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SME participation in FP7 research projects

15 January 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 21 January 2010

A step-by-step guide on how SMEs can participate in FP7 research projects.


Getting involved in FP7

Step 1. Identify relevant calls for proposals – The first task is to identify on CORDIS a call that is relevant to your SME or to an idea you may have for a research project. Find out when a call for proposals will be published and will close.

Step 2. Obtain call-specific documentation and forms – The Commission publishes a separate information package which includes a comprehensive Guide for Proposers that offers practical advice for preparing and submitting proposals under each call.

Step 3. Establish consortium of researchers, developers and end-users – The proposer must recruit partners to form a consortium capable of undertaking all aspects of the intended project. Partners may be identified through established scientific and commercial networks or the Partner Search service on CORDIS.

Step 4. Prepare research proposal – Proposers should use the Commission’s Electronic Proposal Submission System (EPSS). This web-based application provides a secure on-line workspace for consortium members to prepare and submit their joint proposal. This application will be available under each call.

Step 5. Submit proposal to Commission by call deadline – Calls have strict deadlines which are clearly stated on the first page of the Guide for Proposers. Submissions received by the Commission after the deadline are ineligible. Assistance with completing the proposal is available from the relevant National Contact Point (NCP). A complete list of NCPs for FP7 can be found on CORDIS.

Step 6. Evaluation and ethical review – All EU-funded research projects are evaluated by a board of experts. They must also comply with a strict ethical code in order to ensure that the Commission is not supporting research which might violate fundamental ethical principles.

Step 7. Contract negotiations and Contract Agreement – The terms and conditions regulating European projects are contained in two documents, the Grant Agreement between the consortium and the European Commission and the Consortium Agreement signed only by the partners. The Consortium Agreement includes the arrangements made for intellectual property rights, valorisation and the dissemination of results.

Step 8. Contract Signature

Step 9. Launch project, begin work!

Source: European Commission