Boost for European Chemistry Research
The programme, which starts in January 2007, will see an immediate 40% boost in annual EU research spending, and a new emphasis on excellence in fundamental research with the launch of the European Research Council (ERC). Whilst the Commission’s original proposal was cut by a third, the FP7 budget still represents a 40% yearly increase in real terms (75% in 2013) compared with funding for 2006. Chemistry is well represented in the programme with opportunities in almost all of the nine thematic priorities. These have been developed with input from science organisations including SusChem (European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry) in which EuCheMS members, the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), are major partners. Advances in chemistry will be central to progress in energy research, one of the priority areas for new funding. This will cover energy efficiency (half of the budget of €2.35bn), renewables and clean coal and carbon-capture related research. The environment research thematic programme including climate change, in which chemists are set to play a major role, will receive €1.9bn for seven years. In addition to this, the Commission says that the issue will also be addressed horizontally across many other priorities, such as transport. The creation of the European Research Council is particularly welcome and EuCheMS expressed its support for this initiative in a high-level roundtable discussion in the European Parliament in July this year. The ERC will stimulate investigator-initiated frontier research across all fields, on the basis of excellence, with significant opportunities available for chemistry.