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Research Infrastructures in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

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Research Infrastructures in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Introduction to FP7. The ‘Capacities’ Programme. The Capacities Programme covers the following 6 broad areas: Research infrastructures Research for the benefit of small–medium enterprises

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The ‘Capacities’ Programme

  • The Capacities Programme covers the following 6 broad areas:
  • Research infrastructures
  • Research for the benefit of small–medium enterprises
  • Regions of knowledge and support for regional research- driven clusters
  • Research potential of Convergence Regions
  • Science in Society
  • Support to the coherent development of research policies
  • International cooperation

The ‘Work Programme’ for

Research Infrastructures

  • Integrating activities
  • ICT-based e-infrastructures
  • Design studies
  • Construction of new infrastructures (or major upgrades)
  • Support for policy development & programme
  • implementation

Integrating Activities

  • Integrating activities aim to improve access to, and the development of, research infrastructures across Europe; and to foster cross-disciplinary fertilizations and the sharing of knowledge and technologies between academia and industry. Integrating activities normally include several facilities, although exceptionally a consortium may be focused on only one infrastructure. Integrating activities must involve:
  • Networking activities; (2) Trans-national access and/or service activities & (3) Joint research activities

Networking activities

  • Networking activities might include the following:
  • Sharing of resources
  • Development of common standards pertaining to the operation of infrastructures
  • Development of common databases
  • Foresight studies
  • Provision of training to new users of infrastructures
  • Coordination of national and international initiatives related to the infrastructures
  • Strenthening of virtual research communities pertaining to the infrastructure

Trans-national access and/or service activities

  • Trans-national access activities should improve / extend access to infrastructures operated by the consortium, or provide some related remote services.
  • Service activities should provide services related to the infrastructures to the allied communities of users. These might include:
  • Upgrading of the communication infrastructure
  • Providing grid infrastructure support
  • Support of databases and repositories
  • Integration of virtual research services

Joint research activities

  • The innovative exploration of new technologies for the efficient & shared use of infrastructures & might include:
  • The use of higher-performance instrumentation, methodologies, & protocols.
  • Integration of infrastructures into virtual facilities
  • Providing innovative solutions for data collection, management, curation, and annotation
  • Innovative solutions for communications
  • Novel grid architecture frameworks & policies; providing innovative grid technologies
  • Advanced service agreements and innovative licensing schemes; innovative software solutions.

ICT-based e-infrastructures

  • ICT-based e-infrastructures activities should foster the emergence of ‘virtual communities’ across Europe. Examples of facilities that would be eligible for support would be:
  • GÉANT, the world’s pan-European research network
  • e-science grid infrastructures
  • the expansion of e-infrastructures that address the needs of specific academic communities, such as digital repositories.

Design studies

Design studies seek to support the conceptual design of new research infrastructures of European importance. Major upgrades of existing infrastructures may also be supported if the end result of such upgrading will be equivalent to the creation of a new infrastructure. All disciplines are eligible for support. Design studies also seek to create new organisational models that are designed to consolidate a sustainable approach to e-infrastructures, especially grids and data repositories, and to facilitate new service provisioning schemes.


Construction of new infrastructures (or major upgrades)—preparatory phase

This seeks to provide leveraging support for the preparatory phase of the construction of new infrastructures or major upgrades of existing ones. It seeks to bring collaborative projects to the level of legal and financial maturity required to implement the project. This preparatory phase may also include technical work. Activities may include legal work, governance and logistical work, strategic work, financial work, and technical work.


Support for policy development & programme implementation

The aim is to support, in the context of building up the European Research Area, the coordination of national and/or regional policies and programmes in the field of research infrastructures, as well as the work of ESFRI and e-IRG (e-Infrastructure Reflection Group). This will help providing the necessary conditions for pooling talent, maximising resources, and ensuring the best outcome of rationalised research investments in Europe.


Calls in research infrastructures

  • Currently open call (Call 3) in integrating activities & support for policy development. Deadline: 29th February 2008.
  • Deadline for next call (Call 4), in ICT-based e-infrastructures is 11th September 2008.
  • Autumn 2009: call 5 anticipated in ICT-based e-infrastructures & support for policy development.
  • Spring 2010: call 6 anticipated which will cover ALL AREAS of the infrastructures programme.
  • Spring 2012: call 7 anticipated in integrating activities, ICT-based e-infrastructures, & support for policy development.

Who can apply for funding?

  • Prospective applicants might include:
  • Early-stage researchers (e.g. postgraduate students)
  • Postdoctoral researchers
  • Experienced researchers
  • Research groups in higher-education institutions
  • Higher-education institutions with facilities of transnational interest
  • Applications must come from a consortium of partners, at least 3 of whom must come from different EU member states or ‘associated countries’.

Success Stories

  • A number of Irish researchers have already been successful in obtaining funding from FP7 research infrastructures calls. Examples of FP7 projects in which there is currently Irish involvement are:
  • European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network (ECRIN)
  • Underwater Neutrino Observatory (in design phase), (KM3NET)
  • Multidisciplinary Seafloor Observatory (EMSO)
  • European Social Survey (ESS)
  • Digital infrastructure to study the sources in cultural heritage institutions (DARIAH)

How to apply

  • Applications must be submitted via the ‘Electronic Proposal Submission System’ (EPSS) on the Cordis website at:
  • Advice for applicants is given in the ‘Guide to Applicants’ that can be downloaded from the Cordis website at:
  • It is also important to study the Model Grant Agreement that can be downloaded from the Cordis website at

What support is available?

  • Travel support – Grants of up to €150 are available to researchers.
  • Coordination support – Grants are available for the preparation of
  • proposals by coordinators.
  • Feasibility support – Companies can apply for a grant to facilitate
  • their participation.
  • Full details and application forms are available from Enterprise
  • Ireland at:

Support from the HEA

National Delegate:

Dr. Gemma Irvine,

Email: [email protected]

Tel: (01) 231 7141

National Contact Point:

Dr. Abigail Chantler

Email: [email protected]

Tel: (01) 231 7115


Useful websites

Cordis—Research Infrastructures

Europa—Research Infrastructures

European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)

Higher Education Authority (HEA)—FP7

FP7 Ireland


Hints & Tips for Researchers:

How to get involved in projects

  • Network with key potential partners & use Cordis partner search
  • Get active long before the next call and be aware of potential
  • consortia
  • Influence the content of calls via your National Delegate
  • Get information from your National Delegate regarding the
  • Work Programme
  • Establish a track-record of publications & presentations
  • Have a unique skill / selling-point to bring to the table
  • Get named in draft project plans
  • Submit a proposal more than once if unsuccessful the first time
  • around

What to do when a call is


  • Understand the type of proposal required & linkages to EU initiatives
  • Find a minimum of 3 partners from different countries
  • Contact potential partners, underlining what you can contribute
  • to the project
  • Contact your National Contact Point for assistance
  • Stay active throughout the proposal writing process
  • Contribute to the proposal constructively & proactively
  • Have a long-term strategy from the inception of the project
  • to its implementation

Things of which to be aware

  • FP7 demands time & effort at all stages of the process
  • Long-term projects require long-term plans
  • Passing evaluation thresholds does not guarantee funding
  • Can be difficulties entering established ‘circles of trust’ of
  • active project partners from previous Framework Programmes
  • Onerous administration, especially with on-line submission system
  • Coordinators can experience difficulties, e.g. having insufficient
  • leverage over partners, language barriers, politics, national
  • agendas, different work-styles of individuals, & difficulties
  • coordinating large projects with many partners.

Advantages of participation in


  • Build research capacity
  • Enhance your international profile
  • Improve your network of contacts
  • Increased research outputs
  • Leverage new funding opportunities
  • Thank you for listening!