How will FP7 benefit researchers?
Overall the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) represents a 60% increase in EU funding for research over the previous programme (FP6) now drawing to a close. The majority of this funding, under the Cooperation programme of FP7, will support trans-national, collaborative research projects in 10 broad scientific areas, bringing a critical mass of resources to bear on strategically-important challenges and technologies.
In addition, the newly-created European Research Council (ERC) will operate as a pan-European funding organisation, supporting high-impact, cutting-edge research through open and direct competition across the EU.
The expanded programme of ‘Marie-Curie’ activities funded under FP7’s People programme will support researcher training, career development and mobility through a variety of fellowships and networking activities.
The Capacities programme is designed to optimise the development and use of research facilities in Europe by supporting, for example, research infrastructures, high-tech SMEs, regional clusters and international cooperation.
How can I participate in FP7?
The FP7 ‘Rules for participation’ have simplified things by doing away with cost models, foresee the creation of a guarantee fund to cover the financial risk of pre-financing without recurring to requesting guarantees from beneficiaries and clarify the provisions on intellectual property rights.
Besides the rules, simplification will also be implemented through other means:
- The FP7 model grant agreement (notably by rationalising the number of audit certificates and reports, which in turn should ease the path of payments);
- The different ‘Commission rules’ to regulate and harmonise submission, selection and evaluation procedures, as well as the evaluation of the financial viability of proposers;
- And, finally, by measures affecting the internal working of the European Commission such as the establishment of a Single Registration Facility for proposers.
As part of a single research group – under the Ideas programme, through the ERC.
Two types of ERC grant will be available, operating on a ‘bottom-up’ basis, across all research fields, without predetermined priorities:
- ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants (ERC Starting Grants) - aiming to provide adequate support to the independent careers of excellent researchers, whatever their nationality, located in or moving to the EU and associated countries, who are at the stage of establishing and leading their first research team or programme.
- ERC Advanced Investigator Grants (ERC Advanced Grants) - aiming to encourage and support excellent, innovative investigator-initiated research projects across the EU Member States and countries associated to FP7. This funding stream will target researchers who have already established themselves as being independent research leaders in their own right. The ERC Advanced Grant scheme will be introduced in the second call for proposals, expected to be published later in 2007.
ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grants will be offered at pre-set discrete levels of between €100,000 and €400,000 per year (in increments of €50,000) for a period of up to 5 years.
The Community financial contribution shall be in the form of a grant to the budget corresponding to a maximum of 100% of the total eligible direct costs and a flat rate contribution of up to 20% of the total eligible direct costs towards indirect costs.
As an individual researcher through the People programme.
The € 4.7 billion 'People' programme in FP7 will enable tens of thousands of researchers to benefit from fellowships for research training. These will be for researchers across the board – from those at the beginning of their careers to the more advanced.
It will have a strong emphasis on industry participation, because mobility needs to be across sectors as well as borders. The programme will help with training and career development in different sectors, especially in the private sector.
To take part in most of the Marie Curie Actions, a researcher must be prepared to move country. Mobility is defined using the following criteria:
- Firstly, the researcher should not be a national of the state in which they plan to move and carry out their research;
- Secondly, the researcher has not lived, worked or studied in that country for more than 12 months out of the three years immediately prior to either the time of application, or the start of their work (depending on the action).
Individual researchers interesting in taking part in a Marie Curie Action have two options:
- To apply directly to an institution that has been selected by the European Commission for a Host-Driven Action.
- To prepare a project together with a host institution of your choice and submit it to the Commission.
How else can I be involved in FP7?
The European Commission uses a network of registered experts to review and evaluate project proposals. The Commission will contact FP6 registered experts and transfer their data to the FP7 database of experts.
The registration service for FP7 is available on Participant Portal.
Further information on the appointment of independent experts can be found in the CORDIS FP7 participation section (see ' WHO - Appointment of independent experts').
Where can I find support?
The network of National Contact Points (NCPs) is the main resource providing locally-tailored guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in FP7.
- NCPs to facilitate participation in ERC funded research under the Ideas programme
- NCPs for participation in Marie-Curie schemes under the People programme
For further information on schemes to support researcher mobility and career development, please see the ‘ Marie-Curie’ website
What else is Europe doing for researchers?
European Commission is urging EU Member States and their universities and research centres to apply both the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct. The Charter provides clear, harmonised principles in the treatment of researchers. The Code is a blueprint for fair recognition of qualifications and mobility in recruitment.
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Last updated on: 2012-07-31