Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The FP7 FAQs have been designed and conducted in the context of the preparation of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The answers rely on the amended proposal of the Commission to the Council and Parliament in June 2006 [PDF] and other official documents published since then. More information will be added to this section as it becomes available.
What is FP7?
'Framework programmes' (FPs) have been the main financial tools through which the European Union supports research and development activities covering almost all scientific disciplines. FPs are proposed by the European Commission and adopted by Council and the European Parliament following a co-decision procedure (view the FP7 approval process).
FPs have been implemented since 1984 and cover a period of five years with the last year of one FP and the first year of the following FP overlapping. The current FP is FP6, which runs up to the end of 2006.
It has been proposed for FP7, however, to run for seven years. It will be fully operational as of 1 January 2007 and will expire in 2013. It is designed to build on the achievements of its predecessor towards the creation of the European Research Area, and carry it further towards the development of the knowledge economy and society in Europe.
What will be the overall budget for FP7?
In the Commission's amended proposals for FP7, it was proposed that the maximum overall amount for Community financial participation in the EC Seventh Framework Programme should be EUR 50 521 million for the period 2007 - 2013. For nuclear research and training activities carried out under the Euratom treaty EUR 2751 million are foreseen for 2007-2011.
Visit the budget section to compare the amounts and breakdown proposed in the Commission's proposal of 2005, amended proposal in June 2006 and political agreement of the Council in July 2006.
How does the Framework Programme work?
In a series of interviews with some of the people working within FP6 and responsible for the development of FP7, CORDIS News examined how ideas for research are generated in the first place, how the framework programmes are adopted, how calls are timetabled, how proposals are assessed and how the European Commission decides who receives funding. Read more at:
Investigating Research - how the Framework Programme works
Investigating Research - how the Framework Programme works
Who decides which areas will be financed under FP7, and on what basis?
In the preparation of the present proposals, the Commission took into account the views expressed during a very broad consultation with other EU institutions, in particular the European Parliament, and the EU Member States, as well as by the scientific community, industry and all stakeholders in European research. The results of the stakeholder consultation can be seen in the "Statistical overview of results and report on the results of the consultation". This service includes a section that follows the policy debate towards FP7.
The proposals also rely on an in-depth Impact Assesment. This impact assessment was based upon inputs from stakeholders, internal and external evaluation and other studies, and contributions from recognised European evaluation and impact assessment experts.
How will FP7 be structured?
The European Community part of FP7 is organised in four programmes corresponding to four basic components of European research:
Support will be given to the whole range of research activities carried out in trans-national cooperation, from collaborative projects and networks to the coordination of national research programmes. International cooperation between the EU and third countries is an integral part of this action.
This action is industry-driven and organised in four sub-programmes:
- Collaborative research will constitute the bulk and the core of EU research funding
- Joint Technology Initiatives will mainly be created on the basis of the work undertaken by the European Technology Platforms
- Coordination of non-Community research programmes
- International Cooperation
This programme will enhance the dynamism, creativity and excellence of European research at the frontier of knowledge in all scientific and technological fields, including engineering, socio-economic sciences and the humanities. This action will be overseen by a European Research Council
Quantitative and qualitative strengthening of human resources in research and technology in Europe by putting into place a coherent set of Marie Curie actions.
The objective of this action is to support research infrastructures, research for the benefit of SMEs and the research potential of European regions (Regions of Knowledge) as well as to stimulate the realisation of the full research potential (Convergence Regions) of the enlarged Union and build an effective and democratic European Knowledge society.
Each of these programmes will be the subject of a 'Specific programme. In addition, there will be a 'Specific programme' for the Joint Research Centre (non-nuclear activities) and one for Euratom nuclear research and training activities.
Which themes have been identified for FP7?
FP7 presents strong elements of continuity with its predecessor, mainly as regards the themes which are covered in the Cooperation programme. The themes identified for this programme correspond to major fields in the progress of knowledge and technology, where research must be supported and strengthened to address European social, economic, environmental and industrial challenges.
The overarching aim is to contribute to sustainable development.
The ten high level themes proposed for EU action are the following:
In addition, two themes are covered by the Euratom Framework Programme:
- Fusion energy research
- Nuclear fission and radiation protection
In the case of particular subjects of industrial relevance, the topics have been identified relying, among other sources, on the work of different "European Technology Platforms".
What are the differences between FP7 and its predecessors?
While building on the achievements of its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme will not be "just another Framework Programme". In its content, organisation, implementation modes and management tools, it is designed as a key contribution to the re-launched Lisbon strategy.
The new elements in FP7 include the following:
- Emphasis on research themes rather than on "instruments"
- Significant simplification of its operation
- Focus on developing research that meets the needs of European industry, through the work of Technology Platforms and the new Joint Technology Initiatives
- Establishment of a European Research Council, funding the best of European science
- Integration of International cooperation in all four programmes
- Development of Regions of Knowledge
- A Risk-Sharing Finance Facility aimed at fostering private investment in research
What are the next steps?
FP7 was presented in April 2005 and is in the final stage of the political procedure (co-decision) to be approved. Obstacles in the way of FP7 were swept aside on the 24 July when the Council reached a political agreement on FP7 [PDF]. The decision cleared the way for the second European Parliament reading to adopt the FP7 proposals in November, on schedule for the timely launch of the programme on 1 January 2007. The final adoption of FP7 by the European Council of Ministers, and of the work programmes by the Commission, is scheduled for mid-December, with the first calls published on 22 December 2006.
How and when can I register as an independent expert for FP7?
The European Commission will contact FP6 registered experts and transfer their data to the FP7 database of experts.
The registration service for FP7 is available on CORDIS.
Further information on the appointment of independent experts can be found in the CORDIS FP7 participation section (see 'WHO - Appointment of independent experts').
What are calls for proposals? When are the first calls going to be published?
The calls for proposals under FP7 will be set out in annual work programmes which will provide details about topics, timing and implementation.
The proposal process is triggered by the call. Calls are published official invitations for researchers to submit project proposals for a specific area of the Framework Programme by a specific date, usually about three months after the call. Calls specify very clearly what is required. Proposals that do not meet the specifications in the call will be disqualified.
Calls are announced in the Official Journal of the European Union, with the call and any documents relating to it published on CORDIS. If you want to be automatically notified of calls you can set up a CORDIS 'Rapidus' e-mail alert profile on CORDIS. Sometimes this will also give advance notice of calls that are imminent.
Once there is agreement on FP7 between the EU institutions and the work programmes have been adopted by the Commission, the Framework Programme will begin and calls will be issued. For FP7, the European Commission has confirmed that the first calls will be published on 22 December 2006.
Will the 'Marie Curie' actions continue, and if so, how ?
Please note that the so called 'Marie Curie' scheme (exchanges, fellowships and conferences to aid researcher mobility) will be implemented under the FP7 People programme. This programme aims to support the training, mobility and career development of researchers.
In which languages is FP7 available?
Currently, the FP7 service on CORDIS is available in English, but the official documents are available in all EU official languages. Announcements of calls and other news related to FP7 are available on CORDIS in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Polish, and it is planned to extend the CORDIS service into other languages as FP7 moves into implementation.
What are work programmes?
The individual 'work programmes' are the detailed implementation plans for the specific programmes, research themes and other activities under FP7. They specify the concrete scientific-technical, economic and societal objectives of each activity, providing both a broad background and the detailed technical content.
They project a 'road map' of the planned calls for proposals. They also indicate for each call the instruments that will be available and the evaluation criteria that will be applied. Understanding the objectives of the work programme is essential for preparing a good proposal.
What are 'Third countries' and other non-EU entities that can participate in FP7?
'Third country' means a state that is not a Member State of the European Union - it also includes countries with international cooperation agreements [PDF];
'Associated country' means a third country which is party to an international agreement with the European Community, under which it makes a financial contribution to FP7;
'International organisation' means an intergovernmental organisation, other than the European Community, which has legal personality under international public law, as well as any specialised agency set up by such an international organisation;
'International European interest organisation' means an international organisation, the majority of whose members are EU Member States or associated countries, and whose principal objective is to promote scientific and technological cooperation in Europe;
'International cooperation partner country' means a third country which the European Commission classifies as a low-income, lower-middle-income or upper-middle income country and which is identified as such in the FP7 work programmes;
'International organisations and legal entities established in third countries' - Participation in indirect actions (such as collaborative research projects) is open to international organisations and legal entities established in third countries after the minimum conditions specified in FP7's specific programmes or work programmes.
I feel lost in the new structures and funding schemes of FP7! What do I do and where can I find help?
If you have looked through the FAQs and they don't answer your questions, please contact your local National Contact Point (NCP). NCPs are established to provide local guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in the framework programmes.