Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development
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.
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.
The framework programmes
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:
|Framework Programme||period||budget in billions|
|Seventh||2007–2013||€50.521 over 7 years
+ €2.7 for Euratom over 5 years
|Horizon 2020 (Eighth)||2014–2020||€80 (estimated)|
Example of an FP5 project: The Financial Fraud Prevention-Oriented Information Resources using Ontology Technology (FF POIROT) project was an EU fifth framework funded, Information Society Technologies (IST) project (IST- 2001-38248) developed in response to the hundreds of millions of Euros lost every year in the EU due to financial fraud engendered by global digital markets.
The Sixth Framework Programme took place from 3 June 2002 until 2006.
The funding of the Seventh Framework Programme started in 2007 and ended in the sixth call in 2012
The first call of Horizon 2020 were launched on 11th December 2013.
FP6 and FP7
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.
- 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.
- 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."
- NoE projects require the minimum participation of three different EU member nations, however, projects are usually expected to involve at least six countries. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
For Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) the project and funding type terminology changed into:
- RIA, research and innovation action projects may get 100% funding because they are not close to market. Typical project size is 3 to 8 million euro.
- IA, innovation action projects get 70% funding - they are close to market and especially for SME's. Typical project size is 2 to 3 million euro.
- CSA, coordination and support action projects are studies, networking, distribution of results. They get 100% funding but are not meant for research. Project size typically 2 million euro.
- there are new funding instruments such as prizes and precommercial procurements, than range respectively from thousands of euros to potentially hundreds of millions euro.
Criticism of the programmes
The programmes have been criticized on various grounds, such as actually diminishing Europe's industrial competitiveness and failing to deliver fundamental excellence and global economic competitiveness. In 2010 the Austrian Research Promotion Agency launched a petition calling for a simplification of administrative procedures, which attracted over 13,000 signatories. The numerous other criticisms of the petitioners were later distilled into a Green Paper. 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.
- "ISTAG website". Cordis.lu. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Artis, M. J. and F. Nixson, Eds. "The Economics of the European Union: Policy and Analysis" (4th ed.), Oxford University Press 2007
- "How is FP 7 structured? from FP7 in Brief". European Commission. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- Cordis. "The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation". Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- 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.
- Schafer, B The Taming Of The Sleuth–Problems And Potential Of Autonomous Agents In Crime Investigation And Prosecuting 20th BILETA Conference: Over-Commoditised; Over-Centralised; Over-Observed: The New Digital Legal World? April 2005 Queen’s University Belfast pp1
- CORDIS reference page 
- "Provisions for Implementing Integrated Projects" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "What is FP6: Instruments: Network of Excellence". European Commission. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Provisions for Implementing Networks of Excellence", cordis.europa.eu. Retrieved 25 June 2009
- "Guide for applicants (Collaborative projects - Small and Medium-scale focused Research Projects - STREP)". European Commission. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Financial Control and Fraud in the Community. House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities, 12th Report. London: HMSO (1994).
- H. Matthews, The 7th EU research framework programme. Nanotechnol. Perceptions 1 (2005) 99–105.
- "Cerexhe receives petition for the simplification of administrative procedures for researchers". Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Green Paper From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding. Vienna: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) (2011).