date: Thu, 22 Jul 2004 12:07:10 +0100
from: "Alex Haxeltine" <Alex.HaxeltineatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
to: "mike hulme" <m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
Details of how we can get funding for non-EU partners:
3. 3rd Country Participation in FP6
Head of Unit, Research DG
Louis Bellemin began by outlining the three major routes for
international co-operation in FP6:
(i) Opening of the thematic part of FP6 to third country organisations
(with significant funding available);
(ii) Specific measure in support of international co-operation; and
(iii) International mobility of researchers.
In addition to these, he stressed that the international dimension is a
cross-cutting issue that effects the whole of the Framework Programme.
(i) In terms of the opening of thematic priority projects to third
countries, Mr Bellemin said that this included TPs 1-7, as well as
Specific Activities Covering a Wider Field of Research ('TP8').
Partners from any country can participate in any consortium, as long as
the minimum number of partners from Member and Associated States is
respected, and third-country partners are in addition to these minima.
A budget of �285m is available to pay for participation of third
countries, although this is for INCO target countries (developing
countries, Mediterranean partner countries, Russia and other
Newly-independent States, and the Western Balkans) only. The general
rule is that there will be no Commission financing for 'rich' countries,
although the rules state that it is possible to provide some funding for
them if it is deemed necessary to the project to do so. It should be
noted, though, that this happens extremely rarely. To date, third
country participation in the thematic areas of FP6 is low, and the
take-up of the �285m is small. This is unlikely to be due to lack of
interest, and more likely to be due to lack of awareness of the
(ii) In terms of specific measures for international co-operation, Mr
Bellemin emphasised that these need to be based on mutual interest,
rather than European Community interest (as in the case of the TPs).
Consequently, policy dialogue is essential. This generally happens with
groups of countries, although an exception is made for some large
countries (e.g. China, India, Russia), with which bilateral dialogue
takes place. INCO projects can be in the same domains as projects in
the thematic priorities, therefore it is essential that care is taken to
ensure complementarity, as opposed to duplication. No New Instruments
are used in INCO, only STREPs, CAs, and SSAs.
(iii) On the subject of international mobility of researchers, Mr
Bellemin stated that there was a high incentive for European researchers
to go to INCO countries, as the funding available under the Marie Curie
programme is generous and goes a long way in these countries, even after
being adjusted according to the cost of living. He also stressed that
as well as individual fellowships both to and from third countries, up
to 30% of the fellow months in some host actions (EST, RTN) can be used
for fellows from third countries. Mr Bellemin stressed that in research
'Europe' is wider that just the 25 EU Member States. Whilst the 25 are
key in terms of decision making, participation as European is open to 33
countries in total
- the 25 plus Israel, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein,
Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey. This means that, for example, a Romanian
(European) could do an international fellowship in South Africa (3rd
country), or vice versa.
Mr Bellemin finished by talking about priority setting mechanisms.,
stressing the importance of focussing on global issues. The External
Relations DG, the Development DG, and the EuropeAid Co-operation Office
all contribute to policy making in this area, and there is synergy
between the various Community actions, both FP and non-FP.
The question and answer/discussion session covered the following:
Q1: Has there been any analysis of the low participation of 3rd
countries in FP6, and are there are recommendations as to how to promote
A: The new mechanisms for participation simply weren't known by the
research community; therefore proposers didn't know about the changes
from previous FPs. Mr Bellemin stressed the need for 'soft' measures,
such as promotional activities, and asked that all delegates present
communicate the message to their own institution. On 15 June 2004 a
call was launched for Specific Support Actions for third countries with
a science and technology agreement with the EU; it is hoped that this
will result in the establishment of systems that allow for better
exchange of information between targeted countries and the EU.
Q2: Could the funding be used for third countries wanting to join into
I3/Transnational Access projects under the Research Infrastructures
A: The Council decision with respect to the use of the �285m is that it
can be used in the thematic priorities only. Views on this should be
fed into the consultations on FP7, in the hope that funding can be used
more flexibly in the future. Mr Bellemin then expanded on his personal
view that there should be an increase in international mobility in the
future, which could include fellowships attached to research facilities
(along the model of Transnational Access). It would also be beneficial
if there was a dedicated budget line related to science and technology
agreements, if there was an international ERA-Net scheme, and if there
were more regional co-operation platforms on different topics.
Q3: Bringing additional players into existing projects doesn't always
A: 'Topping up' of existing partnerships works well from a political
perspective, but not from a scientific one. This is, therefore, not
what the Commission envisages. Rather, they encourage partnering
according to where excellence is; that is, in the niches where
third-country partners best fit. Consequently, they envisage dedicated
calls to achieve this.
Q4: Proposal preparation (e.g. for IPs) takes a long time, and it can be
hard to get organisations from developing countries on board without
A: Mr Bellemin agreed with this sentiment, and said that INCO has
always experienced delays for this reason. However, in an IP it is
possible to bring a third-country partner on board later in the project.
Sometimes in FP6, INCO country partners get negotiated out of projects
in the TPs, following budget cuts; co-ordinators do not always realise
that there is no need to do this, as their funding comes separately from
Q5: It would help if the ?285m could be used for third-country
researchers to travel at proposal preparation stage.
A: Some directorates of DG Research have had targeted activities aimed
at facilitating proposal development (e.g. nanotechnology meeting in
Russia; visits by Indian researchers organised by the sustainable
development directorate). So, some limited opportunities do exist.
Q6: Is the fact that partners have to cover 50% of the project costs a
barrier to participation by developing countries?
A: The vast majority of organisations from these countries use the
Additional Cost model, and so this is not the barrier.