Research & Innovation: Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013) - Building the Europe of Knowledge30 November 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 08 December 2009
At the heart of the Lisbon Strategy, research is a component of a knowledge triangle (the other two being education and innovation) meant to boost growth and employment in the European Union (EU) in the context of a global economy. The 7th Framework Programme for Research, covering the period 2007 to 2013, is an opportunity for the EU to match its research policy to its ambitions in terms of economic and social policy by consolidating the European Research Area (ERA).
In order to achieve this objective, the Commission hopes to increase the EU's annual spending on research, thereby generating more national and private investment in this field. When it is implemented, the 7th Framework Programme will also have to respond to the research and knowledge needs of industry and more generally of EU policies. The Framework Programme is organised around four main programmes and has been greatly simplified so as to be more effective and more accessible to researchers.ACTS
Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-13).
Council Decision 969/2006/EC of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) or nuclear research and training activities (2007-11).
The 7th Framework Programme is adapted to the EU's needs in terms of growth and employment. After wide-ranging public consultation, four main objectives have been identified, which correspond to the four main specific programmes around which the European research effort is to be structured.
Four main specific programmes
The Cooperation Programme aims to stimulate cooperation and improve links between industry and research within a transnational framework. The aim is for Europe to gain and consolidate leadership in key research areas. The programme will have nine themes, which are to be managed autonomously but will be complementary in terms of implementation:
- food, agriculture and biotechnology;
- information and communication technologies;
- nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies;
- environment (including climate change);
- transport (including aeronautics);
- socio-economic sciences and the humanities;
- security and space.
The Ideas Programme is intended to enhance exploratory research in Europe, i.e. aimed at discovering new knowledge that fundamentally changes our vision of the world and our way of life. In order to achieve this, the new European Research Council will support the most ambitious and innovative research projects. Within this new structure, at the forefront of European research, there will be an autonomous Scientific Council, which will identify priorities and scientific strategies. The aim is to enhance European research excellence by promoting competition and risk-taking.
The People Programme will harness significant financial resources that can be used to improve the career prospects of researchers in Europe and attract more high-quality young researchers. The Commission hopes to encourage training and mobility so that European researchers can realise their full potential. The programme will reinforce the existing "Marie Curie" actions, which for several years have been offering mobility and training opportunities to European researchers.
The Capacities Programme is intended to give researchers powerful tools that will enable them to enhance the quality and competitiveness of European research. This means more investment in research infrastructure in the less successful regions, in the creation of regional research-driven clusters and in research for the benefit of SMEs. This programme also has to reflect the importance of international cooperation in research and the role of science in society.
Furthermore, the 7th Framework Programme will finance the direct actions of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the actions covered by the Euratom Framework Programme in the fields of:
- research into fusion energy;
- nuclear fission and radiation protection.
Change in the duration of the programme
The 7th Framework Programme takes over many features from previous programmes that have had a positive effect on European research. This is the case with the projects run by European partner groups, which will continue to have a central role in the Framework Programme. Similarly, the Commission places the Framework Programme within the context of the European Research Area, which brings together all of the EU's activities in this field. The extension of the programme from four to seven years is indicative of the EU's sustained commitment to stimulating European research.
While preserving the best aspects of the previous programmes, the 7th Framework Programme introduces new measures designed to improve the coherence and effectiveness of the EU's research policy. The main innovations introduced in this framework programme are:
- simplification of the procedures for participation in the programme;
- implementation of the programme and its budget by theme instead of by instrument, so that it may function more coherently and effectively;
- creation of the European Research Council under the Ideas Programme to support exploratory research;
- improved cooperation with industry via the Joint Technology Initiatives, which will combine private investment and public funding;
- the support of a European research infrastructures policy;
- creation of a Risk Sharing Finance Facility to make it easier for participants to access European Investment Bank loans.
As was the case during the Sixth Framework Programme, several research areas will not receive Community financing:
- reproductive human cloning
- research aiming to alter human genetic stock such that modifications become heritable;
- research aiming to create human embryos solely for research purposes or for stem cell procurement.
A simplified Framework Programme
Since 1984, various framework programmes have increased the number of administrative and financial procedures which govern the EU's research effort. The Commission hopes to continue the process of simplification launched under the previous framework programme, thereby making the financing and management of research projects more effective.
Specific measures designed to simplify the framework programme's implementation include:
- streamlining of funding schemes and a more limited choice of instruments for more coherent funding;
- use of simpler and less bureaucratic language in order to be more comprehensible to the general public;
- reduction in the number and size of official documents;
- simplification of the procedures participants have to go through;
- reduction in the number of preliminary checks prior to the adoption of a project;
- greater autonomy for partner groups;
- simplification of the selection procedure for projects.
A budget that is large but necessary
The Commission is proposing a budget of EUR 50 521 million for the period of 2007-13, i.e. an average of EUR 7 217 per annum. This total is in fact one and a half times that of the annual budget of the 6th Framework Programme, set at EUR 4 375 per annum, i.e. a total of EUR 17 500 million over four years). The budget will be broken down as follows:
- Cooperation: EUR 32 413 million.
- Ideas: EUR 7 513 million.
- People: EUR 4 750 million.
- Capacities: EUR 4 097 million.
- Non-nuclear actions taken by the JRC: EUR 1 751 million.
- Euratom: EUR 2 700 million (2007-11).
This increase reflects the importance of research in relaunching the Lisbon Strategy, which aims to make Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world. Recently, Europe has missed big opportunities in certain key areas due to a lack of available funds. This Framework Programme will make it possible to finance more quality projects and enhance the EU's innovation capacity.
Knowledge and technology are Europe's main advantages and represent the foundation for growth and employment. The Framework Programme is intended to have a leverage effect on national research spending, in order to achieve the objective of spending 3% of GDP on research in Europe. The Commission intends to play a central role in driving and coordinating European research, so that knowledge is placed at the service of growth and employment in Europe.
Since 1984, the EU has run its research and technological development policy on the basis of multiannual framework programmes. The 7th Framework Programme is the second since the launching of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000 and should play a fundamental role in growth and employment in Europe in years to come. The Commission wants to develop the knowledge triangle formed by research, education and innovation policies, in order to place knowledge at the service of a dynamic economy and social and environmental progress.
Decision No 1982/2006/EC - 1.1.2007 - 31.12.2013 - OJ L 412 of 30.12.2006
Decision No 969/2006/EC - 1.1.2007 - 31.12.2011 - OJ L 391 of 30.12.2006
Proposal for a Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1908/2006 of 7 February 2006 laying down the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community and for the dissemination of research results (2007 to 2011) [COM(2006) 42 - Not published in the Official Journal].
This proposal outlines the rules of participation for businesses, research centres and universities in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2007-11). The document is divided into four parts: introductory provisions (scope, definitions and confidentiality), participation (minimum conditions to participate, procedural aspects, etc.), the rules for dissemination and use and access rights (ownership, protection, publication, dissemination and use of new and existing knowledge and access to them) and the specific rules for participation in activities under the thematic area "fusion energy research".
Regulation (EC) No 1906/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 laying down the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under the Seventh Framework Programme and for the dissemination of research results (2007-13) [Published in Official Journal L 391 of 30.12.2006].
Concentrating on the rules of participation for businesses, research centres and universities in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community (2007-13), this Regulation consists of four chapters: the introductory provisions, participation in indirect actions, the European Investment Bank and the rules for dissemination and use.
Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 6 April 2005, "Building the ERA of knowledge for growth" [COM(2005) 118 - Not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication accompanies the proposals for the 7th Framework Programme, providing an overview of the EU's research policy in the run-up to the new cycle. It defines the objectives of the Framework Programme, and justifies the content of the proposals in terms of structure, budget or procedures.
Decision No 1513/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002 concerning the sixth framework programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities, contributing to the creation of the European Research Area and to innovation (2002 to 2006) [Official Journal L 232 of 29 August 2002].
Decision No 182/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 December 1998 concerning the fifth framework programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (1998 to 2002) [Official Journal L 26 of 1 February 1999].