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EU research and innovation funding

January 26, 2011

EU research and innovation funding – immediate changes to cut red tape for  researchers and SMEs



Research and Innovation are at the core of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs as set out under the Innovation Union flagship initiative. A pre-requisite for delivering the best results is that research programmes are highly attractive and accessible to researchers, European industry and entrepreneurs, universities and other research and innovation actors. This requires clarity of objectives and instruments, consistency and stability of rules, and lightness and speed of administrative procedures. The improvement adopted will feed through into better research results, achieved more efficiently, and lead to new products and services that will create new sources of growth and jobs.


Over 25 years, the scope and budget of the EU’s Research Framework Programme has expanded significantly. A number of different rules and administrative procedures were developed to optimise European effort in research, but participation in EU-funded projects became more complex.

What are the main changes being made now?

  • Firstly, there will be more flexibility in how personnel costs are calculated so that EU research grant-holders can apply their usual accounting methods when requesting reimbursement, based on average personnel costs.
  • Secondly, SME owners whose salaries are not formally registered in their accounts can now be reimbursed through flat-rate payments for their contribution to work on research projects.
  • And thirdly, a new steering group of senior officials from all the Commission departments and agencies involved will remove inconsistencies in the application of the rules on research funding.

– In most case the Commission will allow participants in ongoing projects under the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) to benefit immediately from these changes. The measures are designed in such a way that their retro-active application does not cause additional burden for beneficiaries.

– These changes fully reflect the recommendations of the Mid-Term Evaluation. The recommendations of the interim evaluation of FP7 were fully considered when designing these short-term simplification measures. More profound changes suggested in the report, which would require an adaptation of the overall legal framework, will be tackled in the Commission proposal for the rules of the next research and innovation programme.

What kind of changes can we expect under the next research programme?

The Commission is committed to adopting the proposals for the legal framework for the next programme by the end of 2011. A full public consultation based on a Green Paper will be launched during the first quarter 2011.

For further information:

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