What is FP7?
FP7 is the short name for the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. This is the EU's main instrument for funding research in Europe and it will run from 2007-2013, with the intention of addressing all scientific disciplines. FP7 has been designed to complement the achievements of its predecessor (FP6) in relation to the creation of a European Research Space (ERA) and taking them further beyond, towards a European society and an economy of knowledge.
FP7 is made up of four main programmes: Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities; each of which is in itself the main subject of a “specific programme”. Moreover, a “specific programme" has been created for the Common Research Centre (non-nuclear activities), and another one for research and training activities in nuclear matter by Euratom. For more information, please visit the FP7 Web Page. To keep up-to-date on the latest information, you can register to receive e-mail notifications on FP7 news.
ERA’s purpose is to create an “internal market” for research; a space where knowledge, researchers and technology can freely circulate so as to increase cooperation, promote competence and enhance the allocation of resources. This could be achieved by restructuring the networking of European research; specifically by improving coordination of activities and research policies in each country. ERA has been described by the European Commission as “pivotal to securing Europe's economic and competitive future”. For more information, please visit http://cordis.europa.eu/era/.
A wide range of organizations and individuals are eligible to participate in the Seventh Framework Programme: Universities, Research Centres, Small and Medium Businesses (PYMEs), public administration entities, and individuals, from anywhere in the world. All of them have the opportunity of participating in FP7. Participation rules vary according to the research initiative in question.
How can you participate in FP7?
In order to participate, proposals must be submitted in response to open calls periodically launched by the European Commission under each of the four FP7 Programmes and their thematic fields.
Participation must be through association with an equivalent European institution with which a consortium is established. This consortium must have a minimum of three participating institutions from different Member States and one institution from a third country, such as Chile. Eligible institutions may be public or private. The established consortium must always be coordinated by an institution from a Member State, and will have to submit a proposal that is consistent with the priority fields and modalities established the in European thematic calls of the FP7 and its different programmes. Specific participation of third countries, such as Chile, is open for every area of FP7, except for restrictions that will be published in each specific call.
What is the participation period?
To facilitate the participation of interested Chilean counterparts, the CHIEP-CONICYT Liaison Office -the National Contact Point (NCP) in Chile- may also be contacted to help Chilean participants in the European Framework Programmes. The liaison Office is located within the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research – CONICYT.
How can I find partners?
Open calls are launched periodically -two or three times a year- by the European Commission, specifically by its General Direction of Research. Calls are published through its wide information system, CORDIS, requesting submission of proposals for virtually all the activities included in the 4 Programmes of FP7.
Use the CORDIS Partners Service. This service helps researchers find future partners to participate in R+D programmes financed by the EU. You can either search for partners or enter an Association Profile. For more information, visit the Partners FAQ page.
Likewise, you can contact the Liaison Offices for the European Union in the countries in the Region:
- In Argentina, the ABEST Office http://www.abest.secyt.gov.ar/
- In Brazil, the B.BICE Office http://bbice.cgee.org.br/
- In Chile, the CHIEP-CONICYT Office www.chiep.cl
- In Mexico the UE-MEXCYT Office http://www.conacyt.mx/uemexcyt/
European calls are usually joined by a Guide for Applicants, which explains in detail each step in the elaboration of a proposal. Proposals have a unique methodology and writing method that facilitate its writing as long as the approach and expected results and impact are absolutely clear. The Chilean counterpart of a proposal can only participate in some components. Generally, one of the participants submits the first draft of the proposal, to which the other participants contribute until the process is finished with a unified, clear and coherent proposal. This proposal will be submitted to the European Union by its coordinator in the date established in the call in question.
What is the role of the project “coordinator” in FP7?
The proposal coordinator is the representative of the consortium before the European Commission. They are responsible for submitting all the documentation requested during the first stage. They negotiate the project’s final phase, and receive financial contribution from the Commission and distribute it among the partners. Likewise, they are responsible for submitting activities accountability reports, such as the financial report, to the Commission on the defined deadlines. To sum up, the coordinator is responsible for managing and coordinating the overall performance of the project.
What and how much is financed by the European Commission?
Every financing scheme features eligible costs. In general, expenses financed by the European Union are the following:
• Staff expenses
• Travel allowances
• Minor equipment expenses (redemption)
• Consumption expenses
• General research expenses
Projects financed are enormous research projects organised in networks, in association with European counterparts and for sums higher than 2 million Euros per project. The usual length of these projects is three years. The financial contribution from Europe is usually 75% of the project's eligible costs, except for private businesses that do not belong to small and medium businesses (PYMEs). In such case, only 50% of the cost will be financed; the local counterpart will have to provide the other 25%. Such 25% may be valued pursuant to the structure of the Chilean component in the project.
What are the evaluation criteria for a proposal?
The general criteria to be considered for a research proposal of excellence in association with European peers are: coherence, pertinence, excellence and relevance.
• Coherence with the theoretical basis the objectives set out in the call. In this regard, it is recommended to form a consortium or network of counterpart institutions to make up a coherent group of excellence, in which every participant plays a specific role. This way, a coherent and clearly formulated proposal (quality of the consortium, quality of management and the budgetary proposal) should be submitted.
• Consistency with the goals and theoretical basis of the specific thematic field defined by the “Work Programmes” or other equivalent thematic document.
• In FP7, an extraordinarily competitive programme, the excellence of participating institutions (scientific quality of the project) will be evaluated.
• Likewise, relevance of the proposal in regard to the objectives set out, and the potential economic-productive, and scientific and social impact of the proposal, will be evaluated.
Every proposal, whether approved or rejected, receives an evaluation report from the European Commission (Evaluation Summary Report), which shows the external evaluators’ opinion on each selection criteria, and the score for each of this criteria (a maximum of 5 points per criterion). These reports are sent to the proposals coordinators within 3 to 4 months from submission of the proposal. If the evaluation was positive, coordinators will receive an invitation letter to commence the Contract negotiation process between the European Commission and the participants.
How long does it take to receive financing after the proposal has been submitted?
The whole process, from submission of the proposal until reception of the first payment for the project, may take a total of 12 months. Such payment is sent in Euros, for which a bank account in Euros must be opened so as to assure an appropriate financial follow-up.
Although after 3 or 4 months the result of the evaluation process is received, a new version of the project must be submitted after 2 more months. This new version must incorporate the various observations made by the panel of external evaluators, and a budgetary realignment. Once the negotiation process has finished based on the final version, the execution of the Agreement between the Commission and the participants is started. The length of this process will vary depending on the amount of participating institutions.
Why is a country like Chile interested in participating in FP7?
Participating in a network or consortium for developing research of mutual interest and benefit, under the principle of equality with European peers and eventually from other third countries with a prominent scientific and technological excellence, is undoubtedly highly interesting for a country as far-off as ours.
Links in fields of mutual interest are certainly broadened and strengthened, thus facilitating bilateral and multilateral joint research initiatives. Likewise, knowledge on a specific field is strengthened, thanks to which new knowledge is incorporated and network work is conducted. Finally, knew knowledge is generated through a joint work of excellence that opens possibilities for joint publications and/or patenting in innovation issues.
Also, just as importantly, there is the possibility of developing relations of scientific cooperation with the European industry, participating in technological platforms of interest for Chile, or boosting the appropriate technological transfer to facilitate Chile’s productive development.
Where to begin?
• You have an idea or a vision about a research project.
• Consult FP7’s research guidelines.
• Search for other EU partners or participants from third countries who share your vision and with whom you can cooperate.
• Submit your application to the European Commission, pursuant to deadlines of the call for proposals and to the specific work programme.
• The European Commission guarantees an appropriate evaluation of the application by 3 to 7 independent evaluators, experts in that specific field.
• The Commission will notify the results of the evaluation. If they are positive, the Agreement negotiation process will start.
• Execution of the Agreement and initiation of the project.
You can also apply to become an evaluator.Visit: www.cordis.europa.eu/emmfp7
Who can I consult about intellectual property issues?
The IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) Helpdesk provides with a wide variety of support services for current and future EU contractors conducting research projects within the framework of community RDT projects. Offered services include free legal assistance for contractors on subjects related to intellectual property and contractual issues.