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How to make synergies between the EU funds for innovation.

Central to the realisation of the goals of the Lisbon Agenda is the need to promote the knowledge economy, in particular through research, technological development and innovation (RTDI).

EU support for RTDI is provided mainly through the Seventh Research Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and the Structural Funds.

A combination of funds for your project.
When operating individually, these three funding sources already act as effective tools in support of RTDI. However, their value can be further enhanced by combining them. How can this be done? A practical guide and check-list are published on cordis website to demonstrate the synergies and complementarity between the 3 types of funding.

Three Funding options and instruments
When you have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, you can proceed to consider whether the Research Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the Structural Funds might offer possible solutions for your needs. Please note that, in addition to funding options, these instruments may offer other types of benefits, such as possibilities for networking or making use of information and other services provided. Depending on the research/innovation activity to which your idea relates, one or more of these instruments may be available to you.

Research: Framework Programme (FP7)
The 7th Research Framework Programme with a total budget of over € 50 billion for the period 2007-2013 is the main instrument at EU level specifically targeted at supporting research and development. It provides funding to co-finance research, technological development and demonstration projects based on competitive calls and independent peer review of project proposals. Support is available for collaborative and individual research projects as well as for the development of research skills and capacity. The successive Research Framework Programmes have played a lead role in multidisciplinary research and cooperative activities in Europe and beyond.

Innovation: Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)
The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme aims to foster the competitiveness of European enterprises and has a total budget of over € 3.6 billion for the period 2007-2013. Specific CIP programmes will promote innovation (including eco-innovation), foster business support services in the regions and better access to finance, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the main target, encourage a better take-up and use of information and communications technologies (ICT), help to develop the information society and promote the increased use of renewable energies and energy efficiency.

Regional development: Structural Funds (SF)
The purpose of the Structural Funds is to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion by reducing disparities in the level of development among regions and Member States. Among the many areas supported by the Structural Funds are R&D and innovation. The allocation of funds in a given Member State or region varies according to its level of development. However, most regions will have funding available from the Structural Funds in support of RTDI. EU investmentunder the Structural Funds for innovation and research in the period 2007-2013 will be above € 99 billion. For the poorer regions the co-financing and the access to innovative experience facilitated by the governance system characteristic of cohesion policy is crucial for this purpose.

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