IT beats health to get the biggest slice of revised FP7 budget

June 2, 2006

Information technology will get top priority in the rewritten European Union Seventh Framework Programme, commanding 16.7 per cent of the overall budget.

According to European Commission papers passed to The Times Higher , health will get 11 per cent, transport 7.6 per cent and nanotechnologies/materials/ manufacturing 6.3 per cent.

The documents confirm that the commission is suggesting that the European Research Council is given €7.4 billion (£5 billion) over the programme's seven-year life.

This figure and those quoted for the entire programme are slightly higher than the 2004 figures used in earlier proposals, because they take into account two years of inflation.

When budgets are set for future years they will be adjusted for inflation, so they will be larger than the figures initially agreed - although they will not hit the €70 billion originally requested by Brussels.

Antonia Mochan, European Commission research spokeswoman, said: "The budget is not what we asked for. The emphasis is now on looking forward. We have worked out what we feel is the most appropriate way of spending the money."

Using 2006 figures, the 2007-13 FP7 will have €54.5 billion, €32 billion of which is for targeted research - the mainstay of previous framework programmes.

Most of the €4.5 billion allocated to a "people" heading will support the Marie Curie fellowships scheme. A further €4.1 billion will be spent on a "capacity" budget, including research infrastructure, small and medium-size business research grants, special regional-based research spending, research spending for poor areas, a "science and society" policy, and special international cooperation initiatives.

The EU's Joint Research Centre will get €1.75 billion, plus an additional €750 million for nuclear studies. Euratom's share includes €3.3 billion for outside grants, with €2.9 billion reserved for nuclear fusion and €411 million on fission.

Target Areas

IT - €9.0 billion
Health - €5.9 billion
Transport - €4.1 billion
Nanotech, materials and manufacturing - €3.4 billion
Security and space - €2.8 billion
Energy - €2.2 billion
Food, agriculture, biotech - €1.9 billion
Environment - €1.8 billion
Social science, economics - €0.6 billion
Total - €32.0 billion


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