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Specific programme “People”

The aim of this specific programme is to improve the situation for researchers on the European job market. This document looks in detail at the various measures planned in order to improve the quality and quantity of jobs available.


Council Decision 2006/973/EC of 19 December 2006 concerning the specific programme People implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 400 of 30.12.06].


“People” is a specific programme within the 7th Framework Programme and its basic objectives are to improve, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the professional opportunities available to researchers in Europe. To put it another way, the “People” programme aims to adapt the European employment market so that it is more able to meet the training, mobility and career development needs of researchers. This will give researchers incentives to build their futures in Europe.

This programme mobilises extensive financial resources and draws on experience gained through the Marie Curie actions.

More specifically, the focus will be on the following three areas:

  • generating benefits and structuring effects, for example by introducing co-funding for regional, national and international programmes;
  • improving conditions for training and career development in the private sector;
  • strengthening the international dimension.

The budget required for executing this specific programme is estimated at EUR 4 750 million for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.


The overall objective of this specific programme is to improve, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the human research and technological development potential in Europe. In order to achieve this, various initiatives need to be taken to:

  • encourage people to embark on a career in research;
  • encourage European researchers to stay in Europe;
  • attract researchers to Europe from throughout the world;
  • do more to share knowledge between countries, sectors, organisations and disciplines;
  • foster the participation of women in research and technological development.

This specific programme provides added value in a number of respects. First of all, it will undoubtedly improve the mobility of researchers at both the intersectoral and transnational levels. It will also have structuring effects on:

  • the organisation, performance and quality of training given to researchers;
  • their career development;
  • the sharing of knowledge between research sectors and organizations; and
  • the participation of women.

The 7th Framework Programme including the various specific programmes and the research activities they give rise to, should respect fundamental ethical principles and give consideration to social, legal, socio-economic, cultural and gender mainstreaming aspects.


The various objectives of this specific programme will be achieved by implementing a series of “Marie Curie” actions focusing on skills and competence development at all stages of a researcher’s career. Mobility (both transnational and intersectoral), the recognition of experience acquired in different sectors and countries, and optimum working conditions are all key elements of these actions, which will address:

  • initial training for researchers;
  • life-long training and career development;
  • industry-academia partnerships and pathways;
  • the international dimension.

The programme also provides for more specialised accompanying actions, promotion actions (Marie Curie Awards, for example) and support actions.

Initial training of researchers

Initial research training will normally take place during the first four years of a researcher’s career; an additional year can be added if necessary.

This type of training should open up new career opportunities for researchers and make scientific careers more attractive by optimising the way in which training is structured in Member States and associated countries, in both the public and private sectors.

This action encourages the networking of organisations from different sectors engaged in the training of researchers. These networks will be built around joint multi-disciplinary training programmes covering not only scientific and technological knowledge but also skills in diverse disciplines such as management, finance, law, entrepreneurship, ethics, communication and societal outreach. In more concrete terms, Community support should be directed at:

  • recruiting and training researchers at the start of their careers;
  • setting up academic chairs or equivalent teaching positions for experienced researchers;
  • organising short training events (conferences, summer schools, specialised training courses, etc.) open both to trainees of the network and to researchers from outside the network.

Life-long training and career development

This action is directed at experienced researchers who have at least four years’ experience in full-time research or a doctorate. Essentially, it will help them to diversify their skills portfolio by acquiring multi- or interdisciplinary qualifications and intersectoral experience. The aim here is twofold:

  • to give researchers support in attaining the independent positions of responsibility they desire and/or strengthening their standing in such positions;
  • to help researchers who are resuming their career after a break by enabling them to (re)integrate quickly into a scientific career in a Member State or associated country, including in their own country of origin, after a mobility experience.

This action will be implemented through:

  • support for individual transnational, intra-European fellowships;
  • co-funding of regional, national or international programmes – applicants for co-funding may come from either the public or private sector, but they must play a key part in building up human resource capacity for research in their respective fields.

Industry-academia partnerships and pathways

This action seeks to establish links between public research organisations and private commercial enterprises (and in particular SMEs). It will involve long-term (intersectoral and transnational) cooperation programmes which will not only increase knowledge-sharing but also improve mutual understanding of the different cultural settings and skills requirements of both sectors.

Community support will focus on human resources, and take one or more of the following forms:

  • staff secondments between both sectors in the partnership;
  • temporary hosting of researchers recruited from outside the partnership;
  • the organisation of workshops and conferences;
  • a contribution to equipment for participating in the cooperation initiative (for SMEs only).

The international dimension

The international dimension of human resources in European research and development can be divided into two separate areas:

  • career development for researchers from EU Member States and associated countries;
  • international cooperation through researchers.

Actions in both these areas will be supported by international fellowships (“incoming” and “outgoing” fellowships), grants, partnerships, exchanges, organised events (conferences, etc.) and a systematic sharing of good practices.


Since 1984, the research and technological development policy of the European Union has been founded on multiannual framework programmes. The 7th Framework Programme is the second to be adopted since the Lisbon strategy was launched in 2000 and will play a crucial role in stimulating growth and jobs in Europe in the coming years. The Commission wishes to advance the “knowledge triangle” of research, education and innovation so that knowledge is used to promote economic dynamism as well as social and environmental progress.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2006/973/EC

1.1.7 – 31.12.13


OJ L 400 of 30.12.06


Communication from the Commission of 29 April 2009 to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the progress made under the Seventh European Framework Programme for Research [COM(2009) 209 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The “Marie Curie” grants proposed by the “People” programme remain a great success. They contribute towards a balanced “brain circulation” both at European and global levels and to the creation of a high-quality and mobile European R&D workforce. The use of industry-academia fellowships could be improved by better communicating opportunities to industries and SMEs.

Last updated: 26.05.2010