AMOUNTS AWARDED IN PREVIOUS YEARS TO OPEN TOPICS
In this part of the Seventh Framework Programme, support will be provided to transnational cooperation in different forms across the Union and beyond, in a number of thematic areas corresponding to major fields of knowledge and technology, where the highest quality research must be supported and strengthened to address European social, economic, environmental and industrial challenges.
The bulk of this effort will be directed towards improving industrial
competitiveness, with a research agenda that reflects the needs of users throughout Europe.
The overarching aim is to contribute to sustainable development.
The ten themes determined for Community action are the following:
2) Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology;
3) Information and Communication Technologies;
4) Nano-sciences, Nano-technologies, Materials and new Production Technologies;
6) Environment (including Climate Change);
7) Transport (including Aeronautics);
8) Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities;
These themes are broadly defined at relatively high level, such that they can adapt to evolving needs and opportunities that may arise during the lifetime of the Seventh Framework Programme. For each of them, a series of activities has been identified which indicates the broad lines envisaged for Community support. These activities have been identified on the basis of their contribution to Community objectives, including the transition to a knowledge-based society, the relevant European research potential and the added value of Community level intervention for these subjects.
Special attention will be paid to ensuring there is effective coordination between the thematic areas and to priority scientific areas which cut across themes, such as forestry research, cultural heritage, marine sciences and technologies.
Multidisciplinarity will be encouraged by joint cross-thematic approaches to research and technology subjects relevant to more than one theme, with joint calls being an important inter-thematic form of cooperation.
In the case of subjects of industrial relevance in particular, the topics have been identified relying, among other sources, on the work of different "European Technology Platforms" set up in fields where Europe's competitiveness, economic growth and welfare depend on important research and technological progress in the medium to long term.
European Technology Platforms bring together stakeholders, under industrial leadership, to define and implement a Strategic Research Agenda. This Framework Programme will contribute to the realisation of these Strategic Research Agendas where these present true European added value. European Technology Platforms, with the possible participation of regional research driven clusters, can play a role in facilitating and organising the participation of industry,
including SMEs, in research projects relating to their specific field, including projects eligible for funding under the Framework Programme.
The ten themes also include research needed to underpin the formulation, implementation and assessment of Community policies in many areas and the creation of an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, along with pre-normative and co-normative research relevant to improving interoperability and the quality of standards and their implementation, thereby also enhancing European competitiveness.
Special attention will be devoted to the coordination of aspects linked to rational and efficient use of energy within the Framework Programme and coordination with other Community policies and programmes.
Under each theme, beside these activities, two types of opportunities will be addressed in an open and flexible way:
— Future and Emerging Technologies: to support research aiming at identifying or further exploring new scientific and technological opportunities in a given field and/or in their combination with other relevant areas and disciplines through specific support for spontaneous research proposals, including by joint calls; to nurture novel ideas and radically new uses and to explore new options in research roadmaps, in particular those with a potential for
significant breakthroughs; adequate coordination with the activities carried out under the Ideas programme will be guaranteed in order to avoid overlap and ensure an optimum use of funding.
— Unforeseen policy needs: to respond in a flexible way to new policy needs that arise during the course of the Framework Programme, such as unforeseen developments or events requiring a quick reaction, for example, the new epidemics, emerging concerns in food safety or natural disaster response.
The dissemination and transfer of knowledge is a key added value of European research actions, and measures will be taken to increase the use of results by industry, policy makers and society.
Intellectual property rights must also be safeguarded, including in the context of support to combat counterfeiting.
Dissemination will be considered an integral task under all thematic areas, with appropriate restrictions for the security theme due to the confidentiality aspects of the activities, including through the funding of networking initiatives, seminars and events, assistance by
external experts and information and electronic services in particular CORDIS.
Complementarity and synergy between this programme and other Community programmes will be ensured. Actions to support innovation will be taken under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.
Particular attention should be paid to ensuring the adequate participation of SMEs (1), in particular knowledge-intensive SME in transnational cooperation. Concrete measures, including support actions to facilitate SME participation, will be taken throughout the "Cooperation" part of the programme in the framework of a strategy to be developed under each theme. These strategies will be accompanied by quantitative and qualitative monitoring against the objectives
set. The aim will be to enable at least 15% of the funding available under the "Cooperation" part of the programme to go to SMEs.
Support will also be provided to initiatives aimed at engaging the broadest possible public beyond the research community in the debate on scientific issues and research results, and to initiatives in the field of scientific communication and education, including the involvement, where appropriate, of civil society organisations or networks of such organisations.
The integration of the gender dimension and gender equality will be addressed in all areas of research.
Raising the competitiveness of European research requires that the potential across the whole European Research Area is fully unlocked.
Projects, aiming at providing scientific excellence, should be managed optimally with particular regard to the use of resources.
Across all these themes, support for trans-national cooperation will be implemented through:
— Collaborative research,
— Joint Technology Initiatives,
— Coordination of non-Community research programmes,
— International cooperation.