Brussels, 06 Apr 2005
The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and the Framework Programme for Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP) must be complementary by essence. The synergies between the programmes should be transparent and clear and should foster the exploitation of R&D results into marketable applications. Overall excellency is a good criteria but must be seen a broad concept that is not limited to the high tech sector but must also comprise the innovative potential of sectors still considered as "traditional".
European Chambers urge sound complementarities between the FP7 and structural funds. European research must be excellency driven. Structural funds must reinforce those regions where R&D is lagging behind in order to become part of the innovative fabric of Europe, to allow the emergence of new pools of excellence, and to prevent fragmentation of the European Research Area and economy.
EUROCHAMBRES recommends that the funding process should be dramatically simplified and shortened to ensure high level research, flexibility of projects and less bureaucracy. A better integration of IT and electronic accessibility of relevant project that are crucial for further efficiency of the administrative procedures.
Special attention must be paid to SMEs and other small research organizations which develop excellent research results but have difficult access to the 6 th Framework Programme due to the instruments imposed, bureaucratic procedures and amount of the budget allocated to them. Therefore a significant increase of the budget is required for the sub-programmes CRAFT, Collective Research, and instruments in which a high participation of SMEs is registered (i.e. STREPs). The objectives set by the Growth and Jobs Strategy (Lisbon) and the Barcelona Council can realistically be accomplished only if companies can leverage their participation in the Framework programme with their own funds and find adequate support as the motor of innovation.
EUROCHAMBRES urges the European Institutions to ensure a marked increase in the EU R&D budget. Given the enlargement of Europe, the extension of the FP7 to 7 years, the setting up of an European Research Council, and the proposition to allocate a significant amount of the budget to Security and Space Research, an appropriate budget is seen as crucial to the success of the FP7. While the main responsibility for knowledge and innovation lies with the Member States, EU funding for research has a crucial role to play in creating a substantial leverage effect on private investment in research thus contributing to growth and employment.
The European Research Council must be representative of the research community including representatives from business and industry with a solid background in research and development. It must also look for geographical and gender equality.