Looking forward to 2012: EU Central funding 2012 is the penultimate year of the current EU Budget Perspective. Find out where the money is – and what companies have to do to secure the financing.

Vincent van den Bosch

For the EU structural or cohesion funds as well as the central EU programmes the running budget period is 2007 to 2013. Because of the global financial crisis the governments of the central European countries decided to spend more money out of the budget of the structural funds in the years 2008 to 2010 than the proportionate part of the total periods’ budget. This is why the budget for the 2012 and 2013 calls for proposals is for the large part to be derived from unused budgets flowing back from aborted projects or programmes. This is not the case for the central EU programmes however and that’s good news. So, where the national programmes funded by EU structural funds will see less and less calls in the years 2012 and 2013 and the calls that open will have reduced budgets, the central EU programmes run until the year 2013 with full proportional budgets.

It is therefore not without reason that more and more organizations in Central Europe are looking to the central EU programmes for extra financing of their research and demonstration projects. And these organizations have more or less 2 different views:

1) either these programmes are from the same nature as structural programmes so investments and other down to earth projects should easily be eligible for funding or

2) these programmes are only for R&D projects at the highest complexity to be carried out in European consortia.

Truth is, the EU central programmes (hereafter called: EU funding) are divided in hundreds of sub programmes ranging from funding for high-tech R&D projects to funding for marketing and operational activities. Any type of organization can benefit from the use of EU funding. Especially because grants are about more than money alone. Grants also are a way to define your ambitions, to attract (knowledge from) new collaboration partners, or to attain exposure and recognition. So, if you have European ambitions, do not hesitate to look into the opportunities offered by the EU programmes.

To begin with, the EU central programmes are basically twofold:

PROGRAMME The 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. Outer framework programmes like Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, Life Long Learning Programme, LIFE, Marco Polo, TEN-E, TEN-T, other
PURPOSE Addressing technological barriers Addressing non-technological barriers
TYPE OF ACTIVITIES Research, development and technological demonstration Raising awareness,

demonstration, pilot actions

The 7th Framework Programme (FP7)

What is the 7th Framework Programme?

FP7 is the EU’s programme for research and technology development. It started in 2007 and will continue till 2013. With funds of over €50 billion, it is Europe’s main financial tool for supporting research and development in virtually all scientific disciplines. It is categorized into four sub-programmes: Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities. The subjects covered for funding by FP7 are vast, so we provide you with a summary.


This programme focuses on breakthrough collaborative research through cross-border partnerships. It offers a wide variety of opportunities in areas outlined by:

• Health;

• Food, agriculture and biotechnology;

• Information and Communication Technologies;

• Nanosciences and nanotechnology;

• Materials and new production technologies;

• Energy;

• Environment (including climate change);

• Transport (surface transport and aeronautics);

• Socio-economic sciences and the humanities;

• Space;

• Security.


This programme supports “frontier research” on the basis of scientific excellence. Any area of science or technology, including engineering, socio-economic sciences and the humanities can apply for funding.

Through this programme highly talented researchers are able to form their own research teams at research institutes or universities around breakthrough scientific subjects.



This programme is all about researcher mobility and career development, inside the EU or internationally:

• Initial training of researchers – Marie Curie Networks;

• Industry-academia partnerships;

• Co-funding of regional, national and international mobility programmes;

• Intra-European fellowships.


This fourth programme is aimed at strengthening the research capacities throughout Europe:

• Research infrastructures;

• Research to benefit SMEs;

• Regions of knowledge;

• Research Potential;

• Science in society;

• International cooperation.

And what is in it for you? Indeed, in some sub-programmes like Cooperation or Ideas your organization has to be on a top European innovation level in order to participate. But there are other programmes which are there just to help you to innovate.

For Small and Medium Sized enterprises: Would you for example like to cooperate with research organizations to improve your products or processes? Or are you planning to outsource research activities to research providers? Then FP7-Capacities – Research for the benefit of SMEs might be just something for you.

The aim of this bottom up grant programme is to enhance the research and innovation capacities of European SMEs which have little or no research capacities themselves (or in the specific field they want to move into) and wish to outsource research to specialized RTD performers. The structure of the consortium is a minimum of 3 SMEs with at least 2 RTD performers (universities, research organizations, research performing enterprises). The funding percentages for SMEs and Non-Profit RTD vary from 50 to 100%. In practice the funding covers all costs of outsourced research and demonstration activities. The RTD performers “invoice” their costs to SMEs and the SMEs receive all intellectual property rights (IPR) in return.

At present the programme is open for submission of proposals and has a deadline 6th of December 2011. The total budget for this call is almost € 220 million. In 2012 there will be a new call for proposals.


Eurostars brings your innovation fast to the market! The result of the project must be in the market within 2 years of its completion.

The Eurostars Programme is a European Joint Programme dedicated to R&D performing SMEs, and co-funded by the European Communities and 33 EUREKA member countries. Research-performing SMEs are SMEs that dedicate at least 10% of their turnover or full-time equivalent (FTE) to research activities. Eurostars provides market oriented innovative European R&D projects with financial support through the national government of each participating country. The project has a maximum duration of three years and has to be led by a research performing SME, cooperating with at minimum one partner from another participating Eurostars country.

Eurostars is open for grant applications, which will be evaluated on a tender basis. The next deadline for the submission of applications is Thursday 1st March 2012. In each participating country a separate budget is available, separated from other programmes. In Poland the contribution to project costs is 60% for SMEs, universities and research organizations, where project costs consist of personnel, machines, devices, materials and resources, subcontracting.

FP7-People- Industry – Academia Partnerships and Pathways – IAPP

Or are you looking for financial support for joint highly scientific research projects?

IAPP aims at establishing and reinforcing long lasting international collaborations between organizations from public and private sector by means of mutual inter-sectoral staff exchange and recruiting of new researchers in the frame of a joint research project of high scientific and technological quality. Moreover, networking will be organised to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and culture between the different project partners.

Eligible participants are those organizations involved in research, both from private and public sector; the consortium should consist of one or more universities and/or research centres and one or more enterprises, in particular SMEs, from at least 2 different Member States or Associated countries and there must be at least one participant from each of the two sectors. Exchange of research-staff is applicable for researchers at early-or at experienced researchers’ level and can also include technical and managerial staff. The exchange periods for individual researchers are two months to 2 years.

Community contribution: Approx. 100% of the personnel cost plus contribution in relation to the organization of the partnership and networking events is paid (average contribution per project is € 900.000). The reporting obligations are limited. The present call opened 19 October with a deadline 19 April 2012. The budget is € 80 million.

An automotive industrial SME from Austria and his supplier from France like to set up a long term partnership with a Dutch research institute. With this network they intend to exchange knowledge and ideas in a four year research project about child crash dummies.

For this purpose the SME and the supplier will send out 4 research staff members to the research institute for a split period of 2 x 6 months. 2 researchers with less than 4 years research experience, 1 researcher with between 4-10 year research experience and 1 researcher with more than 10 year research experience.

The research institute will send the same type of research staff to the SME and the supplier for the same duration. In addition the research institute will recruit 2 foreign experienced researchers (between 4-10 year research experience) to perform the identified research project for one year.

This example project will result in an estimated budget of € 453.969 for the SME, € 482.874 for the supplier and € 1.167.376 for the research institute. The total project budget is approximately € 2,1 million.

Outer Framework Programmes

For projects, where technological bottlenecks are not so much the issue, but more the (market)introduction of and awareness building for new products, production processes or services, then the Outer Framework programmes provide ample opportunities. These programmes are various and tackle areas like sustainable energy, environmentally friendly solutions, long life learning, reduction of road transport and so on.


Marco Polo

Are you in the freight transport or logistics business? The 2011 call for proposals is your next chance to apply for Marco Polo funding. The deadline to submit Marco Polo project proposals is 16 January 2012.

Marco Polo provides funding for commercial enterprises that shift freight from road to short sea shipping, rail or inland waterways, or a combination of these modes OR reduce road transport by integration of road transport into production logistics. Both single commercial enterprises and consortia established in all 27 EU Member States and close third countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland) and Croatia are eligible for funding. The duration of a Marco Polo project is up to 36 or 60 months. The amount of funding is

· Up to 35% of the total eligible costs (common learning: 50%),

· € 2 per shift of 500 tonne kilometres,

· Difference between the total costs related to the action and the total income generated by the action.

A budget of € 57 million is available.

There are 5 types of actions:

Modal shift actions: starting up new freight service by rail, inland waterways, short sea shipping or a combination of these modes. Existing services to be significantly enhanced are also eligible. The minimum modal shift required is 60 million tonne-kilometres on average per year while for inland waterways projects 13 million tkm per year and for Single Wagonload Traffic 30 million tkm per year.

Catalyst actions: innovative actions causing a real breakthrough and offering solutions for structural market barriers. The eligibility threshold for catalyst actions is 30 million tkm per year.

Common learning actions: have, as a purpose, to improve cooperation and share know-how. The minimum indicative subsidy threshold is € 250,000.

Motorways of the seas actions: innovative actions under which frequent and large volume intermodal short sea shipping services are developed. The eligibility threshold for Motorways of the sea actions is 200 million tkm per year.

Traffic avoidance actions: innovative action aiming at increasing efficiency in international freight transport through modifications in production and distribution. The minimum traffic avoidance required is 80 million tkm per year.

Type of action Project Amount of funding
Modal shift Container rail shuttle service in four weekly loops between Sławków and Brzeg Dolny (Poland) and Hamburg and Bremerhaven (Germany). € 1.127.347
Modal shift Multimodal European distribution of frozen orange juice: by inland waterways between Amsterdam (Netherlands), Ghent and Antwerp (Belgium) and Mannheim (Germany), by short sea between Cartagena (Spain), Liverpool (UK) and Ventspils (Latvia). € 1.695.138
Traffic avoidance 1) Use of two-level semi-trailer for carrying non-stackable pallets.

2) Use of MAXI trailer for transport of jumbo-sized flat glass, to be transformed into a mega trailer for transporting regular freight pallets on the return trip

€ 5.082.051

LIFE+; Let the environment live!

LIFE+ is the European Union’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects. In the last annual call for proposals € 267 million of funding was available. A new call for proposals is expected in February 2012 with closing date end of June 2012 and a budget of more than € 277 million supporting 200 to 320 projects. Consisting of three sub-programmes (LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy & Government and LIFE+ Information & Communication), the programme is open to public or private organizations for projects within the territory of the 27 Member States of the European Union. The amount of funding is predominantly 50% of project costs.

LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity supports projects that contribute to the implementation of the EU’s Birds and Habitats Directives, the Natura 2000 network and that contribute to the EU’s goal of halting the loss of biodiversity.

The LIFE+ Environment Policy & Governanceprogramme supports innovative or demonstration projects that contribute to, among others, the development of innovative technologies, methods, instruments and policy approaches. It will focus on projects concerned with 13 priority areas: climate change, water, air, soil, urban environmental, noise, chemicals, environment and health, waste and natural resources, forests, innovation (demonstration of innovative technologies generating potential environmental advantages) and strategic approaches promoting effective implementation of EC environmental policy.

LIFE+ Information & Communication will co-finance projects that implement communication and awareness raising campaigns on environmental, nature protection or biodiversity conservation issues, as well as projects related to forest fire prevention (awareness raising, special training).

Nature and Biodiversity • connecting Nature 2000 areas

• restoration of river floodplains

• recovery of threatened wildlife habitat

Environment Policy & Governance • using manure for biomass to reduce CO2 emission

• non-toxic fouling paint and maintenance scheme for ship hulls

• removing dust/particles from vehicles alongside roads

Information & Communication • awareness of bio-diversity in changing rural setting

• reduction in water consumption

• awareness of separate recycling of waste


Does your company have plans to introduce a newly developed eco-friendly product, process technology or service to the European market? Then ‘Eco-innovation’ might provide an opportunity for you.

The EU programme Eco-Innovation – First Application and Market Replication Projects provides a grant of 50% of total costs necessary for the successful entrance to the European market with an eco-friendly innovation. This innovation has already been technically demonstrated with success but, has not yet penetrated the market due to critical barriers that block commercial success.

Priority is provided to projects in the fields of:

· Materials recycling: Improve the quality of recycling materials, innovative products (e.g. using recycled materials), business innovations to strengthen the competitiveness of recycling industries.

· Sustainable building products: Construction products and related processes that reduce consumption of resources, embodied carbon and production of by-product wastes.

· Food & drink sector: Cleaner production processes aiming at higher resources efficiency, reduction of waste and increasing recycling and recovery, high efficiency in the water process.

· Water: Water-free processes, water and wastewater treatment, smart distribution systems aiming at the saving of water, chemicals, energy and materials.

· Greening businesses: Innovative products and services that will decrease environmental impacts and use less resources, substitution of materials, greening of production and clean production processes, re-manufacturing mechanisms and innovative repairing services.

All types of enterprises are eligible for funding but SMEs have the advantage. Cooperation between several parties is not obliged.

Expected deadline for submission of proposals is end of August 2012.

Example projects
Project title Project description Expect results
Shredder residue and Tar-containing Asphalt Recycling 1 billion tonnes of tar containing asphalt (TCA) from public roads and 5 million tonnes of automotive shredder residue (SR) from cars are released every year in the EU. Presently shredder residue goes into landfill and the asphalt either gets reused in road construction or is cleaned in batches, using combustion. For the first time a continual, thermal cleaning technique is available for SR and TCA. The project will run the first full scale continuous process of a commercial application for cleaning of shredder residue and asphalt.

• The process will completely eliminate the production of toxic chemicals.

• The project aims at the market uptake of a process that aims to be cost effective and remarkably reduce the impact on the environment.

Economically viable solution for the energy autarkic treatment of sewage sludge to multi usable ash Sewage sludge from rural, small municipalities or from large industrial facilities is difficult to dispose of. Burning in power plants or in cement industry is expensive and inefficient. The Kalogeo process uses the heat from the process to dry the sewage sludge, reducing the sewage to inert ashes which then are recycled as a cement substitute or stored and sold separately for their phosphorus content. The energy surplus from the process can be used in a district heating network or transformed into electricity. The project is a full scale pilot at an Austrian concrete production site. Two major market players monitor the performance, cost efficiency and quality in all phases and they test the utilization of the end product ash. The working pilot plant enhances the chance of using the Kalogeo process across the EU market.
And more…

• pre-commercialisation of eco-tyres (generate copolymers for use in thermoplastic rubber)

• photo-bioreactor for production of micro algae with high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids

• light weight, foamed recycled Polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) food trays

• clean-cutting of ceramic tiles (dry cycle system to avoid dust)

• ecological treatment of blood in slaughterhouses

Vincent van den Bosch, Managing Partner PNO CEE

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