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The Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7) is the European Union's chief instrument for funding research over the period 2007 to 2013. It brings together all research-related EU initiatives under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment. CORDIS is the official portal for participating in FP7 and following related developments in European science and technology. As was the case for FP6, its main objective is to further the construction of the European Research Area. Its specific goals are fourfold:

  • To gain leadership in key scientific and technology areas
  • To stimulate the creativity and excellence of European research
  • To develop and strengthen the human potential of European research
  • To enhance research and innovation capacity throughout Europe

The total budget for FP7, including the non-nuclear research of the Joint Research Centre, is 51 Billion euros over 7 years. The overall budget is fixed, and the split of it along thematic priorities and the content of those priorities was decided in November 2006.

Contents

Vocabulary

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Trying to understand how the Framework Programme works requires a bit of vocabulary understanding. Here are some useful definitions (the indent reflects the increasing level of granularity):

  • Framework Programme: this is the umbrella of the Programme. The acronym is "FP", usually followed by the edition: "FP7" in this case.
  • Specific Programme: This is the first layer of breakdown of FP7. There are 7 Specific Programmes under FP7: Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities, Euratom and two Specific Programmes for the Joint Research Centre (see below). Specific Programmes are sometimes referred as Activities.
  • Non-nuclear vs. nuclear research The nuclear activities under FP7 are somewhat different from the non-nuclear. Like all EU nuclear issues, FP7 nuclear research is guided by the EURATOM-treaty (instead of the Treaty on European Union). FP7 nuclear research receives € 2.7 billion spread over 4 years (2007-2011)[1].
  • Theme: This is the second layer of breakdown for the Cooperation Specific Programme of FP7. There are 10 Thematic Priorities in the Cooperation Specific Programme of FP7 (see below)
  • Challenges: This is the third layer of breakdown for the ICT Theme.
  • Work Programme: For every Thematic Area, the European Commission publishes an annual work programme. This document provides in detail the research topics that will be subject to the call for proposals, as well as providing an indicative budget and a timetable for calls for proposals.
  • Call for Proposals: The publication of a call for proposals on the CORDIS website is the official trigger for the preparation of applications, by the research community, to the research topics included in the work programme. Calls cutting across more than one Theme, with a single budget, are termed 'joint calls', calls cutting across more than one Theme with separate budgets for each Theme, are termed 'coordinated calls'. Calls may also be coordinated with calls from other research organisations in countries outside the EU.
  • 'Topics': this is the term used to describe a research question which needs to be addressed by the submission of proposals from consortia.

Timeline

FP7 was only launched at the end of 2006 with the first Calls for Proposals published 22 December 2006 on [1]. Annual work programmes are now issued in each summer, including calls which will be funded from the following years' budget, for example, the 2010 work programmes were adopted by the Commission on 29-30 July 2009 and the first calls for proposals from these work programmes were published on 30 June 2009. A detailed and updated list of FP7 past and upcoming milestone is linked below.

FP7 Specific Programmes

Four Specific Programmes were created to address the corresponding objectives. In addition, 3.5% of the budget are dedicated to the non-nuclear activities of the Joint Research Centre.

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Cooperation (64% of the non-nuclear budget)

Any transnational research activities can be funded within this programme. The following ten thematic priorities have been defined (part of Cooperation budget):

  1. Health - 19%
  2. Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology - 6%
  3. Information and Communication Technologies - 28%
  4. Joint Technology Initiative, Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new production technologies - 11%
    1. Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative (FCH JTI)
    2. Aeronautics and Air Transport (Clean Sky) [2]
    3. Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
    4. Nanoelectronics Technology 2020 (ENIAC)
    5. Embedded Computing Systems (ARTEMIS)
  5. Energy - 7%
    The IEA noted that FP7 was drafted before energy emerged as a critical issue on the EU's agenda. This, and also that Nuclear Fusion consumes more than half of the Communities' energy research funding, although it won't address any energy issues before 2050, triggered the IEA to advise the EC to consider a recasting of FP7 before it expires to ensure a sufficient volume of energy R&D[2].
  6. Environment (including climate change) - 6%
  7. Transport (including Aeronautics) - 13%
  8. Socio-economic sciences and Humanities - 2%
  9. Security
  10. Space

This programme also includes cooperation between the EU and third countries.

Ideas (15% of the non-nuclear budget)

Ideas will, similarly to Cooperation, finance directly scientific research. However, it will differ on the following aspects:

  • It will not be linked to the thematic priorities of FP7 and will include engineering, social sciences and the humanities.
  • It will not be managed by the European Commission, but by an autonomous entity: the European Research Council.
  • It will focus on research at the "frontier of knowledge", where risks are higher. The expected fields of research are therefore expected to be more fundamental.

People (9% of the non-nuclear budget)

This Specific Programme is focussed on supporting the training, the mobility and the career development of European researchers, mainly through the expansion of Marie Curie actions.

Capacities (9% of the non-nuclear budget)

The Capacities specific programme is targeted at enhancing research infrastructures and improving its usage, promoting "Regions of Knowledge", supporting regional research-driven clusters, and stimulating the research potential in the EU's "convergence" regions.

Additionally, this part of FP7 will contain some budget dedicated to policy development, e.g. coordination of research policies.

Funding Schemes

These were known as Financial Instruments in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). Funding schemes describe the nature of funding open to participants in FP7. Not all funding schemes will apply to all programme areas. The applicable funding schemes will be published in the Work Programmes and the Calls for Proposals. Partly as a result of simplification measures to be implemented in FP7, funding schemes have been rationalised, although there is some element of continuity from FP6. The funding schemes are:

Collaborative Research Projects

These fund projects on the basis of innovative research outputs described in the form of project deliverables. In FP7 there will be small and large Collaborative Research Projects. The equivalent FP6 Financial Instruments were Integrated Projects (IP) and Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREP).

Networks of Excellence

As with FP6, the main aim of a Network of Excellence is to integrate research at a European level. Thus, participants are paid on the basis of degree of integration achieved and the number of researchers actively participating in the network rather than research outputs.

Coordination and Support Actions

Support Actions (SA) fund studies or other measures in support of the relevant Work Programme. Coordination Actions (CA) fund networking research that previously was primarily carried out at national level. SA and CA were separate actions in FP6.

Marie Curie Actions

The People Specific Programme refers to the Marie Curie actions ('Mobility' in FP6). These fund research training and mobility of researchers. The main actions are individual fellowships for post-graduate researchers (three categories: Intra-European Fellowships, Incoming International Fellowships and Outgoing International Fellowships) and Marie Curie Networks, where institutions cooperate to provide joint training programmes for researchers. There is also an action to support cooperation between industry and academia, and reintegration grants aimed at previous Marie Curie fellows.

List of sponsored projects

  • GIGAS — Three multinational initiatives with a focus on environmental policy support, use of geomatic and geographic information, reliance on international standards and the spatial data infrastructure needed for their implementation.
  • HERMIONE — An ocean hotspot resarch project to determine the impact of climate change on deep sea ecosystems.
  • PARSIFALProtection and Trust in Financial Infrastructures, research area Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • ISSOWAMA — "Integrated Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Asia" aims to raise awareness of the Integrated and Sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) approach in India, China and Southeast Asia[3]

Information and communication technology

  • EuroNF - a NoE on the theory and design of the Network of the Future
  • INSEMTIVES — a project to bridge the gap between human and computational intelligence for the semantic content authoring.
  • LivingKnowledge — a project to improve navigation and search in very large multimodal datasets, by considering diversity an asset and by making it traceable, understandable and exploitable.
  • MULTICUBE (or MULTI³) — a project for multi-objective design space exploration of multi-processor-system-on-chip architectures for embedded multi-media applications.
  • Romulus — a project to research new methods for increasing productivity and reliability of web software development with a particular focus on Java web development.
  • Papyrus - a project to create a cross-discipline digital library engine that allows for drawing content from one domain and making it available and understandable to the users of another.
  • PHOSFOS (Photonic Skins For Optical Sensing)[4] - aims at developing a flexible and stretchable foil that integrates optical sensing elements. This skin can be wrapped around, embedded in, attached and anchored to irregularly shaped and/or moving objects or bodies and will allow quasi-distributed sensing of mechanical quantities such as deformation, pressure, stress or strain.
  • PICOS - a project about privacy and identity management for community services.
  • RESERVOIR - a project aiming at increasing the competitiveness of the EU economy by introducing a powerful ICT infrastructure for the reliable and effective delivery of services as utilities.

National contact points for advice on FP7

Each member state funds a National Contact Point, which is an organisation designed to help those submitting proposals or looking for European partners by providing guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in FP7 on a non commercial basis.

Expert assistance

In addition to the National Contact Points, various not-for-profit and commercial services provide assistance in the development of bids for FP7 funding; and for project support and management. The most well known of these are the Brussels based research liaison offices set up by Member States and Associated Countries. These are collectively known as the Informal Group of Liaison Offices (IGLO, iglortd.org). A wide selection of literature and handbooks are commercially available on a number of FP7 topics. Training courses on proposal writing and management are available in most major cities in Europe.

See also

References

  1. ^ CORDIS: FP7 : Budget
  2. ^ http://www.iea.org/textbase/publications/free_new_Desc.asp?PUBS_ID=2045
  3. ^ ISSOWAMA Homepage: http://www.issowama.net/
  4. ^ http://www.phosfos.eu/

External links


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