Green light for FP7 framework research programme for 200

Green light for seventh framework research programme for 2007-2013

The European Parliament gave the go-ahead for the EU’s research and development funding for the period 2007-2013, when MEPs adopted 10 reports relating to the 7th Framework Research Programme (FP7). This programme, the EU’s main instrument for funding scientific research, will have a budget of more than ?Ñ54 billion over its seven-year life.

As Parliament and Council have settled their main differences through a compromise package, FP7 is to enter into force on 1 January 2007.

What is FP7?

The seventh programme is intended to build on the achievements of its predecessor by making further progress towards the creation of a European Research Area, the equivalent of a “common market” for research.* *The long-term goal is for the European Union to become the world??s leading research area.

Successive framework programmes (FPs) have operated since 1984, each covering a five year period. The current programme – FP6 – expires at the end of 2006. However, FP7 will run for seven years – from 1 January 2007 to 2013 – so as to coincide with the EU’s multiannual budget framework (the Financial Perspective).

Simpler instruments and procedures for funding and participation are a feature of FP7, which will promote collaborative research based on broad research areas, with much continuity from FP6 plus two new topics, space and security. Only projects involving several partners from different countries will be financed. The programme’s funds are not general subsidies to research organisations or companies: they may only be used for specific work or research projects.

The 7th Framework Programme is organised around four Specific Programmes:

  • Co-operation: a programme to support cooperation between universities, industry, research centres and public authorities, and between the EU and third countries.
  • Ideas: a programme to create an autonomous European Research Council to support* *investigator-driven ?¨frontier research?Æ.
  • People: a programme to support training and career development of researchers.
  • Capacities: a programme focusing on the coordination and development of research infrastructure, support for regional research clusters, SMEs, closer ties between science and society and international cooperation.

In addition, Specific Programmes will be set up for the Joint Research Centre (non-nuclear activities) and Euratom nuclear research and training activities.

Separately, the Euratom Framework Programme (which also has a Specific Programme) covers two areas: fusion energy research and nuclear fission and radiation protection.

Parliament’s role

The European Parliament has joint legislative power with the Council (under the codecision procedure) on the main programme (FP7) and the rules for participation. It is only consulted on the Euratom programme and the various specific programmes.

Parliament strongly backed this legislation from the outset and made every effort to speed it through the legislative process. On 15 June, the EP adopted its first reading position on the main FP7 programme and its report on the Euratom part.

Many of Parliament’s first-reading amendments were accepted by Council, including those aimed at encouraging participation by small and medium-sized firms and boosting the position of young researchers and women in science, and those dealing with stem cell research. The 39 new compromise amendments on which Parliament will vote on 30 November deal with the remaining issues which MEPs still wish to emphasise, including Parliament’s priorities, the European Research Council and the proposed Risk Sharing Facility. Members also stress that no money from FP7 should be used to finance the proposed European Institute of Technology.

Parliament’s priorities

MEPs are insisting on shifting some of the spending towards Parliament’s own priorities, including research on renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as the possibilityof funding research on children’s health, respiratory diseases (including those induced by allergies), plusresearch into neglected diseases.

The compromise states that renewables and end use energy efficiency will account for the “major part” of the budget of FP7’s energy theme – rather thanthe two thirds proposed in Parliament’sfirst reading. Special attention will be devoted to coordination ofissues linked to rational and efficient use of energy within the Framework Programme andin otherEU policies and programmes.

European Research Council

The compromise also includes amendments concerning the European Research Council – a new body to support investigator-driven ?¨frontier research?Æ. It was agreed that the administration costs of the ERC should not exceed 5% of its total budget in order to maximise funding for frontier research – in its first reading Parliament had asked for a limit of 3%, to avoid top-heavy administration. On the question of how far Parliament should be involved in an interim evaluation of the ERC’s structure, it was agreed that the co-decision procedure would be used if changes in the structure of the ERC become necessary.

Ethical questions

Ethical issues were of great concern to all involved in the adoption of the programme, with opinions differing sharply. At its first reading Parliament adopted a compromise which the Council was able to accept (with opposition from a couple of Member States

Parliament and Council agreed that_ _all the research activities carried out under the Seventh Framework Programme must be carried out in compliance with fundamental ethical principles. Thus, no Community funding will be allowed for research aimed at human cloning for reproductive purposes or research intended to modify the genetic heritage of human beings. Nor will funds be available for research intended to create human embryos solely for the purposes of research or stem cell procurement, including by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Research on the use of human stem cells, both adult and embryonic, may be financed, depending both on the nature of the scientific proposal and the legal framework of the Member State(s) involved.* *As regards the use of human embryonic stem cells, institutions, organisations and researchers must be strictly licensed and controlled in accordance with the legal framework of the Member State(s) involved.

Risk Sharing Facility and European Institute of Technology

The Risk Sharing Finance Facility, designed to encourage bank lending to research projects, is also part of the second-reading compromise. The Council had planned to allocate ?Ñ1 billionfrom FP7 to finance the RSFF (to be matched by an equal amount from the European Investment Bank) but now the compromise provides for a lower contribution from FP7 until 2010 – ?Ñ500 million – with the possibility of releasing up to an additional ?Ñ500 million after an evaluation process.

TheParliament has meanwhile stressed that no FP7 funds should contribute to the establishment or administrative costs of the European Institute of Technology. Only administrative costs directly associated with research projects may be covered.


The overall budget planned for the 7th Framework Programme in the 2007-2013 Financial Perspective is ?Ñ54 582 million in current prices. Of this, ?Ñ50 521 million is for the European Community programme and ?Ñ2751 million for the Euratom programme, which runs from 2007 to 2011. A further ?Ñ1310 million is indicatively planned for the Euratom programme for 2012-2013 but this will need to be confirmed at a later stage. (all figures in EUR million)

  Parliamentcompromise with Council (13.11.2006) Council Common Position (September 2006)
Cooperation 32413 32365
Health 6100 6050
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology 1935 1935
Information and Communication Technology 9050 9119
Nanociences, Nanotechnologies and new Production Technologies 3475 3500
Energy 2350 2300
Environment (including Climate Change) 1890 1900
Transport (including Aeronautics) 4160 4180
Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities 623 610
Security 1400 1350
Space 1430 1430
Ideas 7510 7460
People 4750 4728
Capacities 4097 4217
– Research Infrastructures 1715 1850
– Research for the benefit of SMEs 1336 1336
– Regions of Knowledge 126 126
– Research Potential 340 370
– Science in society 330 280
– Coherent development of research policies 70 70
– Activities of International Cooperation 180 185
Non-nuclear activities of the Joint Research Centre 1751 1751
TOTAL 50521 50521

Rules for participation

Parliament also adopted a codecision report (first reading) by Philippe Busquin (PES, BE) on the implementing rules for participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in activity under the Seventh Framework Programme. Here too a first-reading compromise has been reached between rapporteur, shadow rapporteurs and the Council, the main aim of which is to simplify the rules.

(Source Europarl.Europa)

Author: EARSC

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