Brussels, 14 January 2008
Researchers gathered in Brussels today to learn more about an FP7 Marie Curie scheme providing €400 million between now and 2013 for staff exchanges between businesses and universities. The "Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways" scheme is particularly designed to involve small businesses, which make up the bulk of European companies, as it opens doors to using research results that can help them develop. The conference will showcase past successes of such industry/academia partnerships, examine the barriers that currently exist to such movement between public and private sectors and offer workshops to help participants design top quality research partnerships and make the most of any future contract under the scheme.
"A knowledge based economy is all about its people. Making it easier to move between the public and private sectors is a challenge for all of Europe, and I think that the Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways action blazes a trail, which other research funders can follow" said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik speaking at the first such conference in Brussels today.
Challenges for science and technology today are the quality of those carrying out the research, and the ability of the knowledge they generate to be used to further economic development and quality of life. The Marie Curie Actions, financed by the "People" specific programme of the EU's 7th Framework Programme, are designed to strengthen the human potential in research and technology in Europe. The Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways stimulate mobility between the public and private sectors and promote staff exchange through joint research partnerships.
The scheme is open to all organisations active in research, and the partnerships consist of at least one private and one public research organisation and at least two countries taking part in the Framework Programme. Support is provided for exchange of know-how and experience through two-way secondments of research staff; research and networking activities; recruitment of experienced researchers from outside the partnership; organisation of workshops and conferences and, for SMEs, research equipment. Funding is typically for 4 years and is up to 100% of the costs of the project; no matching financing is required.
The second call for proposals is now open with a deadline of 25/03/2008. The budget share for the current call is €45 million.
The Marie Curie IAPP scheme is an important potential source of research funding for the private sector, especially SMEs; it is the only action in which a single SME can apply for Community research funding with a single university partner. IAPP consortia are small, most typically comprising 1 or 2 public sector institutions with a single private sector partner.
The IAPP scheme follows on from the successful "Transfer of Knowledge Industry Academia Partnerships" scheme in the 6th Framework Programme. Many successful research collaborations were formed under the previous scheme and some of these are present at the conference to share their experiences and advise on how to get the most out of the partnership.
Among those present is Professor Anil Kokaram of Trinity College Dublin who along with a British company, The Foundry, won a 2007 Scientific and Engineering Award® from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® for their research into post-production software supported by their FP6 contract. The Foundry has sent staff to Dublin to study the latest research in 3D imaging processing and a research fellow from Trinity College has gained valuable commercial experience in the industry.
Also presenting her research was Dr Julie Maguire of Daithi O'Murchu Marine Research Station in Ireland. She coordinates a project with 5 partners in Ireland, Norway and Italy. They are researching genetic selection techniques to overcome problems of inconsistencies in the quantity and quality of shellfish supplies. Julie said of the collaboration "we will definitely want to continue working together and are now looking for new opportunities".
For further information please see the Marie Curie Actions webpages at
See also IP/07/239
 Note to editors: Countries that participate in the 7th Framework Programme are the 27 Member States of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Leichtenstein, Israel, Croatia, Serbia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, and Turkey.