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Brussels, 19th July 2010

Europe’s biggest ever package of research and innovation investment


Frequently asked questions

Please see annex for ten examples of existing EU funded projects.

How does this package contribute to sustainable growth and jobs?

In the Europe 2020 strategy, Research and Innovation are at the heart of the political agenda, with the aim of improving framework conditions and access to finance for research and innovation and hence ensuring that innovative ideas can be turned into products and services that create growth and jobs.

With the work programme announced today and the subsequent calls for proposals, nearly €6.4 billion from the Seventh Framework Programme is being invested in tackling today's societal and industrial challenges. This investment is expected to create more than 165.000 jobs in Europe.

These figures increase cumulatively over time if it is assumed that levels of EU research funding are sustained or increased.

This has been calculated using the econometric model NEMESIS developed by Prof. Paul Zagamé (Ecole Centrale Paris Erasme) as part of the European research project DEMETER – see: .

He estimates the creation of 110.000 skilled and 55.000 unskilled jobs.

When will the calls for proposals be formally published ?

Many of the calls referred to in the work programme announced on 19 July will be published formally the next day, 20 July. Others will follow later.

How will FP7 benefit universities and academic researchers?

Educational institutes, notably universities, are the biggest beneficiaries of FP7: they make up over one-third of applicants and successful requests for EC funding. So far under FP7, from more than 40.700 "participations" in projects, nearly 15.500 come from universities or other educational institutes, receiving altogether €5.3 billion.

Boosting individual careers for young scientists and supporting the brightest brains of Europe is also at the heart of the European Union's research policy. Through the European Commission’s Marie Curie Actions, the EU supports researcher training, career development and transfer of knowledge.

In addition, more than 850 of Europe's best creative scientists will get grants from the European Research Council. In 2011 alone, the Marie Curie Actions programme will create 5,000 new positions for highly qualified researchers and another 2,000 for PhD candidates In 2011 alone it will create 7,000 new positions, out of a budget of 772 Million €.

Are Industry and SMEs major participants?

Private sector participants make up a quarter of all applicants.

Some parts of FP7 are explicitly intended to develop the innovation capacity of the private sector, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Also, collaborative research projects are open to participation by private sector partners, whether private research institutes, industry or SMEs.

Nearly € 800 million of the budget available in these calls will go to SMEs. So far under previous FP7 calls, SMEs account for 6.500 participants with €1.6 billion of funding.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn has reiterated the Commission's commitment to ensuring that SME's receive at least 15% of the total funding for the parts of FP7 in which they are participants, over the lifetime of the programme 2007-2013. The current rate is around 14%.

In health, a minimum percentage (between 15% and 30%) of the EU grant to each project must go to SMEs.

In environmental technologies and cultural heritage, SME participation is particularly high (above 20%), and the coming Eco-Innovation call is expected to increase this participation further - €50 million will be dedicated to a specific SME and industry-targeted call.

In the ICT-field there are major opportunities for SMEs in high potential growth areas such as photonics, embedded systems, and ICT for health and ageing.

Can organisations and researchers from outside the EU bid for funding ?

Yes. Involving partners from any part of the world continues to be a priority of EU funding. The environment theme is one of the most popular themes for 3rd country cooperation, due to the global nature of environmental challenges. In 2009, more than 50 per cent of the proposals selected for funding involved international cooperation countries.

What are the central topics to be supported in health research?

Improving the health of European citizens and increasing the innovative capacity and competiveness of the European health sector, are at the core of the 2011 calls, with a budget of €682 million. Special emphasis is on promoting the translation of research into clinical practice. The call will tackle lifestyle-related health issues such as diabetes/obesity, cardiovascular disease, brain-related diseases and social determinants of health.

What about energy research?

A total budget of €210 million will be devoted for energy research. The bulk of it is earmarked for renewable energy (€137 million), the intelligent electricity grid of tomorrow (Smartgrids: €50 million), carbon capture and storage (CCS: €36 million) and energy efficiency (€15 million).

Some 500 entities, comprising around 120 research centres, 120 universities and 220 companies (including 120 SMEs) are expected to benefit from these calls.

How is environmental research adapted to a changing world?

The 2011 calls in the Environment theme have a budget €240 million and a total of 3,500 beneficiaries can be expected. Climate-change related research remains one of the top priorities of the environment calls for the year to come. Research for adaptation to climate change and mitigation of it is funded with €70 million. The same amount is foreseen for new environmentally-friendly ways of production. Efficient management of natural resources is allocated approximately €100 million.

Does the call support innovation in production?

€436 million will be devoted to the generation of innovative industrial products, processes and services. Public-private partnerships launched in the automotive, construction and manufacturing sectors will be allocated €130 million. Material for environmental friendly production receives a budget of €210 million. Development of new materials for energy generation, storage and efficiency is allocated €145 million.

How does the call support research in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)?

Research into ICTs will receive up to €1.2 billion of EU funding in these calls. With a budget that supports more than 15,000 researchers every year, ICT research help industry conduct ambitious and groundbreaking research which stimulates innovation and economic growth.

In particular, major funding is allocated to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs): €90 million will be available in 2011 to the 'Future Internet' Partnership (IP/09/1596) take advantage of the increasing demand for innovative internet applications to make infrastructures like health systems, energy grids or traffic management systems 'smarter'. Other partnerships on research will make sure that digital technologies play their full part in delivering the smart and sustainable growth set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. In 2011, €20 million will go to the ICT part of the energy efficient buildings partnership, €30 million to the PPP on fully electric vehicles and €80 million to the partnership developing "factories of the future" (IP/09/1116).

EU ICT funding can also have a major impact on research into future and emerging technologies (FET) and other high-risk areas where fear of market failures may impede private-sector investment. The €84 million available in 2011 for FET projects could develop the scientific foundations of radically new technologies like carbon-free ICT and take ICT research into uncharted areas such as quantum information science (MEMO/10/140)

Is space research covered?

Yes. The 4th FP7 Space call (€99 million) will focus on ensuring the continuity of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) operational services, and will support research on space exploration technologies and ways to protect the Earth from potentially devastating asteroid impacts.

Will there be projects to enhance public security?

Security projects will receive €220 million in the 2011 call Security research is expected to deliver practical solutions for increasing the security of the citizen, stressing the active participation of end-users, in topics ranging from airport security to crisis management.

What about the bio-economy?

The building up of a knowledge based bio-economy in Europe is supported with €240 million. Bio-economy is based on knowledge and innovation in the biosciences and convergence between technologies, such as engineering, chemistry, computer science and nanotechnologies. In the bio-economy, sustainable growth is achieved by using renewable biological resources from land and sea as inputs to sectors such as the food and feed industry, chemicals, detergents, paper pulp and timber, textiles, bio-fuels and biogas. The progress in the biosciences is aimed at “greening” of industrial processes and products, reducing waste and enhancing consumer protection and well being.

Is socio-economic research included?

Socio-economic and humanities research is a key tool for addressing societal challenges and advancing social inclusion. In 2011 the European Commission will increase by over 10%, to €86 million, its budget for socio-economic research. The priorities will be the exit from the crisis, economy and innovation and the fight against poverty. This is expected to involve more that 300 universities and research institutions and 2,000 individual researchers from the EU and around 100 countries from outside the Union.

What is more, the 2011 Science in Society calls will provide over €43 million of support for promoting closer interaction between science, research and wider society. Topics of special interest are the Low Carbon Society, Food & Health, and Marine Resources. There will also be projects to promote women's careers in research and to promote new ways of teaching science in schools - with large scale projects each involving at least 10 different countries.

What are the central transport topics?

With the objective of strengthening innovation in Europe and boosting public and private investment, transport research is focusing its €415 million budget for the 2011 transport calls on a limited number of strategic priorities. Surface transport research will address efficient railway services, eco-innovation in shipbuilding and in waterborne transportation, as well as the 'European Green Car Initiative'.

Aeronautics and Air Transport research will focus on integration and validation of technologies in aero-engines, the airframe, on-board equipment and airports. It is expected that around 1000 entities, of which 50% are companies, will benefit from these calls.

How do the calls contribute to the European Research Area?

The whole of FP7 contributes to the European Research Area (ERA) in one way or another. But €65 million are specifically reserved for strengthening the ERA by supporting the effective integration of the best research and development institutions on the continent. Some 150 entities, comprising around 25 research organisations of significant size established in the EU's convergence and outermost regions, 115 highly qualified research organisations and universities elsewhere in Europe and 10 SMEs are expected to benefit.

Support to Research Infrastructures including e-infrastructures

State-of-the-art research infrastructures are essential for Europe to stay at the forefront of science. The budget for the 2011 calls amounts to €259 million. These calls support existing research infrastructures as well as the development of new European infrastructures and pay special attention to the development of associated e-infrastructures.

Are the various Joint Undertakings set up by the Commission included in these calls?

No, they are acting independently. The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for example has a budget worth of nearly €180 million for 2011 calls, which will be invested in research projects by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. 25 different project topics aim to foster the market breakthrough of these technologies for example for the next generation of cars, urban public transport or power plants.

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Joint Undertaking's third call for next year is funded by the European Union with a maximum of € 98.6 million plus matching non-monetary in-kind contributions by the research-based companies that are members of EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations). Among the scientific priorities for this call are drug safety, inflammatory diseases, tuberculosis, neurological diseases and personalised medicine.

The Clean Sky Joint Undertaking intends to dedicate €170 million for its operational activities in 2011, including €46.2 million for the 4 calls for proposals to be issued in 2011.  Clean Sky will contribute to developing cleaner and quieter aircraft. It is one of the largest European research initiatives ever, with a budget estimated at €1.6 billion over seven years, of which half is contributed by the European Commission and half by the European aeronautics industry. It aims at reducing significantly aviation emissions and noise. It addresses the implementation of innovative, environmentally-friendly technologies in all segments of civil air transport, including large commercial aircraft, regional aircraft and rotorcraft, and in all supporting technologies such as engines, systems and products life cycle.

How long will it take for the first money to be paid out ?

Following the closures of the calls (deadlines vary) evaluations will be carried out over the next two to three months and first evaluation results will become available three to four months after the deadline. The average time needed to complete the signature of approximately 8000 contracts since the beginning of FP7 has been 350 days after the closure of the call. However this should decrease following the Commission's commitment to improve and simplify the whole procedure. For example, new electronic tools will facilitate the negotiation of contracts and enable the close monitoring of all the stages of the process. For more information, see the following press materials on simplification of research funding: IP/10/472 and MEMO/10/156

How can potential applicants get advice and assistance?

The NCP (National Contact Points) network is the main provider of advice and individual assistance in all Member States and Associated States.

Those seeking support should contact the NCP relevant to their area of interest.

The most important services provided by NCPs' include:

  • Guidance on choosing thematic priorities and instruments

  • Advice on administrative procedures and contractual issues

  • Training and assistance on proposal writing

  • Distribution of documentation (forms, guidelines, manuals etc.)

  • Assistance in partner search

To find National Contact Points, click on:

More information:

Call page:

The Commission's website on Research:

The Commission's 'Innovation Union' Facebook page:

Annex – Ten existing EU funded research projects

More than 7,000 others are already being funded under the Seventh Framework Programme.

An innovative treatment for cancer by EU-supported SMEs and research institutes (Project ANGIOSTOP)

The small research-based pharmaceutical companies BioInvent and Thrombogenics have, together with their partners in the EU-funded FP6 project ANGIOSTOP, developed an innovative form of treatment that stops the growth of cancerous tumours through inhibition of angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels are formed in the body. In 2009, the companies have announced promising results and secured a EUR 50 million investment from global pharmaceutical giant Roche.

LifeValve (Living heart valves for minimally invasive implantation procedures)

LifeValve aims to develop a tissue-engineered, living heart valve that can be implanted in children without the need for an operation. This valve will then grow with the children and therefore minimise the need for future surgical intervention.

Cardiovascular disease still represents the Killer No.1 in the EU accounting for substantial morbidity/mortality and health care cost. Heart valve replacement represents the most common surgical therapy for valvular heart disease with almost 200.000 annual implantations worldwide. Currently, heart valve prosthesis-associated problems occur in 30-35% of patients within 10 years, frequently necessitating risky re-operations. A particularly severe problem relates to children with congenital heart defects (1% of all newborns) who cannot be treated efficiently due to the lack of growths of the clinically available artificial valve prostheses.

LUPA (Dog genetics to understand human diseases)

This project puts together 20 veterinary schools from 12 European countries that have been working since January 2008 to collect DNA samples from purebred dogs that are healthy or affected by similar diseases as humans. Studying dogs will help improve our understanding of the genetic origin of diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, cardiovascular troubles and diabetes. This project is particularly interesting in the context of personalised medicine.

Hi-CEPS (Highly Integrated Combustion Electric Propulsion System)

The Hi-CEPS project aims to develop hybrid vehicles that can be mass produced and that are affordable, adaptable and fun to drive. These will be available on the European market in the next few years. Among other things, the hybrid systems being developed employ innovative ways to solve common problems in hybrid technology, such as preventing air conditioning from shutting down once the engine stops. The vehicles will be low-cost, standardised and adjustable to various (alternative) fuels.

ARRIVAL - new railway scheduling tool reduces waiting times and train delays

Thanks to a research project that has received €2.6 million of EU funding, Europeans face less disruption when travelling by train this summer. The ARRIVAL project has developed advanced software that schedules trains more efficiently and handles disruptions, as they happen in real time, more effectively while maintaining the same level of safety. The results of this research are already being applied by railway operators across Europe to ensure more efficient use of rail networks, in terms of both timetabling and dealing with unforeseen disruptions. The algorithms developed have potential applications in other areas such as road traffic navigation systems, industrial work-flow systems, e-commerce, peer to peer networks, grid computing networks and healthcare.

A 3 month trip, from Italy to China, without a driver! (No driver cars with Open Intelligent Systems) (OFAV – A project supported by the European Research Council)

The OFAV project aims at exploring the use of "intelligent cars" which move without a driver and with a sophisticated system of sensors. The first intercontinental experiment with these autonomous cars is taking place this year by means of a trip of 13 000 km from Italy to Shanghai (arrival on 10-10-2010) through different environments, including extreme ones. This experiment will show that it is possible, in a prototype version, to move goods between two continents with non-polluting vehicles powered by green energy and with virtually no human intervention. The aim is to demonstrate that the current technology is mature enough for the deployment of non-polluting and no-oil based autonomous vehicles in real conditions.

This research is also aimed at providing vehicles with perception capabilities in order to reduce the number of road accidents and – as an ultimate goal- even for completely autonomous driving. Besides providing clear advantages on safety for road users, the availability of an open architecture will encourage and make possible the sharing of knowledge between public and private research communities (academic and automotive industry) and thus speed up the design of a standard platform for future autonomous vehicles. Moreover these technologies tested from Italy to China may be transferred to other vehicles and applied to other fields such as agriculture, earth moving, constructions, in extreme environments, where the employment of a vehicle able to move without any driver will bring remarkable economical as well as social advantages.

Technology for heroes

The primary motivation of the EU-funded project ‘Second generation locator for urban search and rescue operations’ (SGL for USaR) is to provide technological support to ensure the most effective use is made of the time available to rescue teams.

Time is the critical parameter for the rescue of victims buried under collapsed buildings. There is normally a 24-hour window when people who are injured and trapped can be saved, followed by a three-day period when trapped but uninjured victims can be successfully rescued.

The prime objective of the project is to deliver a prototype portable “FIRSTt” responder device that integrates sensors, images, sound and chemical analysis for the early location of entrapped people and dead bodies.

The European Robot Initiative for Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs in Manufacturing (Project SMERobotTM)

The SMERobot project aims to develop a new generation of affordable, versatile and human-friendly robots, which will be suitable for deployment in smaller enterprises handling shorter runs with frequent changeovers.

An entirely new, modular and interactive generation of robots which, in addition to being quick to install and easy to operate, will also help to make European SMEs more competitive thanks to their cost-effective design.

Virtual reality you can reach out and touch (IMMERSENCE Project)

A team of European researchers supported by the European Union has “virtually” teleported real objects through cyberspace, touched things in virtual reality and even felt the movements of a virtual dance partner. Advances in haptic technology and a new approach to generating virtual reality (VR) content are helping to create virtual experiences that are far more realistic and immersive than anything achieved before. Not only do users see and hear their virtual surroundings, objects and avatars, but they can touch them as well, paving the way for new applications in tele-presence, tele-medicine, industrial design, gaming and entertainment.

Doctors, for example, could use it to treat patients remotely, physiotherapists could use it for training and rehabilitation and industrial designers could collaborate remotely by virtually “teleporting” touchable digital mock-ups of designs over the internet. The research will also help in the development of cognitive robots that are better able to interact with humans.

ISAFRUIT (Increasing fruit consumption, reducing pesticide use and delivering high quality products) – FP6 project

The results of the ISAFRUIT FP6 project will help reduce the use of pesticides, increase the competitiveness of Europe's fruit industry - which should ultimately feed into higher quality and lower prices for consumers - and allow families to be happier about what they are putting into their children's mouths. 65 partners, including 40 University and research centres and 20 SMEs have participated.

One of the major findings of ISAFRUIT is initial nutritional studies – the first comprehensive and quantitative studies using humans rather than rats - which show that two apples (300gr) a day can help reduce cholesterol by 10% and that a regular consumption of fruits decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 4-11% per 100 gram. 

Other results include:

  • Identification of key allergens, to help in identifying and creating "allergy free" fruit varieties;

  • Improved cultivation methods to better use fertiliser and pest control products: including a prototype fruit tree sprayer to reduce use of pesticides, with real-time sensors detecting disease exposed leaf areas and focusing spray there;

  • New, precise hot water treatments to replace post-harvest pesticide sprays. As well as replacing pesticides with chemical free procedures, these treatments can reduce fruit rot by 80%, increase shelf-life, reduce waste and also cut salmonella and e-coli risk

  • Mapping of genes to allow creation of new fruit-based bioactive compounds and to improve fruit quality 

  • New production technologies such as new cultivars, food processors and fruit storage equipment.

  • Development of new and more appealing dried fruit products, for example to replace sweet consumption by fruit consumption among young people.

The purely economic benefits - let alone the health and societal benefits - will over time far outweigh the €13.8 million EU investment in the project

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