The EU has on the 20th of July launched its biggest ever funding package under FP7 through the publication of new FP7 calls for proposals. With about € 7 billion available for the 2012 calls, the EU forecasts that around 174 000 jobs will be created in the short-term and nearly 450 000 jobs and nearly €80 billion in GDP growth over the next 15 years.
EU funding for research is at the top of the political agenda and has now been placed at the centre of a coherent innovation strategy, the Innovation Union which Europe needs if it is to compete with large, dynamic countries like US and China.
Grants will promote research to tackle the biggest societal challenges facing Europe and the world, and create sustainable jobs and growth by giving Europe a lead in the key technology markers of the future. Universities, research organisations and industry will be the main funding recipients. Special attention will be given to SMEs, including a package close to €1 billion. There will also be a new EU Prize for Women Innovators whose work has been funded by FP7 or earlier programmes.
More support is also foreseen for activities that help bridge the gap between research and the market by demonstrating that new technologies have commercial potential.
The Malta Council for Science and Technology is the official National Contact Point (NCP) Organisation in Malta which provides information and assistance on FP7. "The Council has in the past year increased its capacity of National Contact Points, to better help local entities and individual researchers participating in these calls. NCPs offer individual support and assistance to local entities at all stages of the proposal life-cycle." said Council Chairman Hon Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, "Maltese entities have received over €9 million in funding from previous FP7 calls."
The Participant Portal (http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal) has become the European Commission's single authoritative website for the publication of FP7 calls.