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FAQs

What is the 7th Framework Programme (FP7)?

The “Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development” (FPs) are the European Union’s main funding mechanism for supporting and encouraging interdisciplinary and collaborative research activities. Through FPs the EU offers financial support to research organisations, businesses as well as other public and private organisations of all sizes for collaborative research activities, so that they produce, share and use knowledge addressing common challenges and transform this knowledge into benefits for its citizens, businesses and industry. The FPs outline the EU research priorities for a period of 6-7 years and are structured in sub-programmes, each one addressing a specific research domain, while the financial support follows a “Call for Proposals” procedure.  Currently the 7th Framework Programme is operation (2007-2013), while the next one called “Horizon2020” is under way and the first funding opportunities (namely ‘Calls for Proposals”) are expected  to be launched by the end of 2013. 

For detailed information on the structure of FP7 or FP7 documents, terminology, and complete database on the FP7 issues please use the following links:

Download the FP7 in Brief document.

What is the success rate in FP7?

It depends, of course, but usually only a small percentage (10-20%) of submitted proposals is retained for negotiations. Yet this is not like it comes to nothing. Proposal preparation could be the opportunity to widen your network and help you build experience. Encountered problems will teach you more than you would think and the social and professional circle built from the experience will indeed be valuable as you try to successfully submit a proposal again in the future. Be prepared for some unsuccessful experiences and remember that collaboration is process requiring commitments to make a step forward. A number of examples exist when the joint proposal preparation led to the commercial contracts or to other types of research collaborations.

What are the NCPs?

NCP stands for National Contact Point. NCP’s main role is to provide information and guidance about FP7 calls, working programs, events, financial and legal rules, partners, networking, etc. to national researchers. NCP serves as a link between European Commission and national researchers. Each member States and Associated Countries appoints NCPs for particular FP7 theme or programme.

Network of National Contact Points (NCPs) for every country and each area of knowledge can be found on http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ncp_en.html.

Are legal entities from Western Balkan Countries eligible?

While FP7 participants can in principle be based anywhere, there are different categories of country which may have varying eligibility for different specific and work programmes:

  • MEMBER STATES - The EU-27;
  • ASSOCIATED COUNTRIES – with science and technology cooperation agreements that involved contributing to the framework programme budget;
  • CANDIDATE COUNTRIES – currently recognised as candidates for future accession;
  • THIRD COUNTRIES - the participation of organisations or individuals established in countries that are not Member States, candidates or associated should also be justified in terms of the enhanced contribution to the objectives of FP7.

 

For more details, you may download:

  1. the list of countries that have signed an "International Cooperation Agreement" with the EU
  2. the list of "International Cooperation Partner Countries" (ICPC)

How long does project cycle take, and what are the milestones"

Usually takes from six months up to one year from finding consortia until Grant Agreement (GA) is signed.  GA is a contract between European Commission (EC) and project partners. The first step is finding project partners and forming project consortia. Partners get assigned their tasks on the project and write the project proposal.  Usually, the project coordinator assigns tasks and writes the proposal, while other partners may contribute. When the proposal is finished the project coordinator submits it electronically.

The proposal evaluation usually takes around six months or more. When the Call for Proposals is closed, the EC assigns a panel of experts to evaluate each proposal.  Experts, independently of each other, evaluate each proposal. When the procedure is complete, all proposals that passed the Call’s threshold (am minimum score) are ranked. The evaluation process takes around three months.

If a project is highly raked, the project coordinator is called to negotiate with the EC all the details of the project and make any necessary improvements / changes based on the evaluation report.  Once all details are agreed, the Grant Agreement is signed and project partners start the technical work while they receive the first payment (as pre-financing).

So, from the day you decide to enter into consortia, until you receive the first payment, it will take from 6 months up to one year.

 

What are URF, PIC and LEAR?

The Unique Registration Facility (URF) allows online  allows online registration of newly participating organisations. Once registered, an  organisation receive a Participant Identification Code (PIC), which identifies them in their interactions with the Commission in FP7. This new tool thus facilitates in particular the submission of proposals and the negotiation procedure for grant agreements.

Organisations need to nominate a Legal Entity Appointed Representative (LEAR) to deal with these tools. LEAR is usually administrative person in organisation  central administration. Guidance and forms for appointing LEARs are available at http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/urf-lear_en.html. Further information about the new registration procedure can be found at http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/urf-pic_en.html.

 

How IPR are assigned within consortia?

In general, it is discussed and settle among the partners prior to sign Grant agreement. The guide for IPR right can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/docs/ipr_en.pdf.

 

What are the ‘Funding schemes’?

Funding  schemes refer to types of project. There are six types:

  1. Collaborative projects (CP), which are focused on specific scientific and technological results. They are carried out by consortia made up of participants from different countries, and from industry academia. They are research projects. There are two types of CP: "Small or medium-scale focused research actions" (STREP) (typical duration of 2-3 years and with relatively small consortia of 6-10 partners) and "Large-scale integrating projects" (IP) (comprised of bigger consortia and last up to 5 years).

  2. Networks of excellence (NoE), which are designed for research institutions with aim to create  virtual research centre.

  3. Coordination and support actions (CSA). This scheme does not cover research itself, but the coordination and networking of projects, programmes and policies. For instance, BALCON is for instance CSA project.
  4. Individual projects, which are carried out by individual national or multinational research teams, lead by principal investigator, funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

  5. Support for training and career development of researchers, which are aimed to support training and career development for researchers from the across EU, through a range of support actions named after Marie Curie.

  6. Research for the benefit of specific groups – in particular SMEs. In those projects the research is carried out by the universities, research centers or other legal entities for the benefit of specific groups, particular SMEs. In other words, SME does not carry out research, rather the results of it.

How I will know when a Call for Proposal is issued?

All Calls are announced in the EU’s Official Journal  and in annual work programmes, The annual work programmes and full texts of the Calls are published on the FP7 section of CORDIS:

What is EPSS?

Electronic Proposal Submission Service (EPSS) is the obligatory web based electronic online tool, used as an obligatory channel for submission proposals. Proposals may be submitted at any time after Call opens until the deadline.

What happens after I submit my proposal?

All submitted proposals are evaluated by a panel of independent evaluators, who are recognized specialists in the relevant fields. The panel will check the proposals against the published criteria and evaluates them. The key criteria are explained in the Guide for applicants, which is available at http://www.cordis.europa.eu/fp7.

I am an experienced researcher from WBC country. May I take part in FP7 projects as an project evaluator?

Yes. To register as an expert or project evaluator, you need to fill in the form in the FP7 Experts Database. Go to the FP7 Experts Management Module at https://cordis.europa.eu/emmfp7/index.cfm.

To become an FP7 expert, may I register on my own or I have to be proposed by my organization?

There are two options. The first one is to register individually. If you go to the address https://cordis.europa.eu/emmfp7 you can click on the link "Register as an Expert". The second option is to be recommended by your organization. In the last case, an organization may submit a list of names of persons that it recommends as experts.

What is HORIZON 2020?

It is the name of the next FP cycle, which run from  2014 to 2020 and which is focused on research and innovation. All relevant details and specific of the programme can be found on
http://ec.europa.eu/research/horizon2020/index_en.cfm?pg=h2020.


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