Negotiations on theEU's
largest funding instrument for R&D, theseventh Framework Programme
, concluded in Brussels yesterday with the Council of Ministers agreeing the £36bn programme.
The Council's agreement marks the final step in the process following the European Parliament's Second Reading deal on 30 November.
Announcing the agreement, Science Minister Malcolm Wicks said: 'Today we have reached a final agreement on the whole package of the 7th Framework Programme. This is a great achievement. It ensures that this crucial funding programme for R&D is ready for business on the 1 January 2007.
'The UK has played a major part in shaping the final programme. Key features include the establishment of a European Research Council, based on the principles of autonomy and excellence, an allocation of 65 per cent of the budget to industrial, user-driven research, and dedicated budget lines for policy research.
'The 7th Framework Programme will help Europe raise its innovation and R&D performance with the UK playing a key part. This agreement is good for Europe and good for UK researchers and businesses.'
FP7 will run from 2007-2013 and has a more straightforward structure than the previous Framework Programme. It consists of four chapters; cooperation, ideas. people and capacities. The first two will fund research, while the last two will build up the EU's tangible and intangible research capacity. The programmes of activity in FP7 are also supported by changes to simplify the management and delivery of FP7.
Calls for proposals under FP7 are expected in the next few days.