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More EU money put into research

On 9 July the European Commission announced the amount allocated to the final set of calls for proposals to be organised under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7). The package, receiving EUR 8.1 billion – the lion’s share of the total budget for research and innovation agreed for the year 2013 and worth EUR 10.8 billion – sets also a new record in annual research investment by the EU institutions. The 2013 budget represents a 16% increase compared to the 2012 budget, with the total funding for the FP7 programme amounting to EUR 55 billion over the concluding seven-year period.

The final round of FP7 calls aspires to build ”a bridge to Horizon 2020” – the future generation of EU programmes for research and innovation (2014-2020). As a result, EUR 4.8 billion are dedicated to thematic priorities in the areas of water management,  better use of raw materials, efficiency in the processing of biological resources, creation of smart cities, brain research and anti-microbial resistance. Special support will be given to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), through a package of EUR 1.2 billion. The objective of making Europe the top destination for world-class researchers is supported through a funding allocation of EUR 2.7 billion, of which EUR 1.75 billion will be administered by the European Research Council (ERC) for the award of individual research grants (for cutting-edge research) and EUR 963 million through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, which fund researchers’ training and mobility. The governing body of the ERC – the Scientific Council – decided that the budget will be split between its three scientific domains as follows: 44% for Physical Sciences and Engineering, 39% for Life Sciences, and only 17%  for Social Sciences and Humanities.

The only areas that will register a budget decrease in 2013 are transport and the ERA-NET cooperation projects, the latter being awarded no money in the next year at all.

The call is expected to attract an additional investment of EUR 6 billion from public and private bodies, to create 210 000 jobs in the short-term and to generate, over a fifteen-year period, additional economic growth worth EUR 75 billion.

European Commission European Research Council (ERC)