The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment; along with a new Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), Education and Training programmes, and Structural and Cohesion Funds for regional convergence and competitiveness. It is also a key pillar for the European Research Area (ERA).


The Commission’s proposals for the FP7 Capacities programme aim to enhance research and innovation capacities throughout Europe and ensure their optimal use. The Capacities programme is provided with a budget of EUR 4 097 million to operate in seven broad areas:
• Research infrastructures
• Research for the benefit of SMEs
• Regions of knowledge and support for regional research-driven clusters
• Research potential of Convergence Regions
• Science in society
• Support to the coherent development of research policies
• International cooperation


Initiatives under FP7 programme will include:
• Bilateral coordination for the enhancement and development of S&T partnerships between Europe and specific third countries including Mediterranean area :
• Supporting the coordination of national activities of EU Member States and Associated Countries on international S&T cooperation. The objective of the ERA-NET scheme is to step up the cooperation and coordination of national or regional research programs through networking, aiming at mutual opening and the development and implementation of joint activities.


In the particular case of international cooperation, European community aim to become more competitive and play a leading role globally. Thus, European Community needs a strong and coherent international science and technology (S&T) policy with three objectives:
• support European competitiveness through strategic partnerships with non-EU countries in selected fields of science,
• enhance the production of knowledge and scientific excellence by enabling European universities, research institutions and firms to establish contacts with their partners in such third countries,
• Address specific problems that third countries face, or that have a global character, on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit.

Science and technology (S&T) are considered to be key factors contributing to achieving sustainable development, prosperity and economic growth. S&T has also proved instrumental to enhancing and enriching many other policy areas with an impact on external relations: trade, development, environment, energy, telecommunications, etc.