“Building the European Research Area of knowledge for growth”.
This central theme is inspired directly by the stated desire to make
the ‘Lisbon Strategy’ a success and to set out the “growth triangle”
formed by research, education and innovation policy. The Commission’s
proposal to establish the Seventh Framework Programme has been before
the Council and European Parliament for examination since the beginning
of April 2005.
To trigger growth and competitiveness,
characterised by a strengthened Europe of knowledge and commitment to
the excellence needed to achieve this: that is the primary inspiration
behind the new Framework Programme. It is built on five core priorities:
to resolutely support research able to create industrial applications
and establish Europe as a key player in a global and sustainable
- to give a new Europe-wide impetus to “pioneering”
scientific research as a source of future innovation (priority
expressed by the creation of the European Research Council – ERC);
- to help the research world recruit human resources
attaining a higher standard and to equip it with the most effective
common tools and infrastructure possible;
- to strengthen coordination between research efforts at national and regional level;
- to simplify and render more efficient the operating
methods of the Framework Programme and the procedures for participating
These ambitions will be realised by means of a Framework Programme consisting of four major sub-programmes:
will cover all support for research or coordination projects under the
nine scientific and technological priorities. The programme includes
Euratom research (nuclear fission and protection and the ITER
international programme on nuclear fusion).
This programme is dedicated to the new dimension of “pioneering research” (support for the ERC).
strength to strength with each successive programme, this component
concerns the continuation of and building on present or future Marie
Curie mobility actions, as well as efforts to improve conditions for
carrying out research occupations.
- support for research infrastructures;
- specific actions in favour of SMEs;
- efforts by the regions and for convergence in the quest for excellence throughout the Union;
- support for highlighting the role of “science in society” and its perception by the general public;
- the development of scientific co-operation and
international technologies (a theme that will also be incorporated in
all the aforementioned research actions).
The changes brought to the Seventh Framework Programme are very much in
keeping with the spirit of its predecessor in terms of priority
research subjects. There is also a desire for continuity in the forms
of support, the so-called “instruments”. At the call for proposals
stage, however, the choice will be rendered less predetermined and thus
Nevertheless, a limited number of new forms of action have been introduced:
support for “joint technological initiatives” that can be put into
place on the basis of various strategic avenues of innovation
identified by the “Technology platforms” in various industrial or
- EU support for “variable geometry” projects involving a limited number of Member States, as provided for in the Treaties;
- the promotion of a new private financial dynamism for the
development of research with a high innovation potential, through the
Risk-Sharing Finance Facility device, developed with the European
Investment Bank (EIB).
As for the rest, there will be
strengthened synergy between the Framework Programme and the other
policies pertinent to the Lisbon Strategy, ranging from the Structural
and Cohesion Funds to education, and including European enterprise and
innovation policy and trans-European networks.
(Credits Magazine on Europa Research)