Instruments and project types
Introducing the concept of instruments
An instrument refers to a politically and legally authorised
means of Community financial intervention. In practice this means
the specification of a type of project that can be financially supported.
The type of instruments to be used are always specified in the
Work Programme of each activity, and each specific call for proposals
will state clearly what instruments are available under that call.
The new instruments
The first, called Integrated Projects, is designed to create the
knowledge required to implement the priority thematic areas of FP6,
by integrating a critical mass of activities (research, demonstration,
training, innovation, management) and resources (staff, skills,
competences, finances, infrastructure, equipment etc.). The second,
called Networks of Excellence, is an instrument for directly tackling
the fragmentation of research activities in Europe in a given thematic
In addition a third instrument, known as Article 169, a reference
to the treaty establishing the Framework Programmes, is new in the
sense that it will be used for the first time. This Article 169
instrument allows the Commission to support the opening and joining
of national research programmes of Member States.
The traditional instruments
The shared-cost research projects of earlier Framework Programmes
are now represented by Specific Targeted Research Projects, improving
existing or developing new products, processes or services or contributing
to meet the needs of society or Community policies. These STREPs
will have some differences in areas such as contractual and IPR
Concerted actions and thematic networks have been replaced by Coordination
actions which are essentially additional actions intended to promote
and support the networking and coordination of research and innovation
The Accompanying Measures of FP5 have been replaced by Specific
Support Actions, which are actions the Commission may wish to take
in support of the Framework Programme. They can comprise needs studies,
input to policy, showcasing research results, seminars, groups etc.
Special SME instruments
For SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) there are now two
special forms of project they may use, in addition to the traditional
collaborative projects where the partners do the research themselves.
Briefly, these are:
- Cooperative research projects (CRAFT) where
the SME partners commission external research performers (research
institute, university etc.) to do the research work.
- Collective research projects where industrial associations/groupings commission
external research performers to carry out research on behalf of
large communities of SMEs.
Special instruments for mobility and training (Marie Curie actions)
These actions provide a variety of possibilities for individual researchers in different stages of their career as well as for institutions acting as hosts for these researchers. The Marie-Curie actions typically require transnational mobility, i.e. a researcher cannot apply for a fellowship in his/her country of origin or residence.
Special instruments for research infrastructures
These instruments are promoting the development of a fabric of research infrastructures of highest quality and performance in Europe and their optimum use on a European scale. Support is provided for transnational access to major research infrastructures, networking, joint research, design studies, communication network development and construction of new infrastructures.