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European Framework Programme

European Union 7th Framework Programme (FP7)

FP7 is the EU’s instrument for funding research in Europe.  Since their launch in 1984, Framework Programmes have played a lead role in funding multi-disciplinary research and cooperative activities in Europe and beyond.  They are an important source of funding to the UK research base.

The Research Councils sponsor the UK Research Office (UKRO), which is a key source of guidance and information on all aspects of EU funding for research and higher education.

FP7 encompasses funding from 2007 to 2013 totalling €53.2Bn across 4 priorities:

Cooperation programme – the core of FP7, and most of the budget, funding collaborative, multinational projects and other activities across 10 themes.  These themes usually allocate funding through annual calls for proposals which stipulate the research topics to be funded in that particular call:

  • Health
  • Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies
  • Energy
  • Environment (including climate change)
  • Transport (including aeronautics)
  • Socio-economic sciences and the humanities
  • Space
  • Security

Ideas programme – for the first time a Framework Programme has funded pure, investigative research at the frontiers of science and technology, with no priority setting or themes.  Implemented by the newly-created European Research Council, grants will be funded through occasional calls for proposals.  Unlike the cooperation themes there is no obligation for cross-border partnerships.

People programme – research mobility and career development via Marie Curie actions, of which fellowships involve the majority of funding.

Capacities programme – a range of funding opportunities such as infrastructure, research for small and medium sized enterprises, science in society and international cooperation.

FP7 also covers EU budgets for nuclear research and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.