Which type of project to choose - Available instruments and schemes

The different types of projects and actions to implement FP6 are also known as the instruments. There are a number of different instruments for multipartner research activities, individual and host-driven mobility schemes, special types of projects for SMEs, support for utilising and developing large scale research infrastructures etc. An overview of all available instruments is given below.

Not all instruments apply across the whole programme. A summary of their applicability is given in Table 7. The calls for proposals will indicate in detail which intruments are used for which research objectives.

Network of Excellence (NoE)

NoEs are multipartner projects aimed at strengthening scientific and technological excellence on a particular research topic by integrating at European level the critical mass of resources and expertise needed to provide European leadership and to be a world force in a given domain. This expertise will be networked around a joint programme of activities aimed primarily at creating a progressive and durable integration of research capacities of network partners while at the same time advancing knowledge on the topic.

NoEs are more than just schemes for the co-ordination of research and information exchange; and the research itself is not their main focus either. Participating institutions have to invest seriously in structural change aiming at a durable integration of their research capacities. This requires the commitment of all levels of decision-making in an institution, including top management, supervising and financing bodies.

The main result should be a durable restructuring and reshaping of the way research is carried out in Europe in a given area.

There must be a minimum of three participants from three different Member States or Associated States of which at least two are from Member States or Associated Candidate States. However, as an indication, and as a general rule there should be a minimum of six participants. Different minimum numbers may be specified in the calls for proposals.

It is expected that larger networks may involve several hundreds of researchers. Others may be of a much more limited size, provided that they pursue ambitious goals and gather the critical mass needed to ensure their achievement. The Community contribution, which will take the form of a grant for integration, may reach from several millions to several tens of millions of Euros. The financial regime for NoEs has been built on the following principles:

a grant for integration, as a fixed amount to support the joint programme of activities;
to be calculated taking into account (a) the degree of integration proposed by the consortium, (b) the number of researchers that all participants intend to integrate, (c) the characteristics of the field of research concerned and (d) the joint programme of activities;
to be disbursed in annual instalments, with payment depending primarily on the network's progress towards achieving a durable integration and on condition that the costs incurred in implementing the joint programme of activities are greater than the grant itself.
Details on calculation of the grants will be provided in the model contracts.
NoEs will be applied in the 7 priority thematic areas and in the specific programme for nuclear research (see separate brochure on the Euratom FP). They may also be used, in duly justified cases, in research areas supporting policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs.

Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-noe/


Integrated Project (IP)

IPs are multipartner projects to support objective-driven research, where the primary deliverable is generating the knowledge required to implement the thematic priorities. IPs should bring together a critical mass of resources to reach ambitious goals aimed either at increasing Europe's competitiveness or at addressing major societal needs. They must contain a research component and may contain technological development and demonstration components, as appropriate, as well as perhaps a training component. A project may be at any point in the research spectrum. A single project may indeed span large parts of the spectrum, i.e. from basic to applied research.

Integration within an integrated project may take several forms:

Vertical integration of the full "value-chain" of stakeholders from those involved in knowledge production through to technology development and transfer.
Horizontal integration of a range of multidisciplinary activities.
Activity integration: integrating various research activities from fundamental to applied research and with other types of activity, including take-up activities, protection and dissemination of knowledge, training, etc, as appropriate.
Sectoral integration of actors from private and public sector research organisations, and in particular between academia and industry, including SMEs.
Financial integration of public and private funding, with overall financing plans that may involve the European Investment Bank and co-operation with Eureka.

The effective management of knowledge and its dissemination and transfer, will also be an essential feature of each integrated project together with the analysis and assessment of the technologies developed and of the factors relating to their exploitation, where relevant.

There must be a minimum of three participants from three different Member States or Associated States of which at least two are from Member States or Associated Candidate States. Different minimum numbers may be specified in the calls for proposals. However, in practice, there are likely to be substantially more participants. The value of the activities integrated by a project are expected to range up to many tens of millions of Euros. However, there will be no minimum threshold, provided that the necessary ambition and critical mass are there. Funding will take the form of a grant to the budget, as a contribution to costs incurred, with specified maximum rates of support for the different types of activity within the project.

IPs will be applied in the 7 priority thematic areas and in the specific programme for nuclear research. In duly justified cases they may also be used in the research areas supporting policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs.


Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-ip/


Programmes implemented jointly by several Member States ("Article 169")

This instrument requires co-operation at the level of national governments. It aims at integrating whole national or regional programmes on a particular topic by their joint implementation, e.g. through harmonised work programmes and common, joint or co-ordinated calls for proposals. Each possible arrangement requires a joint initiative of a number of Member States, possibly represented by their national programmes, and the European Commission in order to generate a proposal. Specific implementation structures will have to be set up. It may be used in all FP activities. The expected Community contribution is from some tens of millions of Euros upwards.

Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-169/

Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREP) and Specific Targeted Innovation Projects (STIP)

STREPs and STIPs are multipartner research, demonstration or innovation projects. They are an evolved form of the shared-cost RTD projects and demonstration projects used in FP5. Their purpose is to support research, technological development and demonstration or innovation activities of a more limited scope and ambition than IPs. The Community contribution may range from hundreds of thousands of Euros to a few millions of Euros and is paid as a grant to the budget (percentage of total costs of the project). There must be a minimum of three participants from three different Member States or Associated States of which at least two are from Member States or Associated Candidate States. Different minimum numbers may be specified in the calls for proposals. Special conditions for minimum numbers of participants apply for the "Specific international co-operation activities (INCO)" part of the programme (to be specified in the work programme).

STREPs are used in implementing the priority thematic areas, in other areas supporting Community policies and anticipating scientific and technological needs, in specific international co-operation research activities, and in research activities developing harmonious relations between science and society. STIPs are used in activities exploring, validating and disseminating new innovation concepts and methods at European level. I

Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-strp/


Coordination Action (CA)

CAs are multi-partner actions intended to promote and support the networking and co-ordination of research and innovation activities. They are a reinforced form of the concerted actions/thematic networks used in FP5. They will cover the definition, organisation and management of joint or common initiatives as well as activities such as the organisation of conferences, meetings, the carrying out of studies, exchanges of personnel, the exchange and dissemination of good practice, setting up common information systems and expert groups. EU funding is given for the costs of co-ordination (not for the research) in the form of a grant to the budget of up to 100% of the budget. There must be a minimum of three participants from three different Member States or Associated States of which at least two are from Member States or Associated Candidate States. Different minimum numbers may be specified in the calls for proposals. Special conditions for minimum numbers of participants apply for the "Specific international co-operation activities (INCO)" part of the programme (to be specified in the work programme).

Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-ca/


Specific Support Action (SSA)

Support activities are more limited in scope than the accompanying measures of the previous Framework Programmes. These projects aim to contribute actively to the implementation of activities of the work programme, the analysis and dissemination of results or the preparation of future activities, with a view to enabling the Community to achieve or define its RTD strategic objectives. Therefore, a significant emphasis has been placed on Support Actions:

to promote and facilitate the dissemination, transfer, exploitation, assessment and/or broad take-up of past and present programme results (over and above the standard diffusion and exploitation activities of individual projects);
to contribute to strategic objectives, notably regarding the European research area (e.g. pilot initiatives on benchmarking, mapping, networking, etc.);
to prepare future community RTD activities, (e.g. via prospective studies, exploratory measures. pilot actions etc.);
as opposed to awareness and information exchange activities, e.g. annual Workshops and Conferences, that would take place anyway without Commission support. The latter activities will not be welcome if they do not serve the programme's strategic objectives, (in the sense of the European Research Area, improved co-ordination, public awareness, preparation of future Community initiatives, etc.). SSAs can be proposed by a single participant or by a consortium of several participants. The activities of a specific support action will be supported through a grant to the budget of up to 100% of the budget or, if necessary, as a lump sum.

Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/instrument-ssa/

Specific research projects for SMEs

Co-operative research projects (CRAFT)

They are projects whereby a number of SMEs (minimum three SMEs from two different countries) having specific problems or needs assign a significant part of the required scientific and technological research activities to RTD performers. These activities may also be carried out by innovative and high-tech SMEs in co-operation with research centres and universities. The SMEs retain ownership of the results.

Collective research projects

They are carried out by RTD performers on behalf of industrial associations or groupings in sectors where SMEs are prominent. The aim is to expand the knowledge base of large communities of SMEs and thus their general standard of competitiveness. The ownership of the results lies with the industrial associations.

Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/sme/

Specific actions to promote research infrastructures


Integrating Activities

The objective of this scheme is to support the integrated provision of infrastructure related services to the research community at European level. The final objective is to induce a long-term integrating effect on the way research infrastructures operate, evolve and interact with each other and with their users, thus contributing to the development of the European Research Area. To this end, the main characteristics of this scheme will be its capacity to mobilise a large number of stakeholders in a given class of infrastructures by combining networking, transnational access and joint research activities within a single contract. Participants will be operators of research infrastructures, universities and other public research organisations as well as industry and equipment manufacturers (e.g. SMEs). Integrating Activities will be implemented as Integrated Infrastructure Initiatives (I3s). The special case of Integrating Activities limited only to networking activities will be implemented through Coordination Actions.

An I3 will include at least three independent legal entities established in two different Member States or Associated States, of which at least one shall be a Member State or an Associated candidate country. At least one of these entities must operate a research infrastructure. In addition to entities from Member States or Associated States, organisations from third countries may also participate, with or without Community support, as specified in the "Rules for Participation" for FP6.

Communication Network Development

The objective of this scheme in support of existing research infrastructures is to create, in conjunction with the priority thematic research area on Information Society Technologies (IST), a denser network between related initiatives, in particular by establishing a high-capacity and high-speed communications network for all researchers in Europe (GÉANT) and specific high performance Grids and test-beds (GRIDs).
In general, the Communication Network Development scheme will be concerned with the development of a "cyber-infrastructure" for Research capitalizing on new computing and communication opportunities and will promote a further breadth and depth to the collaboration amongst researchers in Europe. In this context, broadband communication networks and Grid technologies are key; in general, they are also highly relevant to the political goals set out by the European Research Area and the eEurope+ initiative and should be used as a means to enhance scientific co-operation with third countries

Transnational Access

The objective of this scheme is to sponsor new opportunities for research teams and individual researchers to obtain access to major research infrastructures, which are unique or rare in Europe and provide world-class service essential for the conduct of top-quality research. Community support will cover up to 100% of the costs of providing access to an infrastructure for research teams working in Member States and Associated States other than that where the operator of the infrastructure is located. Access costs will be calculated either on the basis of the Unit Fee system, or of the actual additional costs connected with making the access available. Applications shall be made by the institutions operating the major research infrastructures. Opportunities for potential users in the infrastructures selected will be published on the Internet.

Design studies

The objective of this scheme is to contribute to feasibility studies and technical preparatory work concerning new infrastructures of European significance, undertaken by one or a number of national or international authorities. Studies related to future facilities of world-wide relevance which do not exist in Europe, but in which European institutions intend to participate, are also included. The upgrading of existing facilities may also be considered, provided the end result can be expected to be equivalent to, or capable of replacing, a new infrastructure. Applications shall be made by at least one national or international organisation. In addition to entities from Member States or Associated States, organisations from third countries may also participate, with or without Community support, as specified in the "Rules for Participation" for FP6.

Construction of new infrastructures

This scheme may provide limited support aimed at optimising the European nature of key new infrastructure of Europe-wide interest. Support may also be granted for a major enhancement or upgrading of existing infrastructures, in particular where this would constitute an alternative to the construction of a new infrastructure. Where appropriate, the scheme may also contribute to the construction of an infrastructure of world wide relevance that does not exist in Europe. In general, funding provided for new or enhanced infrastructures will be limited to the minimum necessary to catalyse the activity; the major part of construction and operation, and the long-term sustainability of the infrastructures in question being assured by national and/or other sources of finance. Applications shall be made by at least one national or international organisation. In addition to entities from Member States or Associated States, organisations from third countries may also participate, with or without Community support, as specified in the "Rules for Participation" for FP6.

Further information: http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/infrastructures/