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Sixth Framework Programme
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The 'FP6 step by step' section is a structured walk- through of what FP6 participation entails.
 You are here: Home Page > Preparing to make a proposal > Choosing the instrument
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Choosing the instrument

Reference documents and sites

Instruments are the means of Commission intervention – the structures and parameters that have been agreed at the political level within which projects can be funded. FP6 introduces three new instruments as well as adaptations of existing instruments. You are not free to choose among all available instruments of FP6 for a given topic. The work programmes and calls will define which instruments are available for which topics. 

To make a conscious decision if one of the available instruments in your topic is suitable for your ideas you have to understand their basic features and underlying concepts.

Network of Excellence (NoE)

design feature

NoEs are multipartner projects aimed at strengthening scientific and technological excellence on a particular research topic by integrating at European level the critical mass of resources and expertise needed to provide European leadership and to be a world force in a given domain. This expertise will be networked around a joint programme of activities aimed primarily at creating a progressive and durable integration of research capacities of network partners while at the same time advancing knowledge on the topic.

NoEs are more than just schemes for the co-ordination of research and information exchange; and the research itself is not their main focus either. Participating institutions have to invest seriously in structural change aiming at a durable integration of their research capacities. This requires the commitment of all levels of decision-making in an institution, including top management, supervising and financing bodies.

The main result should be a durable restructuring and reshaping of the way research is carried out in Europe in a given area.

The financial regime for NoEs has been built on the following principles:

  • a grant for integration, as a fixed amount to support the joint programme of activities;
  • to be calculated taking into account (a) the degree of integration proposed by the consortium, (b) the number of researchers that all participants intend to integrate, (c) the characteristics of the field of research concerned and (d) the joint programme of activities;
  • to be disbursed in installment , with payment depending primarily on the network’s progress towards achieving a durable integration and on condition that the costs incurred in implementing the joint programme of activities are greater than the grant itself.
Details on calculation of the grants will be provided in the model contracts.
NoEs will be applied in the 7 priority thematic areas and in the specific programme for nuclear research. They may also be used, in duly justified cases, in research areas supporting policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs.

Further information:  cordis.europa.eu/fp6/instrument-noe

 Integrated Project (IP)

design feature

IPs are multipartner projects to support objective-driven research, where the primary deliverable is generating the knowledge required to implement the thematic priorities . IPs should bring together a critical mass of resources to reach ambitious goals aimed either at increasing Europe’s competitiveness or at addressing major societal needs. They must contain a research component and may contain technological development and demonstration components, as appropriate, as well as perhaps a training component. A project may be at any point in the research spectrum. A single project may indeed span large parts of the spectrum, i.e. from basic to applied research.

Integration within an integrated project may take several forms:
  • Vertical integration of the full “value-chain” of stakeholders from those involved in knowledge production through to technology development and transfer.
  • Horizontal integration of a range of multidisciplinary activities.
  • Activity integration : integrating various research activities from fundamental to applied research and with other types of activity, including take-up activities, protection and dissemination of knowledge, training, etc, as appropriate.
  • Sectoral integration of actors from private and public sector research organisations, and in particular between academia and industry, including SMEs.
  • Financial integration of public and private funding, with overall financing plans that may involve the European Investment Bank and co-operation with Eureka.

Funding will take the form of a grant to the budget, as a contribution to costs incurred, with specified maximum rates of support for the different types of activity within the project.

IPs will be applied in the 7 priority thematic areas and in the specific programme for nuclear research. In duly justified cases they may also be used in the research areas supporting policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs.

Further information: cordis.europa.eu/fp6/instrument-ip

 Programmes implemented jointly by several Member States (“Article 169”)

design feature

This instrument requires co-operation at the level of national governments. It aims at integrating whole national or regional programmes on a particular topic by their joint implementation, e.g. through harmonised work programmes and common, joint or co-ordinated calls for proposals. Each possible arrangement requires a joint initiative of a number of Member States, possibly represented by their national programmes, and the European Commission in order to generate a proposal. Specific implementation structures will have to be set up. It may be used in all FP activities. The expected Community contribution is from some tens of millions of Euros upwards.

Further information: cordis.europa.eu/fp6/instrument-169

 Specific Targeted Research  Projects (STREP) and Specific Targeted Innovation Projects (STIP)

design feature

STREPs and STIPs are multipartner research, demonstration or innovation projects. They are an evolved form of the shared-cost RTD projects and demonstration projects used in FP5. Their purpose is to support research, technological development and demonstration or innovation activities of a more limited scope and ambition than IPs. The Community contributionmay range from hundreds of thousands of Euros to a few millions of Euros and is paid as a grant to the budget (percentage of total costs of the project). There must be a minimum of three participants from three different Member States or Associated States of which at least two are from Member States or Associated Candidate States. Different minimum numbers may be specified in the calls for proposals. Special conditions for minimum numbers of participants apply for the “Specific international co-operation activities (INCO)” part of the programme (to be specified in the work programme).

STREPs are used in implementing the priority thematic areas, in other areas supporting Community policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs, in specific international co-operation research activities, and in research activities developing harmonious relations between science and society. STIPs are used in activities exploring, validating and disseminating new innovation concepts and methods at European level.I

Further information: cordis.europa.eu/fp6/instr_strp

 Coordination Action (CA)

design feature

CAs are multi-partner actions intended to promote and support the networking and co-ordination of research and innovation activities. They are a reinforced form of the concerted actions/thematic networks used in FP5. They will cover the definition, organisation and management of joint or common initiatives as well as activities such as the organisation of conferences, meetings, the carrying out of studies, exchanges of personnel, the exchange and dissemination of good practice, setting up common information systems and expert groups. EU funding is given for the costs of co-ordination (not for the research) in the form of a grant to the budget of up to 100% of the budget. There must be a minimum of three participants from three different Member States or Associated States of which at least two are from Member States or Associated Candidate States. Different minimum numbers may be specified in the calls for proposals. Special conditions for minimum numbers of participants apply for the “Specific international co-operation activities (INCO)” part of the programme (to be specified in the work programme).

Further information: cordis.europa.eu/fp6/instrument-ca

 Specific Support Action (SSA)

design feature

Support activities are more limited in scope than the accompanying measures of the previous Framework Programmes. These projects aim to contribute actively to the implementation of activities of the work programme, the analysis and dissemination of results or the preparation of future activities, with a view to enabling the Community to achieve or define its RTD strategic objectives. Therefore, a significant emphasis has been placed on Support Actions:

  • to promote and facilitate the dissemination, transfer, exploitation, assessment and/or broad take-up of past and present programme results (over and above the standard diffusion and exploitation activities of individual projects);
  • to contribute to strategic objectives, notably regarding the European research area (e.g. pilot initiatives on benchmarking, mapping, networking, etc.);
  • to prepare future community RTD activities, (e.g. via prospective studies, exploratory measures. pilot actions etc.);

as opposed to awareness and information exchange activities, e.g. annual Workshops and Conferences, that would take place anyway without Commission support. The latter activities will not be welcome if they do not serve the programme’s strategic objectives, (in the sense of the European Research Area, improved co-ordination, public awareness, preparation of future Community initiatives, etc.). SSAs can be proposed by a single participant or by a consortium of several participants. The activities of a specific support action will be supported through a grant to the budget of up to 100% of the budget or, if necessary, as a lump sum.

Further information: cordis.europa.eu/fp6/instrument-ssa

  Specific research projects for SMEs

design feature

The Commission wishes to encourage the participation of SMEs in all Framework programme activities. While SMEs can participate in any project consortium, it is recognised that SMEs that do not have research facilities need special routes to participate in FP6. The following instruments are foreseen to meet this need.

Co-operative research projects (CRAFT)
They are projects whereby a number of SMEs (minimum three SMEs from two different countries) having specific problems or needs assign a significant part of the required scientific and technological research activities to RTD performers. These activities may also be carried out by innovative and high-tech SMEs in co-operation with research centres and universities. The SMEs retain ownership of the results.

Collective research projects
They are carried out by RTD performers on behalf of industrial associations or groupings in sectors where SMEs are prominent. The aim is to expand the knowledge base of large communities of SMEs and thus their general standard of competitiveness.  The ownership of the results lies with the industrial associations.

Further information: cordis.europa.eu/sme

 Other instruments used to implement the “Structuring the ERA” programme

design feature

There are a number of other instruments adapted to the specific objectives in the “Structuring the ERA” part of FP6.

These are:

 

Reference documents and sites:

design feature

 
 

CORDIS