More funding than ever before
There will be an opportunity to bid for funding from the EU's Seventh Framework Programme across a wide range of policy areas. For example, health gets over €600 million. There is a €1.2 billion boost to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) research, which will help deliver the Commission's commitment in the Digital Agenda for Europe to maintain the pace of yearly increases in ICT funding.
More than €1.3 billion are reserved for the best creative scientists selected by the European Research Council. Mobility grants for 7, 000 highly qualified researchers will be provided through "Marie Curie Actions", worth €772 million.
€800 million for SMEs
Top priority is given to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), the backbone of the European innovation system, representing 99% of all European businesses. SMEs, will receive close to €800 million and for the first time, there will be ring-fenced budgets in several areas. For example, in health, knowledge-based bio-economy, environment and nanotechnologies SME participation must reach 35 % of the total budget for a number of topics.
New products and services
Translating research into new technologies, products and services is at the heart of the package.
In health research alone, around €206 million – one-third of the overall budget for 2011 – will be spent on investigator-driven clinical trials to get new medicines on the market quicker.
In nanotechnologies (€270 million), the focus will be on research that could lead to patenting and commercialisation opportunities.
Around €600 million of ICT funding is earmarked for next generation network and service infrastructures, robotic systems, electronic and photonic components, and digital content technologies. More than €400 million will support research into how ICTs can address challenges such as a lower-carbon economy, an ageing society, and adaptable and sustainable factories. €90 million is also earmarked in 2011 for the Future internet Public Private Partnership to make key European infrastructures "smart"
New pilot open access for environment research results
Environment research projects will get about €205 million. The Commission is introducing this year steps to speed up sharing of environmental research results: beneficiaries of EU grants will commit to making freely available – after a certain embargo period - publications arising from their research.