The current 7th Framework Programme (FP7) was adopted by the Council on 18th December 2006, fully operates from 1st January 2007 and will expire in 2013. With its total budget of around 54 billion EUR it is the largest cross-border research programme word-wide. The FP7 is designed to build on the achievements of its predecessor towards the creation of the European Research Area, and carry it further towards the development of the knowledge economy and society in Europe.
The Seventh Framework Programme is organised in four programmes corresponding to four basic components of European research. In addition there is a Specific Programme for the Joint Research Centre (non-nuclear activities) and one for EURATOM nuclear research and training activities.
This specific programme supports the whole range of research activities carried out by different research bodies in trans-national cooperation and aims to gain or consolidate leadership in key scientific and technology areas. The budget of EUR 32 413 million will be devoted to supporting cooperation between universities, industry, research centres and public authorities throughout the EU and beyond.
The Cooperation programme is sub-divided into ten most important fields of knowledge and technology excellence, where is particularly important to improve Europe's ability to address its social, economic, public health, environmental and industrial challenges of the future.
The objective of this specific programme is to enhance excellence, creativity and dynamism of European research at the frontier of knowledge in all scientific and technological fields, including engineering, socio-economic sciences and the humanities. It suports the wholly investigator-driven or 'bottom-up' frontier research to open new opportunities for scientific and technological advance and therefore to produce new knowledge leading to future applications and markets. The implementation of the IDEAS programme is ensured by the European Research Council (ERC).
Quantitative and qualitative strengthening of human resources in research and technology in Europe by taking advantage of a coherent set of Marie Curie actions; enhancing inter/multidisciplinarity and encouraging the international and intersectoral mobility.
The objective of this specific programme is to support research infrastructures, research for the benefit of SMEs and the research potential of European regions (Regions of Knowledge) as well as to stimulate the realisation of the full research potential (Convergence Regions) of the enlarged Union and to build an effective and democratic European Knowledge society.