Geoghegan_Quinn_5711Centre: Máire Geoghegan Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Photo by courtesy of the European Commission. Energy, environment and biotechnology are three chief themes of the Seventh Framework Programme for research of European Union, which is about to launch fresh round of calls for funding proposals this month.

A month later, Umeå University and local and national partners are sponsoring a week of workshops, 22-26 August, across the ten FP7 thematic areas. Biotechnology, energy, transport and environment figure promptly among these.

Given at the on-campus premises of the university’s Grants Office, the week kicks off 22 August with funding experts explaining the design of calls for EU research proposals in the agriculture and biotechnology sector. Tuesday 23 August is slated for a discussion on calls that concern nanotechnology and materials research and development, followed by such that pertain to energy and the environment 24 August. Finally calls for proposals in the area of transportation are dealt with Thursday 25 August.

This second-to-last round of funding under seventh research framework will co-sponsor projects to start in 2012, meaning that some will have cut-off dates for applications in autumn 2011.

Great opportunities in energy, biotech
 
FP7 and its successor framework programme running from 2014 to 2020—which was recently renamed ‘Horizon 2020’—should offer great opportunities for bioenergy and biotechnology researchers who are ready to put time and effort in applications for funding.

In June the European Parliament gave the thumbs up to a draft budgetary framework for 2014-2020 in which the European Commission recommends an increase in the EU's contribution to research and innovation of almost 45 per cent on the 2007-2013 allocation of €55 billion (SEK500.65 billion; US$89 billion). The plans also put to the fore research on and development of efficient and low-or-no polluting energy and transport technologies.

More precisely, the Commission said late last month that it “proposes to allocate €80 billion... for the Common Strategic Framework for Research and Innovation. This funding will be complemented by important support from the Structural Funds (€60 billion for 2007-2013).” Máire Geoghegan Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, is expected to issue further detailed proposals on the structure and allocation of research funding in October this year, according to reports by Brussels press.  

As for the current framework, it has “most of the €50 billion… still available” for those wishing to respond to one or more of its calls, said a note from the Umeå University Grants Office, pointing out that its 22-26 August workshops would also discuss national and further international opportunities for funding. Moreover the week of meetings would serve to launch Umeå University’s participation in the encompassing database Research Professional, to come online at umu.se 1 September this year, according to the note.

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