which will provide EUR 60 million to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors, EUR 363.5 million to be invested into technologies to transform urban areas into sustainable ‘Smart Cities and Communities’, and EUR 248 million earmarked for research to provide ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’.

Industrial innovation is supported through closer-to-market activities such as piloting, demonstration, standardisation and technology transfer. Notably, SMEs will benefit from a package of just over EUR 1.2 billion, including ring-fenced projects for SMEs of around EUR 973 million of the EUR 4.8 billion call budget for the Cooperation programme. Other measures include an extra EUR 150 million to provide loan guarantees under the Risk Sharing Instrument, which should generate about EUR 1 billion in loans for SMEs and small mid-cap enterprises.

To help spread excellent research more widely, a new ‘ERA chairs’ initiative is being launched. ERA (European Research Area) chairs are academic positions for outstanding candidates to build top-quality research teams at universities or other eligible research institutions in less developed regions in five different countries. To host an ERA Chair, these institutions must demonstrate their ability to support excellence through providing the necessary facilities and complying with ERA principles such as open recruitment. EUR 12 million will be available to support the five ERA Chairs.