European Research Area
Enlarge image At the Nordex factory (© dpa/pa) EU Framework Programme for Research
One important instrument for cooperation is the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research. This is the largest programme for funding research projects in the world. The Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), which will run from 2007 until 2013, has a budget of 54.4 billion euro.
FP7 is subdivided into four specific programmes:
1. Cooperation: Here, funding is provided for cross-border collaborative projects involving universities, research centres and industry in research on ten different thematic areas.
2. Ideas: The European Research Council (ERC) established by this programme concentrates on promoting excellent practitioners of fundamental research.
3. People: By encouraging researchers to work in other countries, the Marie Curie Actions, through which this programme is implemented, consolidate international networks.
4. Capacities: This programme improves conditions for research and innovation through such measures as promoting particular elements of research infrastructure or research in small and medium-sized enterprises.
Bilateral projects, which may have been sponsored by, for example, the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, often provide the spark for close collaboration between German and Israeli researchers on large-scale FP7 projects.
EUREKA is the European initiative founded in 1985 to support innovative and market-oriented research with a view to making Europe more technologically competitive. Since its launch, EUREKA has spread beyond Europe and now has 40 full members.
Support is offered for companies, research centres and universities to develop innovative products and services. The principle at the heart of EUREKA is the “bottom-up” approach. This means that participants are given a lot of freedom to shape their own projects. This approach has allowed EUREKA to become established as a successful counterpoint to the research programmes run by the EU.
Israel has had full membership of EUREKA since the year 2000. After its year in office, Germany passed the EUREKA chairmanship for the following year to Israel in summer 2010.
COST – European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research – provides a framework in which to coordinate research activities carried out in individual countries in all branches of science and technology. Since its beginnings in 1971, COST has expanded to count 35 states among its membership. Israel has Cooperating State status. Those participating in COST work together in a host of transdisciplinary networks.