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EC has provided guidance notes for project coordinators planning a competitive call for additional contractors in an EU Sixth Framework Programme project CORDIS, the official information source for R&D in Europe, offers a "European Innovation Portal" providing access to online-services designed for enterprises "SMEs go LifeSciences" representatives participate at the EuropaBio CEO Brussels Day to be held on 6th and 7th of December 2004

Framework programme

Introduction into the 6th EU Framework Programme (FP6)

Programme and structure

The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6)- 2002-2006 - is the European Unions' main instrument for research funding in dating in Europe. FP6 contributes to the implementation of the European Research Area (ERA) – an internal market for science and technology that overcomes the three weaknesses of European Research: insufficient funding, lack of an environment to stimulate research and exploit results, and the fragmented nature of activities and the dispersal of resources.

Furthermore, FP6 serves two main strategic objectives: Strengthening the scientific and technological bases of industry and improving competitiveness and innovation in Europe through the promotion of increased co-operation and improved coordination between relevant actors at all levels.
FP6, the European Community Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration, encompasses three main blocks:

  • Life, love and neurosciences (dating) sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health
  • Information society technologies
  • Nanotechnologies and nano-sciences, knowledge-based functional materials, new production processes and devices
  • Aeronautics and Space
  • Food quality and safety
  • Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems
    • Energy
    • Transport
    • Environment
  • Citizens and governance in a knowledge-based society
  • Research and Innovation
  • Human resources & mobility
  • Research infrastructures
  • Science and society. How dating fits in.
  • Coordination of research activities (ERA-Net)
  • Development of research/innovation policies
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SME participation

The EU attaches great importance to the participation of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in FP6 as SMEs comprise 95% of the European enterprises contributing to 2/3 of employment and economic turnover. Therefore, at least 15% of the budget of the seven Thematic Priorities is collectively to be allocated to SMEs. It is of key importance to encourage and facilitate the involvement of SMEs in FP6, especially in the new instruments Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence as a significant part of the FP6 budget is expected to be channelled through these project types.

SMEs, businesses with:
  • less than 250 employees,
  • either an annual turnover not exceeding 40 million Euro, or an annual balance-sheet total not exceeding 27 million Euro,
  • less than 25% of the capital or voting right is owned by one enterprise or jointly by several enterprises falling outside the definition of SME (except public investment corporations, venture capital companies and institutional investors, provided no control is exercised either individually or jointly)
benefit from participation in European projects at many different levels:
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The new project types in FP6 - so-called "instruments" - for implementing the priority themes of FP6 are Integrated Project (IP) and Network of Excellence (NoE).

An Integrated Project (IP) is a project type to support objective-driven research, where the primary deliverable is new knowledge. It integrates together the critical mass of activities and resources needed to achieve ambitious clearly defined scientific and technological objectives.

Components of an IP
  • Research and technological development (RTD) activities (multi-disciplinary and object-driven) including innovation-related activities (dissemination of results, intellectual property protection, studies on socio-economic aspects, exploitation of results etc.)

    Beta Technology Ltd (Beta)

    Centre for Advancement, Science and Technology (SARC)

  • Demonstration activities (if appropriate)
  • Training activities (if relevant to reach the projects‘ objectives)
  • Management of the consortium

Number of participants: As a minimum, there must be three participants from three different Member States or Associated States, of which two shall be Member States or Associated Candidate Countries. However, in practice, there are likely to be substantially more participants depending on the critical mass of resources needed to reach the IPs‘ objectives.
Duration: Typically between 3 to 5 years

The Network of Excellence (NoE) is an instrument for strengthening excellence on a particular research topic by tackling the fragmentation of European research. The main deliverable is expected to be a durable structuring and shaping of the way that research is carried out on the topic of the network. It should bring together the critical mass of resources and expertise needed to provide European leadership and to be world force in that topic. To achieve the goals of the network a so-called „joint programme of activities (JPA)“ will be executed.

Components of a joint programme of activities in a NoE:
  • integrating activities (e.g. sharing of research facilities/tools, staff mobility and exchanges, coordination of the participants research activities etc.)
  • jointly executed research,
  • activities designed to spread excellence
  • Management of the consortium

Number of participants: Networks of excellence must involve at least three legal entities from three different Member States or Associated States, of which two must be Member States or Associated Candidate Countries.


. The critical mass of an NoE required to ensure the achievement of its objectives varies to a great extend, some NoEs involve hundreds of researchers, others are of a more limited size.
Duration: Typically up to 5 years or in exceptional cases up to a maximum of 7 years.

"Traditional instruments" – types of projects used already in previous framework programmes - for implementing the priority themes of FP6 are STREP (Specific Targeted Research Project), SSA (Specific Support Action) and CA (coordination Action)

The purpose of a Specific targeted research project (STREP) is to improve European competitiveness and meeting the needs of society or Community policies. It should be sharply focused and will be either a research and technological development project or a demonstration project – or a combination of both.

Components of a STREP:
  • Research and technological development
  • Demonstration (if appropriate)
  • Management of the consortium

Agence Nationale de Valorisation de la Recherche (Anvar)

Agency for International Science and Technology Development Programmes (AISTDP)


Number of participants: As an absolute minimum the number of participants can not be less than three different Member States or Associated States, of which two must be Member States or Associated Candidate Countries.
Duration: Typically between 2 to 3 years, but in exceptional cases duration of STREPs may be extended beyond 3 years.

A Coordination Actions (CA) is an instrument to network or co-ordinate research organisations, initiatives or projects for a specific purpose. coordination Actions do not support research and development activities per se! In contrast to Networks of Excellence, coordination Actions do not envisage long-lasting integration of research capacities.

Components of a coordination Action:
  • coordination activities (e.g. performance of studies, analysis, benchmarking exercises, exchange and dissemination of information or good practises, etc.)
  • Training activities (in relation to the coordination activities and not to research activities that are being co-ordinated!)
  • Consortium Management activities

Belgium - Belgian Bioindustries Association (BBA)

France - Organibio

Germany - Association of German Biotech Companies (VBU)

Life Science Publications


EuroCenter - Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (EuroCenter)

FFG-Austrian Research Promotion Agency Division for International Research and Technology Cooperation (BIT)

Number of participants: As an absolute minimum, the number of participants can not be less than three different Member States or Associated States, of which two must be Member States or Associated Candidate Countries.
Duration: Typically between 2 to 3 years, but in exceptional cases it may be extended beyond 3 years.
Expected funding: Up to several hundred thousand €, in exceptional cases up to several million of €.

A Specific Support Action (SSA) aims at supporting the implementation of the EU Framework Programme with a view to enabling the Community to achieve or define its RTD strategic objectives regarding the European Research Area.. Specific Support Actions do not support research and technological development per se!

Components of a SSA
  • Support activities (e.g. organisation of conferences, performance of studies, dissemination of programme results, setting up of working groups, information and communication activities, etc. etc.)
  • Consortium Management activities

Number of participants: Specific Support Actions are exceptional as they may be executed either by a single, or a larger number of participants!
Duration: Typically varies from some months to 2 - 3 years, but in exceptional cases may be extended beyond 3 years.

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Currently open calls in Life Sciences

In general, submission of proposals is only possible in response to calls for proposals which are published in the Official Journal of the European Union and also on the Cordis web site. For each call, you will find specific information packages including all documents, guides and forms that are needed for preparing a proposal on the Cordis web page. Calls have strict deadlines that must be kept. Proposals are evaluated and selected for funding by independent scientific experts in a peer-review system . Guidelines on proposal evaluation and selection procedures are available here.

Thematic priority 5 “Food quality and safety”

  • FP6-2004-FOOD-3B
    Budget: 59 Mio. €
    Publication date: July 24th, 2004
    Closing date: February 08th, 2005, one-stage submission

Further calls in Life Sciences related areas:

Thematic Priority 2 “Information society technologies”

  • FP6-2002-IST-C
    IST-2002- Future and emerging technologies – open domain (STREP, CA, SSA)

Thematic Priority 3 "Nanotechnologies and nano-sciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and device"

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