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Building the knowledge economy - Budget: 4.2 billion EUR (2007 - 2013)

This programme is designed to help strengthen and optimise the knowledge and innovation capacities that Europe needs if it is to become a thriving knowledge-based economy. By strengthening research abilities, innovation capacity and European competitiveness, the programme is stimulating Europe’s full research potential and knowledge resources.

The programme consist of 7 specific are...

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This programme is designed to help strengthen and optimise the knowledge and innovation capacities that Europe needs if it is to become a thriving knowledge-based economy.
By strengthening research abilities, innovation capacity and European competitiveness, the programme is stimulating Europe’s full research potential and knowledge resources.

The programme consist of 7 specific areas where new, innovation actions must be undertaken, including Research Infrastructures, Research for the benefit of SMEs, Regions of Knowledge, Research Potential, Science in Society, Development of Research policy and International Cooperation activities.

1 Research Infrastructures

* Support to existing research infrastructures

An action to optimise the use and development of existing research infrastructures, in all
fields of science and technology, including ICT-based infrastructures, and to ensure the access
of research teams from across the EU to these infrastructures.

* Support to new research infrastructures (or major upgrades of existing ones)
Here, the aim is to help to create in all fields of science and technology new research infrastructures
of pan-European interest needed by the European scientific community in order to remain at
the forefront of the advancement of research

Modern Infrastructures have significant socio-economic impact, for example where pan-European research infrastructures have their site, often "technology clusters" of associated industry or so-called
technology parks can be found. Such strategic centres for transfer of knowledge offer either
better possibilities for interdisciplinary research contacts or greater attraction to high-tech firms.
As a result, different regions often compete to attract new installations and this can be an
opportunity to also increase the public-private interaction in the funding of research activities.

2 Research for the benefit of SMEs

Throughout FP7, SMEs will actively be encouraged to participate in all research actions,
especially those under the Themes of the Cooperation programme.

The proposed rules for Participation in FP7 specify a funding rate of 75% for research and
development activities of SMEs, rather than the 50% currently applicable in FP6. This should
make it more attractive for SMEs to participate in the Framework Programme by lowering their
financial burden. Furthermore, the current principle of 'collective financial responsibility' is
replaced in the proposal of FP7 with a guarantee fund, which would cover the financial risks of
defaulting project participants.

The specific SME programme provides financial support to SMES or SMEs associations that need to outsource research and technological development to research providers (universities and research centres) with the view of acquiring intellectual property rights and ownership of the project results.

Two formulas (Research for SMES and Research for SMEs associations) replace the former activities « Collaborative research” and “Cooperative research” of FP6.

3 Regions of Knowledge

The “Regions of Knowledge” activity will encourage cross-border regional co-operation in research, irrespective of whether the regions concerned fall under the convergence or the regional
competitiveness objective (Structural Funds).

These regions gather regional actors playing a role in enhancing science and technology development (universities, research centres, private companies, public bodies, etc.). Support is given to projects aiming at joint analysis of research agendas and at mentoring regions with a less developed research profile by more experienced partners.

4 Research potential in the Convergence regions

Europe needs to exploit its research potential, particularly in the less advanced regions that are
remotely situated from the European core of research and industrial development. A strategy of
inclusiveness can potentially benefit the social fabric as well as the research community and
the industry, locally and at the level of the European Research Area.

5 Science in Society

'Science in Society' aims to bridge the gap between science professionals and those without a formal science education and to promote a taste for scientific culture in the public at large. Some of the initiatives, therefore, are aimed at triggering the curiosity of young people for science and
at reinforcing science education at all level

Financed activities can take the form of collaborative research, networking, joint studies, exchanges, organisation of public events, awards, enquiries and data collection, very often in the framework of international partnerships.

6 Coherent development of research policies

The following activities will be supported during FP7:
* Monitoring, analysis and impact assessment of public research policies and
industrial strategies. The development of indicators will provide information and
evidence in the design, implementation and evaluation in the trans-national
coordination of policies.
* Strengthening, on a voluntary basis, the coordination of research policies in a
twofold manner: first, through actions supporting the implementation of the open
method of co-ordination (OMC) and second, through bottom-up trans-national
cooperation initiatives undertaken at national or regional level on issues of common issues.

7 International cooperation

This cooperation aims notably the Candidate countries, the Mediterranean countries, Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Developing countries and emerging countries. International cooperation actions
Specific cooperation actions in each thematic area of the Cooperation programme are dedicated to third world countries in cases of mutual interest; to cooperate on the particular topics selected based on their scientific and technological levels and needs. These actions are closely associated with either the bilateral cooperation agreements, or multilateral dialogues between the EU and these countries.
The People and Capacities programme also cover international cooperation through individual mobility and research capacities in the Neighbour countries.

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