FP7 was the European Union’s Research and Innovation funding programme for 2007-2013. The current programme is Horizon 2020, but there are many projects funded under FP7 which are still running.
The broad objectives of FP7 have been grouped into four categories: Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities. For each type of objective, there is a specific programme corresponding to the main areas of EU research policy.
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.
The Cooperation programme is sub-divided into ten distinct themes. 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.
• Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology;
• Information & communication technologies;
• Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials & new production technologies;
• Environment (including Climate Change);
• Transport (including aeronautics);
• Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities;
Within Cooperation there are a number of different project forms called instruments:
• Large collaborative research projects: Large projects focussing on research and development;
• Small collaborative research projects: Small projects focussing on research and development;
• Networks of Excellence: Large projects focussing on increased cooperation in a scientific field;
• Specific Support and Coordination Actions: Service projects to bring different actors together on a specific topic, do benchmark studies, etc.
The Ideas programme proposes a trans-European mechanism to support creative scientific research designed to generate new knowledge that opens up new avenues for technological progress and new solutions for social and environmental problems.
By promoting “frontier research”, the Specific Programme will aim to put European research in a leading position, opening the way to creating new scientific and technological results and probably unexpected results. This “frontier research” , which will be at the heart of the Ideas programme, is a new approach to basic research that is, by virtue of its nature, risky and cuts across established disciplinary boundaries and national borders.
The programme proposes the setting up of aEuropean Research Council (ERC) ,composed of a Scientific Council and a dedicated organisation to implement EU frontier research activities. Research areas covered will be independent of the thematic orientations of other parts of the Framework Programme, and will include engineering, social sciences and the humanities.
The Commission’s proposal for the FP7 Specific Programme on ‘People’ aims to improve the quality of the human potential in European R&D and increase the number of researchers and others working in the R&TD sector. Highly trained researchers are needed to advance science and underpin innovation, and to attract and sustain public and private investment in research.
The FP7 programme’s activities will be based on the long and successful experience of the Marie Curie actions and will cover all stages of a researcher’s professional life, from initial research training to life long learning and career development.
The international dimension: FP7 aims to attract research talents from outside Europe, to foster mutually beneficial research collaboration with researchers from outside Europe and to improve the career development of European researchers by supporting international research cooperation. Marie-Curie International Fellowships will support exchanges and work-stays for non-European researchers.
Partnerships between European research institutions and their counterparts in countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy or who have a Science and Technology Agreement with the EU will also be actively encouraged and supported.
The Commission’s proposals for the FP7 Capacities programme aim to enhance research and innovation capacities throughout Europe and ensure their optimal use. TheCapacities programme will implement horizontal support actions and measures with a focus other than a specific thematic or interdisciplinary area. It will also aim to support the coordination of national programmes on international scientific cooperation, and the various international cooperation actions under the different programmes of FP7. The Capacities programme will operate in six broad areas:
• Research infrastructures;
• Research for the benefit of SMEs;
• Regions of knowledge and support for regional research-driven clusters;
• Research potential of Convergence Regions;
• Science in society;
• Support to the coherent development of research policies;
• International cooperation.
Link to the website: http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/index_en.cfm