Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development

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The Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, also called Framework Programmes or abbreviated FP1 through FP7 with "FP8" being named "Horizon 2020", are funding programmes created by the European Union/European Commission to support and foster research in the European Research Area (ERA). The specific objectives and actions vary between funding periods. In FP6 and FP7 focus was still in technological research, in Horizon 2020 the focus is in innovation, delivering economic growth faster and delivering solutions to end users that are often governmental agencies.

Background[edit]

Conducting European research policies and implementing European research programmes is an obligation under the Amsterdam Treaty, which includes a chapter on research and technological development. The programmes are defined by Commission civil servants that are aided by various official advisory group and lobby groups. E.g. to advise the European Commission on the overall strategy to be followed in carrying out the Information and Communication Technology thematic priority, the Information Society Technologies Advisory Group (ISTAG) was set up.[1]

The framework programmes[edit]

The framework programmes up until Framework Programme 6 (FP6) covered five-year periods, but from Framework Programme 7 (FP7) on, programmes will run for seven years. The Framework Programmes, and their budgets in billions of euros, have been and will be:[2]

Framework Programme period budget in billions
First 1984–1988 €3.75
Second 1987–1991 €5.396
Third 1990–1994 €6.6
Fourth 1994–1998 €13.215
Fifth 1998–2002 €14.96
Sixth 2002–2006 €17.883
Seventh 2007–2013 €50.521 over 7 years
+ €2.7 for Euratom over 5 years[3]
Horizon 2020 (Eighth)[4] 2014–2020 €80 (estimated)[5]

Funding instruments[edit]

FP6 and FP7[edit]

Framework Programme 6 and 7 (2002-2013) projects were generally funded through instruments, the most important of which are listed below.

  • Integrating Project (IP)
    • Medium- to large-sized collaborative research projects funded in FP6 and FP7. They are composed of a minimum of 3 partners coming from 3 different countries from Associated states but can join several tens of partners. The typical duration of such projects is 3 to 5 years but there is not a defined upper limit. The budget granted by the Commission can reach several tens of million euros, paid as a fraction of the actual costs spent by the participants.[6]
    • IPs specifically aim at fostering European competitiveness in basic research and applied science with a focus on "addressing major needs in society" defined by the Priority Themes of the Framework Programme. Like STRePs (see below), IPs ask for a strong participation of small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to ascertain the translation of research results into commercially viable products or services.[7]
  • Network of Excellence (NoE)
    • Medium-sized research projects co-funded by the European Commission in FP6 and FP7. These projects are "designed to strengthen scientific and technological excellence on a particular research topic through the durable integration of the research capacities of the participants."[8]
    • NoE projects require the minimum participation of three different EU member nations, however, projects are usually expected to involve at least six countries.[9] Projects are provided grants for a maximum of seven years. The budget granted by the Commission is €1-6million per year depending upon the number of researchers involved.[9]
    • An NoE project should not strictly be considered as a research project, since its aim is not to conduct research, but rather to contribute to the clarification of the concepts in the covered field.[citation needed]
  • Specific Targeted Research Projects (STReP)
    • Medium-sized research projects funded by the European Commission in the FP6 and FP7 funding programs. STReP projects are composed by a minimum of 3 partners coming from 3 different countries from Associated states. The typical duration of such projects is 2 to 3 years. In FP6, they generally involved between 6 and 15 partners. The budget granted by the Commission is in average around €2 million.[10]

Horizon 2020[edit]

Horizon 2020 is the eighth phase of the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (also called Framework Programmes; hence the project's alternative name of 'FP8'), funding programmes created by the European Union in order to support and encourage research in the European Research Area (ERA). It implements Europe 2020 and Innovation Union strategies. The programme runs from 2014–2020 and provides an estimated 80 billion of funding,[11][12] an increase of 23 per cent on the previous phase.[13]

The project became embroiled with the 2014 referendums held by Switzerland, which opted to impose a quota on immigration between that country and the EU. Switzerland, which maintains bilateral agreements with the EU, was intended to be a participant of Horizon 2020, but negotiations that would have ensured this were put on hold in the aftermath of the decision.[14] Turkey joined this funding program.This funding programme also includes Israel, which joined after protracted negotiations about whether funding could be directed to projects beyond the Green Line;[15] eventually the two parties agreed to disagree, and Israel published its views in an Appendix to the official documents. Open access is an underlying principle of Horizon 2020,[16] intended to improve research results, create greater efficiency, improve transparency and accelerate innovation.[17]

Structure[edit]

The programme consists of three main research areas that are called "pillars".

  • The first pillar, "Excellent Science", focuses on basic science. It has a budget of 24 billion euro. The European Research Council (ERC) delivers 13 billion euro to researchers and teams of researchers based on scientific excellence of the applications. This pillar funds future and emerging technologies (FET, €2.7 billion) and researcher mobility (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA), €6.1 billion) and large European research infrastructures (€2.5 billion).
    • MSCA supports the career development and training of researchers at all stages of their careers. It is the main EU programme for doctoral training funding 25 000 PhDs during 7 years. It co-funds national PhD programmes. Other MSCA funding targets research networks, fellowships for individual researchers, research staff exchanges and arrange "European Researchers' Night"-event annually on the last Friday of September.
  • The second pillar is "Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies" (LEIT), with a budget of 14 billion euro. It is managed by DG Enterprise and based on Europe 2020 and Innovation Union strategies. The pillar consists of six sub-programmes:
    • Information and communication technologies
    • Nanotechnologies
    • Advanced materials
    • Advanced manufacturing and processing
    • Biotechnology
    • Space
These technologies all have European technology platforms (ETP; fora for research communities to meet) with their respective strategic research agendas (SRA). Some technologies have long term funding instruments, such as joint technology initiatives (JTI). Some technologies are labelled key enabling technologies (KET).
This pillar contains special efforts to SME funding and gives also risk financing (2.8 billion euro) e.g. through loans of the European Investment Bank.
  • The third pillar funds potential solutions to social and economic problems, "Societal challenges", in the following six sub-programmes:
    • Health (€7.5 billion)
    • Food, water, forestry, bioeconomy (€3.8 billion)
    • Energy (€5.9 billion)
    • Transport (€6.3 billion)
    • Environment including climate change adaptation and raw materials (€3.1 billion)
    • European society (€1.3 billion)
    • Security (€1.7 billion)
    • This pillar also funds themes names as "Science with and for society" (€0.5 billion) and "Spreading excellence and widening participation" (€0.8 billion).

The structure follows the previous framework programme (FP7, 2007-2013) to the level of the sub-programmes under the pillars. In the industrial pillar the goal is to find ways to modernize European industries that have suffered from a fragmented European market. In societal challenges the goal is implementation of solutions, less on technology development.

Criticism of the programmes[edit]

The programmes have been criticized on various grounds, such as actually diminishing Europe's industrial competitiveness[18] and failing to deliver fundamental excellence and global economic competitiveness.[19] In 2010 the Austrian Research Promotion Agency launched a petition calling for a simplification of administrative procedures, which attracted over 13,000 signatories.[20] The numerous other criticisms of the petitioners were later distilled into a Green Paper.[21] In Horizon 2020 there are significant simplifications: e.g. fewer funding rates (increasing the funding rates of the large companies), less reporting, less auditing, shorter time from proposal to project kick-off.

See also[edit]

List of Seventh Framework Programme projects

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ISTAG website". Cordis.lu. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Artis, M. J. and F. Nixson, Eds. "The Economics of the European Union: Policy and Analysis" (4th ed.), Oxford University Press 2007
  3. ^ "How is FP 7 structured? from FP7 in Brief". European Commission. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Cordis. "The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation". Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Grove, Jack (28 July 2011). "Grove, Jack "'Triple miracle' sees huge rise in EU funds for frontier research", Times Higher Education, 28 July 2011". Timeshighereducation.co.uk. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  6. ^ CORDIS reference page [1]
  7. ^ "Provisions for Implementing Integrated Projects" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "What is FP6: Instruments: Network of Excellence". European Commission. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Provisions for Implementing Networks of Excellence", cordis.europa.eu. Retrieved 25 June 2009
  10. ^ "Guide for applicants (Collaborative projects - Small and Medium-scale focused Research Projects - STREP)". European Commission. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Grove, Jack (2011). "'Triple miracle' sees huge rise in EU funds for frontier research". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Amos, Jonathan. "Horizon 2020: UK launch for EU's £67bn research budget". BBC. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Rabesandratana, Tania. "E.U. Leaders Agree on Science Budget". ScienceInsider. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Schuetze, Christopher F. (2014). "Swiss Immigration Overhaul Puts Study Programs at Risk". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Elis, Niv (2014). "Israel joins 77 billion euro Horizon 2020 R&D program". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Fact sheet: Open Access in Horizon 2020". European Commission. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020". European Commission. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Financial Control and Fraud in the Community. House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities, 12th Report. London: HMSO (1994).
  19. ^ H. Matthews, The 7th EU research framework programme. Nanotechnol. Perceptions 1 (2005) 99–105.
  20. ^ "Cerexhe receives petition for the simplification of administrative procedures for researchers". Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Green Paper From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding. Vienna: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) (2011).

External links[edit]