Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Name of funding source
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
The Framework Programmes are the European Union’s principal funding mechanisms for research in Europe. Framework Programme number seven, known as FP7, came into effect in 2007 and remains operative until 2013. It brings together all the initiatives designed to consolidate the European Research Area and to promote strategic actions for achieving targets in scientific excellence, growth, competitiveness and employment. Compared with previous programmes, with FP7 the European Union (EU) has increased the budget allocated to research – thus providing added incentive for investment on the national and private levels – and introduced new measures designed to make European research policy more coherent and efficient. FP7 is more comprehensive and wider-reaching than previous programmes and it has introduced some simplifications compared to the past.
The objectives of FP7 were established after wide-ranging public consultation. They are grouped into four specific categories which form the basis for research activities through to 2013:
- FP7-CooperationThe Cooperation programme is designed to offer incentives for collaborative research work and strengthen ties between industry and research in a transnational framework. The objective is to establish and consolidate Europe as a leader in strategic sectors of research. This programme is articulated across ten subcategories, each autonomously managed but all strongly correlated, spanning the most important fields of knowledge and technology; fields where the excellence of research is particularly important if Europe is to increase its ability to address the challenges – in society, economy, public health, environment and industry – that the future holds.
- FP7-IdeasThe Ideas programme is designed to promote frontier research in Europe in all areas of science and technology. To achieve this goal, it offers assistance for research projects whose outcomes will generate economic and social growth, create opportunities for progress and breathe life into future applications and markets. Excellence and dynamism can make Europe a magnet for the best researchers – from Europe and other regions of the globe – and for investment in industrial research. In its pursuit of this objective, the European Commission created the European Research Council (ERC), a body whose remit is to implement the programme and to manage the funds, thus ensuring the scientific excellence of research activities.
- FP7-PeopleThe objective of the People programme is to make the very most of human potential in research, investing in the quantitative and qualitative growth of the European scientific community. It offers significant financial resources to provide an efficient response to researchers’ needs in terms of training, career development and mobility, within and beyond the EU. The Marie Curie Actions offered under this programme are research fellowships which provide excellent opportunities for researchers regardless of their age, gender, nationality or stage of career (initial training or lifelong learning).
- FP7-CapacitiesThe Capacities programme is designed to increase Europe’s capacity for research and innovation and to optimise their use in various geographical areas. The objective is to improve the quality and competitiveness of European research, supporting the development of coherent policy and identifying synergies with regional and cohesion-directed action in six specific areas of knowledge (research infrastructure, international cooperation, research for small and medium enterprises, knowledge regions, etc.).
FP7 also supports actions pursued under the EURATOM programme for nucleaFP7-Euratomr research (with special emphasis on fusion energy, nuclear fission and radiation protection) and funds the actions directed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which provides scientific and technical support for EU policies.
Activities eligible for funding
FP7 offers assistance for collaborative and individual research projects and for the development of research skills and capacities, providing funding to many different kinds of activities. Each call for proposals indicates the activities eligible for funding, the possible beneficiaries and the funding scheme. Generally speaking, one of the essential requirements for participation in EU programmes is the transnational dimension. Projects should typically involve, therefore, at least three organisations from three different Member States (or one Member State and one EU-associated country state) as well as one of the signatories must act as coordinator ensuring a suitable management of the project and an appropriate communication between the participants and the EU.
Participation in FP7 is open to a wide range of organisations and individuals set up in the Member States or in the countries associated to the programme. By way of example, the following entities can submit proposals:
- Universities or research institutes
- Researchers beginning their careers and expert researchers
- Public and government bodies (local, regional and national)
- Associations and large corporations
- Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and SME associations and consortia
To participate, candidates must register at the Participant Portal.
FP7 funds are managed by the European Commission. They are generally allocated according to the principle of co-funding, with calls for proposals held on a competitive basis and peer evaluation by independent experts. Approved projects receive subsidies from the European Commission which cover part of the total cost of the project. The standard contribution to research and technology development projects is 50%. However, some organisations (non-profit public bodies, SMEs, research institutes, secondary and higher education institutes, etc.) may be eligible for contributions up to 75%, while for certain kinds of activity (consortium management, creation of networks, training, coordination, dissemination, etc.) contributions may cover 100% of costs.
To obtain advice on the Framework Programme and its calls for proposals, prospective participants can get in touch with their National Contact Point (NCP), which offers candidates advice and support on EU funding for research. In Italy the role of NCP is carried out by APRE (Agency for the Promotion of European Research).
Find out more
- Participant portal
- FP7 on the CORDIS website
- FP7 on the European Commission website (Research & Innovation)
- Decision No. 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-13).
- Regulation No. 1906/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the rules for the participation of undertakings, research centres and universities in actions under the Seventh Framework Programme and for the dissemination of research results (2007-2013).
- Decision No. 969/2006/EC of the European Council concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) for nuclear research and training activities (2007-11).