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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).

Research and innovation – 30-11-2006
This programme, the EU‘s main instrument for funding scientific research, will have a budget of more than €54 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”.
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 possibility of funding research on children‘s health, respiratory diseases (including those induced by allergies), plus research 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 than the two thirds proposed in Parliament‘s first reading. Special attention will be devoted to coordination of issues linked to rational and efficient use of energy within the Framework Programme and in other EU 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”. 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 €1 billion from 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 – €500 million – with the possibility of releasing up to an additional €500 million after an evaluation process.
The Parliament 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 €54 582 million in current prices. Of this, €50 521 million is for the European Community programme and €2751 million for the Euratom programme, which runs from 2007 to 2011. A further €1310 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)
Parliament – compromise with Council (13.11.2006)
Council Common Position (September 2006)
- Health
- Food,
Agriculture and Fisheries,
- Information and Communication
- Nanociences, Nanotechnologies
and new Production Technologies
- Energy
- Transport (including Aeronautics)
- Socio-economic
Sciences and the Humanities
- Security
- Space
- Research Infrastructures
- Research for the
benefit of SME
- Regions of Knowledge
- Research Potential
- Science in society
- Coherent development
of research policies
- Activities of International Cooperation
Non-nuclear activities
of the Joint Research Centre
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.
Constanze CKERHOFF
Press Service – Press Officer
Telephone: (32-2) 28 44302 (BXL)
Mobile: (32) 0498.983.550
Press Service – Press Officer
Telephone: (32-2) 28 41448 (BXL)/ (33-3) 881 73785 (STR) /+32(0) 498 98 32 39
REF.: 20061129IPR00712