In its plenary session today, the European Parliament gave its approval to the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) for 2007-2013. The decisions will still require the EU Council's approval. "Reaching the decisions of the Seventh Framework Programme has been one of the key targets during the Finnish EU Presidency. The Framework Programme is the EU's major financial instrument for supporting research and technological development. While promoting European competitiveness, it is also one of the key tools in the new broad-based approach to innovation policy, advocated by Finland", emphasises Finland's Minister of Trade and Industry Mauri Pekkarinen.
"European research co-operation in its various forms, of which the Framework Programme is the most important one, must produce European added value to measures taken at national level. I think that the Seventh Framework Programme plays a major role in creating pooled expertise beyond national resources and a critical mass necessary for success in global competition," states Minister Pekkarinen.
FP7 has been prepared in co-operation with the European Parliament and the European Commission since spring 2005. Each institution has had to make compromises along the way.
EU-funded research activitiesare carried out under the multiannual RTD Framework Programmes. The FP7, to be launched at the beginning of 2007, will run until 2013. The purpose of EU-funded research is to reinforce European expertise and competitiveness by promoting research, technological development and demonstration activities. Typically, the projects within FP7 will be implemented jointly with enterprises (including small and medium sized enterprises), research institutes and universities from several member states. The projects will be selected on the basis of expert evaluations.
At a total of EUR 54.6 billion, the FP7 budget is remarkably higher than before. After the Common Agricultural Policy and structural funds, FP7 is EU's largest financial instrument. In many respects, FP7 aims to continue the work of the current sixth Framework Programme. FP7 includes new, significant elements, such as the funding of basic research through the European Research Council. FP7 will also prioritise and place greater emphasis on the needs of industry and as a new way of implementing the Joint Technology Initiatives. FP7 is organised into ten themes, including health, biotechnology, information and communication technologies, energy, the environment, and nanotechnology. The framework programme will complement research activities carried out by individual member states.
Further information: Eeva-Liisa Kortekallio, Senior Adviser, MTI, tel. +358 50369 7602Timo Haapalehto, Counsellor, Finland's Permanent Representation in the European Union, Brussels, tel. +32473 5432 76Jari Heiniluoma, Counsellor, Ministry of Trade and Industry, tel. +358 50413 5520Petteri Kauppinen, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Education, tel. +358 40 520 0702