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Framework Programme

The EU's Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development is the main funding and legal instrument of the EU's policy on R&D. It has two main strategic objectives:

  • To strengthen the scientific and technological foundation of European industry.
  • To enhance its international competitiveness by promoting research that supports EU policies.

There have been several Framework Programmes since 1984, the budgets and features of which have been developed to meet the scientific and technological priorities of the European Union for a certain period.

The current Framework Programme is the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The Programme is set to last seven years (2007-2013) and has a total budget of over 50.50 billion euros. It is also the primary funding instrument of the European Research Area (ERA).

Most of this budget goes to grants for research agents all over Europe and beyond in order to co-finance research, technological development and demonstration projects. Grants are determined on the basis of calls for proposals and a peer review process, which are highly competitive. In order to complement national research programmes, activities funded from FP7 must have a 'European added value'.

FP7 is structured in four 'Specific Programmes':

  • COOPERATION: It fosters collaborative research across Europe and other partner countries through projects by transnational consortia of industry and academia. It represents two thirds of the overall budget. It includes ten key thematic areas: health, food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology; information and communication technologies; nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies; energy; environment (including climate change); transport (including aeronautics); socio-economic sciences and the humanities; space; and security.
  • IDEAS: It supports 'frontier research' solely on the basis of scientific excellence. Research may be carried out in any area of science or technology, including engineering, socio-economic sciences and the humanities. It is implemented through the European Research Council (ERC).
  • PEOPLE: It is devoted to human resources. It includes grants for young researchers; fellowships and career development; industry-academia partnerships, and awards for excellence. One of its greatest achievements is the Marie Curie actions.
  • SKILLS: It funds improvements in research infrastructures, R&D activities in SMEs, and the development of knowledge and research clusters. In general, it strengthens European research aimed at a prosperous knowledge-based economy.

The Instituto de Salud Carlos III is a national contact point for disseminating the EU's 7th Framework Programme and for the participation of National Health System researchers in FP7 programmes and calls for proposals related to biomedical sciences and health.


Horizon 2020- Programme for Research and Innovation 2014-2020. This replaces the Seventh Framework Programme, which expires in 2013. The EU proposes this programme, funded with 80 billion euros, to ensure that research is translated into products and services. Horizon 2020 will make it easier to turn scientific advances into innovative products and services that make people's everyday lives easier and create business opportunities.

The name of the new programme for funding research and innovation in the EU - Horizon 2020 - reflects the aim of contributing ideas, growth and employment for the future of EuropeEurope 2020. Horizon 2020 will be a key tool for implementing the flagship project 'Innovation Union' Innovation Union, the fulfillment of the commitments embodied in it and responding to the conclusions of the European Council, on 4 February 2011, and to the Resolution of the European Parliament, on 12 May 2011, regarding the 'Innovation Union'.

Horizon 2020 brings together all present EU funding for research and innovation, particularly the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, the activities related to innovation in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, CIP and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, EIT.  

Most of the parties involved consider that this approach is the best way to move forward, and it has also been backed by the European Parliament, in its Resolution of 27 September 2011, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the European Research Area Committee.



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