EU’s Research Framework Programme (FP)
The FP is the EU’s main instrument for research funding in Europe. The FP is proposed by the European Commission and adopted by Council and the European Parliament following a co-decision procedure. FPs cover a period of five years with the last year of one FP and the first year of the following FP overlapping. FPs have been implemented since 1984. The Sixth FP (FP6) will be fully operational as of January 1, 2003.
Main objectives of FP6
FP6 aims to contribute to the creation of a true “European Research Area” (ERA). ERA is a vision for the future of research in Europe, an internal market for science and technology. It fosters scientific excellence, competitiveness and innovation through the promotion of better co-operation and coordination between relevant actors at all levels. Economic growth increasingly depends on research, and many of the present and foreseeable challenges for industry and society can no longer be solved at national level alone. At their summit in Lisbon in March 2000, heads of state and governments called for better leveraging of European research efforts through the creation of ERA. The FP is the financial instrument that will help make the European Research Area a reality.
Who decides how research money should be spent, and on what basis
Once Council and Parliament adopt the FP, the European Commission is responsible for its implementation. There are no “national quotas” for FP funds. Other key principles are:
· the EU will only fund projects which involve several partners from different countries;
· FP funds are allocated following competitive “calls for proposals” published by the Commission on a regular basis;
· projects will only be eligible for FP funding if their scope and objectives reflect priorities as out-lined in “calls for proposals”;
· quality and technological relevance of projects submitted for funding are assessed by external, independent experts, each proposal is evaluated, on average, by five experts;
· FP funds are not “subsidies” to research organisations or companies, and may only be used for carefully described work or research developments.
The overall budget
The budget for the Sixth FP will be €17.5 billion. This represents close to 4% of the EU’s overall budget (2001), and 5.4% of all public (non-military) research spending in Europe.
7% of this amount (€ 1 230 million) will be spent on nuclear research within EURATOM framework programme.