European Research Area (ERA) is composed of all research and innovation activities, programmes and policies in Europe which involve a transnational perspective.
The Framework Programme contributes to the further development of ERA and its initiatives. The
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) runs from 2007 to 2013 and has a total budget of over € 50 billion. FP7 is formed of four Specific Programmes: Cooperation, Ideas (better known as the European Research Council), People (better known as Marie Curie Actions) and Capacities. Calls for proposals in support of these programmes are issued throughout the year.
Further information about the Framework Programme and current calls can be found on the European Commission
Research Participant Portal where comprehensive information about EU research can be found.
The next Framework Programme, ‘Horizon 2020’, will run from 2014 to 2020. The proposal for
Horizon 2020 brings together activities currently under FP7 with some aspects of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
Research Councils also participate in a number of
ERA-NET programmes. These were introduced as part of FP6 and are a mechanism that fosters collaborative working among national or regional agencies and research programmes.
There are many other funding programmes outside the Framework Programme. One significant programme, which focuses on education and vocational training, is the
Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013) which will become
Erasmus for All (2014-2020).
Planned changes to the way that
cohesion funds can be used will also ensure that there are more synergies with research and innovation funding under Horizon 2020.
The Research Councils are members of the European Science Foundation (ESF), an association of 67 Member Organisations devoted to research in 29 European countries. ESF is committed to achieving the highest quality science in Europe to drive progress in research and innovation, by helping its Member Organisations collaborate internationally and providing services to the research community.
The Research Councils are members of Science Europe, which is an association of European Research Funding Organisations (RFO) and Research Performing Organisations (RPO), based in Brussels. Science Europe promotes the collective interests of its Member Organisations and supports them in their efforts to foster European research. RCUK was closely engaged with discussions surrounding the qualified merger of ESF and EUROHORCs, which led to the creation of Science Europe. Professor Paul Boyle, CEO of ESRC, is currently the President of Science Europe.