If we cannot double funds, we must double effort, says Potocnik on FP7 simplification
As EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik outlined the ten measures proposed to simplify access to the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), he admitted that he was not too confident about the outcome of the discussions on the Financial Perspectives at the European Council taking place in Brussels on 17 June.
Speaking at a workshop to review the working document on simplification and management in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) that accompanied the Commission proposal on 6 April, Mr Potocnik noted, however, that 'if we cannot double our funds, we have to double our efforts - and in particular on simplification.'
'We must ensure that the procedures used for participating in the Framework Programme are as efficient and user-friendly as possible,' stated Mr Potocnik. 'One of my key commitments is to ensure that FP7 will be open and accessible for all: big or small entities, private or public institutions - we need them all to contribute to European research, development and growth,' he added.
As Mr Potocnik explained, the ten measures proposed include: rationalising the funding schemes - a new approach based on a simpler set of funding instruments; using simpler, high quality communication and less bureaucratic language that is user-friendly; reducing the number and size of documents; reducing the number of requests to participants and instituting a light submission procedure; reducing a priori controls (i.e. controls before the project is approved); increasing the autonomy of consortia; streamlining the selection process; exploring new modes of funding and simplifying the cost-based funding system.
Furthermore, the Commission hopes to set up an executive agency to handle those parts of the programme that are heavy on administration, but not particularly policy-driven, such as Marie Curie grants and fellowships and other mobility actions, support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as administrative tasks related to other research projects.
Mr Potocnik, particularly concerned about the role and access of smaller players in FP7, has also called for the establishment of a Sounding Board of smaller actors in research actions.
'The world of science, research and innovation refuses to stand still; it is constantly changing, and we have to change with it. If we don't move in step with the development of knowledge, we will be left behind, Europe will be left behind. This means constantly reviewing our practices and not changing them for the sake of change, to complicate lives, but making changes where they accelerate things, simplify things, and give results,' said Mr Potocnik.
Although expressing his concern that 'the proposal of the Luxembourg Presidency for the Financial Perspectives, being discussed in Brussels today, if adopted, will make it far more difficult for us to fully attain our objectives in the field of research', Mr Potocnik insisted that whatever the outcome, the challenge remains to make FP7 the best framework programme possible.
Related stories: 23763
Category: General policy
Data Source Provider: European Commission
Document Reference: Based on SPEECH/05/359
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Legislation, Regulations; Policies; Scientific Research