10 July 2012
The European Commission announced the final and biggest ever set of calls for proposals for research under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). In total, €8.1 billion will support projects in such areas as human health, protecting the environment and finding new solutions to growing challenges linked to urbanization and managing waste. The funding—which is open to organizations and businesses in all EU Member States and partner countries—makes up the lion's share of the EU’s proposed €10.8 billion research budget for 2013.
European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “Knowledge is the currency of the global economy. If Europe wants to continue to compete in the 21st century, we must support the research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs, now and in the future. The high level of competition for EU funding makes sure that taxpayers' money goes to the best projects that tackle issues that concern all of us.”
The calls target both innovation and a range of societal challenges, building a bridge to Horizon 2020, the next funding program for EU research from 2014-2020. In total €4.8 billion is dedicated to thematic research priorities. Industrial innovation will be supported through close-to-market activities such as piloting, demonstration, standardization and technology transfer. Special attention will be given to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in a package worth up to €1.2 billion. Around €2.7 billion will help cement Europe's place as a world class destination for researchers, mainly through individual grants from the European Research Council (€1.75 billion), and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (€963 million) for research training and mobility.
To help spread excellent research more widely, a new “European Research Area Chairs” initiative is being prepared. A €12 million pilot call will select a total of five ERA Chairs, to be hosted by universities or other eligible research institutions in less developed regions in five different EU countries. To host an ERA Chair, institutions must demonstrate their ability to support excellence through providing the necessary facilities and complying with European Research Area principles such as open recruitment.
Thematic research priorities in this FP7 call include: around €155 million for “Oceans of the future”, to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors; around €365 million for technologies that will transform urban areas into sustainable “Smart Cities and Communities”; some €147 million to combat the rise of drug-resistant bacteria; and nearly €100 million dedicated to innovative solutions for managing fresh water resources.
Most of the calls for proposals will be published today, with some further specific calls to follow in the fall.
The €8.1 billion in funding is expected to leverage an additional €6 billion of public and private investment in research.
The FP7 framework programme, launched in 2007, has a total budget of €55 billion for research and innovation. It has so far supported some 19,000 projects involving over 79,000 participants (universities, research organizations and businesses) across all EU Member States, with a total EU investment so far of €25.3 billion.
Source: European Commission