NPC/04/07/C: Department for Trade and Industry, 7th EU Research and Development Framework Programme Consultation

by Tim Brown

Question 1: Rationale for the Framework Programme (See Para 5-8)

  • What is the rationale for the Framework Programme?
  • Is the current 19bn Euro budget appropriate? If you feel a need for change, why?
  • Which areas of the Programme have the strongest rationale and which should be assigned lower priority?

In the interest of postgraduates and those seeking further research upon graduation, we see a need for change to improve the accessibility and attraction to UK researchers to successfully obtain mobility funding to enhance their career profile. At present the numbers leaving the UK are limited where a number of mitigating factors could be removed. Our argument on the rationale is that the EU framework programme should provide the maximum opportunity and increased participation of early stage and experienced researchers to carry out all or part of their work at any location in Europe. Further measures are needed to overcome difficulties with mobility that are specific to UK researchers. We strongly argue that higher levels of funding for mobility, which will no doubt create need for a higher budget, are essential.

Summary of views on priorities

Compared with FP6, the FP7 budget should be changed as follows (please tick half or less, significantly less, same, significantly more, double or more)

Overall budget - Significantly more
Basic research - Same
Scientific and research infrastructure - Same
Mobility for academia and industry - Double or more
Industrial research and competitiveness - Significantly more
Small and medium enterprises - Significantly more
Research in support of policy - Same

Question 5: Human Capital and Mobility (See Para 22-28)

  • What are your views on the human resources and mobility activities in the Framework Programme?
  • Do you agree that some restructuring is needed in FP7 to boost industry (especially SME) participation in the mobility activities?
  • If so what structure would be optimal?
  • Do you have any ideas for new activities (e.g. those that might encourage "brain gain" from third countries or foster inter-sectoral mobility in industry)?

We see the need to increase the availability and accessibility of human resources and mobility to attract UK researchers. This includes a number of factors such as support needs specific to UK researchers (e.g. language barriers, culture changes and employment conditions on the continent) that should get support necessary, the bureaucracy that can barrier UK researchers from getting the funding at the appropriate time and also there is a need to "ring fence" funding so that the number of UK researchers leaving the UK will not be exacerbated by tough competition from proposals submitted by other European countries.

We are certainly in support of the involvement of industry and small to medium enterprises and would encourage funding to support collaboration. A helpful addition to the current Marie Curie actions would be to enable specific short term placement activity within industry with ease applied to the application process so that early stage researchers can be placed without limitations of bureaucracy. This will enable researchers to engage with the outside world and it can be incorporated into their longer term professional development.