Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

The two main strategic objectives of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) are to strengthen the scientific and technological base of European industry and to encourage its international competitiveness. These broad objectives have been grouped into four main categories:

  • Cooperation
  • Ideas
  • People
  • Capacities

For each type of objective, there is a specific programme that corresponds to a main area of EU research policy. All of these programmes work together to promote and encourage the creation of European poles of scientific excellence. 25% of FP7 activities are new. Among these are the new and autonomous European Research Council and the two thematic topics: security research and space. An enhanced national support structure has been put in place for FP7. The four main specific programmes are described below. 



The core of FP7 and its largest component by far, the Cooperation Programme, fosters collaborative research across Europe according to several key thematic areas. In this part of FP7, support is provided in a number of areas corresponding to major fields of knowledge and technology, where the highest quality research must be supported and strengthened to address European social, economic, environmental and industrial challenges. The bulk of this effort is directed towards improving industrial competitiveness. The overarching aim is to contribute to sustainable development. 



Through the Ideas Programme, it is the first time that an EU research programme is financing pure, investigative research at the cutting edge of science and technology. Such "basic research" is a key driver of wealth and social progress because it opens new opportunities for scientific and technological advancement. It is instrumental to the production of new knowledge leading to future applications and markets.



The People Programme provides support for research mobility and career development. Highly trained researchers are needed in Europe in order to advance science and underpin innovation, and to attract and sustain public and private investment in research. With growing global competition, the development of an open European labour market for researchers and the diversification of skills and career paths of researchers are crucial. Mobility, both transnational and intersectoral, is therefore a key component of the European Research Area. These actions are being implemented by a coherent set of Marie Curie actions, designed to help researchers build their skills and competences throughout their careers. In the FP7 People Programme, activities cover all stages of a researcher's professional life, from initial research training to lifelong learning and career development.



The Capacities Programme aims at enhancing research and innovation capacities throughout Europe and ensuring their optimal use. It has a budget of more than EUR 4 million to be used in seven broad areas:

  • Research infrastructures
  • Research for the benefit of SMEs
  • Regions of knowledge and support for regional research-driven clusters
  • Research potential of convergence regions
  • Science in society
  • Support to the coherent development of research policies
  • International cooperation

This specific programme also aims to support the coherent development of policies, complement the Cooperation Programme, contribute to EU policies and initiatives to improve the coherence and impact of Member State policies and find synergies with regional and cohesion policies, structural funds, education and training programmes and the CIP.


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EEA Seminar - 9 March 2023