Facilitate Collaborate Innovate

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The EC's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP7) ran from 2007 to 2013 and was the direct predecessor or Horizon 2020. This page is intended to provide an overview of the FP7 structure and to give some background context to H2020. If you currently hold an FP7 award and wish to find out more about post-award matters please see the right-hand link ‘managing your FP7 projects’.


Areas supported All subject areas
Types of Funding Cooperation programme
Ideas programme (European Research Council)
People programme (Marie Curie Actions)
Capacities programme

The Co-operation Programme

The Co-operation Programme supported all types of research activities carried out by consortia of universities, industry, research centres and public authorities across the European Union as well as the rest of the world in transnational co-operation.

The Programme had 10 research themes. The EC set the research priorities relevant to each theme. The Co-operation Programme also covered Joint Technology Initiatives. Projects typically requiring a minimum of 3 partners from 3 different EU Member States or Associated Countries and lasted between 3 - 5 years, but funding requirements varied. Funding was available for research projects (Collaborative Projects or Networks of Excellence) and/or for networking activities (Coordination and Support Actions).

Ideas Programme (European Research Council)

The Ideas Programme's European Research Council (ERC) awards operated on a 'bottom-up' basis across all research fields (excluding nuclear energy research), without predetermined priorities. Excellence was the sole criterion for ERC funding, and the only evaluation criteria are the excellence of the PI and the excellence of the proposed research project.

The three main funding schemes - Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants - funded projects led by a Principal Investigator (PI) and (if they wish) their team. The Synergy Grant scheme enabled a small group of two to four Principal Investigators and their teams to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources in new ways, in order to jointly address research problems.

The Proof of Concept scheme provided additional funding to establish proof of concept, identify a development path and an Intellectual Property Rights strategy for ideas arising from an ERC-funded project. The scheme was only open to current ERC award holders.

People Programme (Marie Curie Actions)

The People Programme was implemented through a set of Marie Curie Actions, which addressed researchers at all stages of their professional lives. They provided opportunities for individual researchers and organisations to develop their research skills and training capacity, by building on industrial and academic expertise within Europe and across the world, through staff exchanges, secondments, postgraduate and postdoctoral fellowships.
A key feature of Marie Curie Actions was the 'mobility' requirement, and the vast majority of fellows funded under the programme were expected to move from one country to another, subject to specific requirements for the different schemes. The Actions operated on a 'bottom-up' basis across all research fields (excluding nuclear energy research), without predetermined priorities.

Initial Training Networks (ITN) scheme provided training for doctoral and junior post-doctoral researchers. Intra-European (IEF), International Incoming (IIF) and International Outgoing (IOF) Fellowships funded individual post-doctoral positions for 12 - 36 months.

Career Integration Grants (CIG) provided top-up funding for researchers coming/returning to Oxford from abroad. The IRSES scheme funded international research staff exchanges, while the IAPP scheme funded staff exchanges between industry and academia.

Capacities Programme

The Capacities Programme operated across a number of research themes and some parts were structured in a more 'bottom-up' way than the Co-operation Programme. It aimed to enhance research and innovation capacities throughout Europe, and to ensure their optimal use. Within the Capacities Programme there were several main activities where funding was provided:

The Research Infrastructures scheme aimed to optimise the use and development of existing European research infrastructures and to help to create new European research infrastructures.

The Regions of Knowledge scheme aimed to increase the capacity of European regions to develop their commitment in research by, for example, improving links between researchers and the local business communities or transnational and cross border co-operations in areas of common interest.

The Science in Society scheme sought to encourage the integration of science and research practice and policies into broader European society.

The Research for the Benefit of SMEs scheme funded collaborative projects with predominant demonstration components aimed to support SMEs.

The Research Potential scheme funded collaborative projects aimed at developing research entities in the EU’s convergence and outermost regions.

Activities for International Cooperation (INCO) was aimed at bilateral and bi-regional coordination of S&T policies and collaborations.