FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME 7
286. The Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7)
brings together all research-related EU initiatives. Marine science
is a cross-cutting issue in FP7, with marine resources covered
in Theme 2 (Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnology)
of the Co-operation Specific Programme and pressures on the marine
system and the management of marine environments covered in Theme
6 (Environment, including climate change).
NERC has recently had a meeting with senior Commission officials
and concluded that "we felt on both sides that there was
increasingly a very good convergence of the scientific agenda".
On the part of industry, Mr Burt of AMSI welcomed the change in
FP7 to encourage the involvement of SMEs.
However, we note concern that little prominence has been given
to marine science per se in FP7 and that the ending of
the MAST programme has left the EU with no dedicated marine science
287. One difficulty with European research funding
as far as the universities are concerned was identified by Professor
Henderson as "the sheer size of the typical consortia that
are required at European level".
He commented that "That is a good format to do really targeted
research in a few areas and I think the EU is very successful
at doing that, but it funds very specific areas of ocean marine
Portuguese officials stressed the importance of the careful selection
and establishment of consortia to exploit the opportunities under
288. Portugal's Ministries of Science and Technology,
Economics and Defence have set out national priorities for marine
science with supporting structures designed specifically for FP7.
We are pleased that there already seems a good fit between UK
science and what is proposed under FP7. Traditionally, the UK
has done well out of Framework Programmes. For example, in the
EC MAST Programme run under the Fourth Framework Programme, the
UK gained more than any other country, gaining nearly twice the
UK's juste retour, with UK scientists co-ordinating 22
(26%) of MAST projects, and involved in 66 projects (77% of the
recommend that the UK continue to work closely with EU to exploit
FP7 to the full in the area of marine science.