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Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

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The specific programme on 'Cooperation' supports all types of research activities carried out by different research bodies in trans-national cooperation and aims to gain or consolidate leadership in key scientific and technology areas.

FP7 allocates EUR 32 413 million to the Cooperation programme. The budget will be devoted to supporting cooperation between universities, industry, research centres and public authorities throughout the EU and beyond.

The Cooperation programme is sub-divided into ten distinct themes. Each theme is operationally autonomous but aims to maintain coherence within the Cooperation Programme and allowing for joint activities cutting across different themes, through, for example, joint calls.

The ten identified themes reflect the most important fields of knowledge and technology where research excellence is particularly important to improve Europe’s ability to address its social, economic, public health, environmental and industrial challenges of the future. Their continued relevance will be guaranteed by relying on a number of sources from the research sector, including the European Technology Platforms (ETP). Important themes identified in the Strategic Research Agendas (SRAs) developed by the ETPs are therefore covered by the Cooperation programme.

Across all these themes, support to trans-national cooperation will be implemented through.


Collaborative research: European Excellence

The bulk of EU research funding in FP7 will go to collaborative research, with the objective of establishing excellent research projects and networks able to attract researchers and investments from Europe and the entire world. This is to be achieved through a range of funding schemes: Collaborative projects, Networks of Excellence, Co-ordination/support actions, etc.

The Commission's 2004 stakeholder consultation on the future of European research showed very strong support for European funding for trans-national collaborative research, though a common concern was that there should be a lower number of partners in consortia and a greater focus on smaller projects than was the case under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
Dr Ramon Marimon also led a high-level expert panel to carry out a mid-term review of the new instruments introduced under FP6.


Amended proposal for a European Parliament and Council Decision concerning the 7th framework programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013).

Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the Specific Programme "Cooperation" implementing the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013) (COM(2005) 440)

Europa: Action for "centres of excellence" with a European dimension Commission's Communication: Towards a European Research Area [PDF]


Coordination between national research programmes

The Commission stakeholder consultation on the future of European research [PDF] revealed a strong support for more co-ordination of national research programmes from all categories of contributors. Framework Programme 7 will support two main tools to favour the restructuring of the European Research Area. Together they should reduce its fragmentation in several national and regional research programmes by favouring the development of joint calls, joint programmes and actions supported together by several Member States and the Commission.

The ERA-NET scheme aims at developing and strengthening the coordination of national and regional research programmes in two ways:

  • providing a framework for actors implementing public research programmes to improve coordination through new ERA-NETs or by broadening and deepening existing ERA-NETs; and
  • providing, in a limited number of cases, additional EU financial support to participants who create a common fund for the purpose of joint calls for proposals among national and regional programmes (‘ERA-NET PLUS’).

Actions under Article 185 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) [ex Article 169 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC)] aim at integrating parts of national and regional programmes for implementing jointly, together with the Commission, a real European research programme.

The actions supported here may cover subjects not directly linked to the ten themes in as far as they have a sufficient EU added value. They will also be used to enhance the complementarity and synergy between FP7 and activities carried out under intergovernmental structures such as EUREKA and COST detailed in the Coordination of Research Activities Service pages.


Joint Technology Initiatives

For a limited number of European Technology Platforms, the scale and scope of their strategic research agendas and the resources involved justify setting up long-term public-private partnerships in the form of Joint Technology Initiatives. These initiatives, will combine private sector investment and/or national and European public funding, including grant funding from the Research Framework Programme and loan finance from the European Investment Bank. Joint Technology Initiatives may be decided on the basis of Article 187 TFEU (ex Article 171 TEC) or on the basis of the Specific Programme Decisions in accordance with Article 166 of the Treaty.

While there is a strong element of continuity with previous programmes, the FP7 Cooperation programme introduces some new elements intended to facilitate European research cooperation:

  • Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) intended to facilitate ambitious pan-European public-private partnerships;
  • Strengthened coordination of national research programmes, assisted by a continuation of the ERA-NET scheme, which will be implemented within each research theme;
  • Complementarity and synergies of research programmes across Europe through ‘Article 185 initiatives‘ whereby the European Community participates in jointly implemented national research programmes;
  • International cooperation within each theme and across themes;
  • More flexible means to react to emerging needs and unforeseen policy needs;
  • Optimal participation of SME across all themes.


Technology Platforms

European Technology Platforms (ETPs) have been set up in a number of areas where Europe's competitiveness, economic growth and welfare depend on important research and technological progress in the medium to long term. They bring together stakeholders, under industrial leadership, to define and implement a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) The ETPs have contributed to the definition of the themes of the Cooperation programme, in particular in research areas of special industrial relevance. The implementation of the SRA will be supported by the Cooperation programme in areas where they constitute true European added value.

EURAB, the European Research Advisory Board has made a checklist of "guiding principles" for Technology Platforms - Report on European Technology Platforms [PDF]

An advanced preparatory report on the key features and objectives of the different Technology Platforms and their current state identified up to and beyond the launch of FP7 - Technology platform: from definition to implementation of a common research agenda [PDF]

Last updated on: 2011-06-23