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Specific programme "Cooperation"

This summary has been archived and will not be updated. See 'Horizontas 2020: specialioji įgyvendinimo programa (2014-2020 m.)' for an updated information about the subject.

Specific programme "Cooperation"

The main aim of this specific programme is to strengthen cooperation between the various stakeholders in the research world in order to promote the practical applications of technologies and knowledge for European society. It will be able to respond more effectively to current and future social, economic, environmental and industrial challenges. This document describes the features and objectives of the programme and the main guidelines contained in it. Details are then given of the objectives, approaches and specific activities theme by theme.


Council Decision 2006/971/EC of 19 December 2006 concerning the Specific Programme "Cooperation" implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013).


One of the main objectives of the Seventh Framework Programme is to make Europe the leading world forum for science and technology. In this connection, the aim of the Specific Programme "Cooperation" is to support cooperation between industries, research centres and public authorities both across the European Union (EU) and with the rest of the world.

This specific programme covers nine thematic areas corresponding to major fields of knowledge and technology in which transnational cooperation should be supported in order to address social, economic, environmental and industrial challenges:

  • health;
  • food, agriculture and biotechnology;
  • information and communication technologies;
  • nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies;
  • energy;
  • environment (including climate change);
  • transport (including aeronautics);
  • socio-economic sciences and the humanities;
  • security and space.

In budget terms, the amount deemed necessary for the implementation of the specific programme is EUR 32 413 million for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.


The specific programme "Cooperation" is intended to further the attainment of several more or less long-term objectives which will make it possible to boost the EU's competitiveness in science and technology.

These objectives aim:

  • to contribute to sustainable development within the context of promoting research at the highest level of excellence;
  • to promote ambitious pan-European public-private partnerships in order to accelerate the development of major technologies through the launching of joint technology initiatives;
  • to improve the coordination of national research programmes, in particular by strengthening the ERA-NET scheme and establishing an ERA-NET PLUS scheme;
  • to implement, with the close cooperation of Member States, four specific initiatives, the first three of which will cover ambient assisted living, Baltic Sea research and metrology, and the fourth of which will bring together national SME-related research programmes
  • to pursue a more targeted approach to international cooperation;
  • to develop, for each of the themes, a flexible response to emerging needs and unforeseen policy needs.

The main contribution of this specific programme will be to bring together resources, disciplines and scientific excellence. In addition, improved coordination of national policies, EU-wide dissemination of results, creation of pan-European research teams and networks, and work addressing pan-European policy challenges will strengthen the integration of European research and development.

To optimise monitoring of the implementation of the programme, performance indicators will be developed at three levels:

  • quantitative and qualitative indicators to show the direction of scientific and technical progress (standards, tools, processes, techniques, services, etc).
  • management indicators to monitor performance internally and support senior management decision-making (budget implementation, time taken to sign contracts and make payments, etc);
  • outcome indicators to assess the overall effectiveness of the research against general EU objectives (e.g. impact on the achievement of the Lisbon, Göteborg, Barcelona and other objectives) and in relation to the specific programme (e.g. contribution to the EU's scientific, technological and economic performance)


Implementation of the nine themes (see above) for action by the EU has several implications:

  • promotion of multidisciplinarity through joint cross-thematic approaches to research and technology subjects;
  • adaptation to evolving needs and opportunities ("emerging needs" and "unforeseen policy needs") ;
  • strengthening of coordination of the dissemination of knowledge and transfer of research results including through the funding of networking/brokerage initiatives, seminars and events, assistance by external experts and information services;
  • facilitation of the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular through improved financial and administrative procedures, better consideration of their needs and the implementation of support measures;
  • respect for fundamental ethical principles, as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, and social, socio-economic, cultural and gender equality principles;
  • promotion of collaborative research in order to boost the reputation of European knowhow worldwide ;
  • establishment, subject to certain conditions (added value, strength of commitment, inability of existing instruments to achieve the objective, etc.), of joint technology initiatives combining private-sector investment and national and European public funding;
  • coordination of (national and regional) non-Community research programmes via the ERA-NET scheme and Community participation;
  • support for international science and technology policy through international cooperation actions such as strategic research partnerships with third countries and problem solving on the basis of mutual interest and mutual benefit.


Where health is concerned, the objective of the programme is twofold. On the one hand it consists of improving health conditions in Europe and worldwide and on the other increasing the competitiveness of European health-related industries and businesses.

In terms of the approach, emphasis will be placed on:

  • translational research (translation of basic discoveries into clinical applications);
  • development and validation of new therapies;
  • communication of research results;
  • development of methods of health promotion and disease prevention, diagnostic tools and technologies, as well as sustainable and efficient health-care systems (child health and the health of the ageing population).

This theme will cover three main areas of activity:

  • development of biotechnology and generic tools and technologies for human health;
  • boosting of translational research;
  • optimising the delivery of health care.

The budget for this theme will be EUR 6 100 million.

Food, agriculture and biotechnology

In this area, the objective is to build a knowledge-based European bio-economy by bringing together science, industry and other stakeholders. The main aim will be to tailor research to contemporary social and economic challenges (healthy food, sustainable development and production, and climate change, etc).

In terms of the approach, emphasis will be placed mainly on:

  • sustainable management, production and use of biological resources;
  • eco-efficiency and competitiveness of SMEs (representing 90 % of the agri-food sector).

In terms of activities, this will be reflected by:

  • the development of sustainable production and management of biological resources from land, forest, and aquatic environments;
  • achieving an optimum balance between food, health and well being;
  • the utilisation of life sciences and biotechnology for sustainable non-food products and processes (energy and industry, etc).

The budget allocated to this theme will be EUR 1 935 million.

Information and communication technologies

The objective here is to improve the competitiveness of European industry and shape information and communication technologies (ICT) so that the changing needs of European society and the European economy can be met.

The approach adopted focuses on:

  • strengthening Europe’s scientific and technology base in ICT;
  • stimulating innovation through ICT use;
  • ensuring that progress is transformed into practical benefits for Europe’s citizens, businesses, industry and public authorities.

The various activities envisaged will focus on:

  • strategic research relating to innovative ICT applications;
  • integration of technologies in all sectors of society through collaboration and networking actions, support to joint technology initiatives and national programme coordination initiatives.

The budget allocated to this theme will be EUR 9 050 million.

Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies

In this area, the objective is to improve the competitiveness of European industry and ensure its transformation from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-intensive industry.

To achieve this objective, two types of approach are envisaged:

  • the short-term approach is to focus on the convergence of knowledge and skills;
  • in the long term, the aim is to capitalise on the prospects offered by nanosciences and nanotechnologies for the creation of a knowledge-based industry and economy

In terms of activities, priority will be given to the interdisciplinary development of new products and materials and new processes and techniques.

The budget allocated to this theme will be EUR 3 475 million.


The main objective of this theme will be to transform the current fossil-fuel based energy system into a sustainable, diversified and cost-effective system able to address pressing challenges (security of supply, climate change, competitiveness).

Where the approach is concerned, research will therefore focus on the development of cost-effective technologies for a more sustainable and competitive energy economy for Europe.

The applications are as follows:

  • implementation of the hydrogen and fuel cells programme;
  • development of technologies for electricity production from renewables;
  • development of technologies for renewable fuel production;
  • optimum use of renewables for heating and cooling;
  • CO2 capture and storage technologies;
  • development of clean coal technologies;
  • development of smart energy networks (to increase efficiency, flexibility, safety and reliability);
  • greater energy efficiency;
  • use of knowledge for energy policy-making.

The budget allocated to this them will be EUR 2 350 million.


The major challenge here is to develop the technologies needed in order to strike a balance between human activities and sustainable management of the environment and its resources.

To this end, the emphasis will be placed on:

  • development of tools for the prevention and mitigation of climate change;
  • implementation of the international commitments of the EU and its Member States;
  • promotion of innovative ecotechnologies;
  • coordination of national programmes;
  • strengthening the dissemination of research results.

With regard to the activities to be conducted, the specific programme provides for research in several areas with a view to giving appropriate responses to future challenges:

  • the functioning of climate and the Earth system;
  • interactions between environmental risk factors and human health;
  • management of natural disasters;
  • conservation and sustainable management of natural and man-made resources;
  • evolution of marine environments;
  • utilisation of environmental technologies for the sustainable management and conservation of the environment;
  • technology assessment, verification and testing;
  • Earth observation;
  • the development of assessment tools;

The budget allocated to this theme will be EUR 1 890 million.


Where transport is concerned, the main objective is to develop systems that are more competitive, safer and "greener".

In terms of the approach, priority will be given to the formulation and implementation of new policies so that technological progress can be harnessed for the benefit of sustainable European transport systems. In this connection, the potential of the European global satellite navigation system, encompassing Galileo and EGNOS, should be exploited to the full.

Various activities are envisaged for both air transport and surface transport (rail, road and waterborne).

Air transport:

  • greening of transport systems;
  • increasing time efficiency (punctuality, traffic management, etc);
  • improving passenger satisfaction and safety;
  • optimising cost-efficiency;
  • improving the protection of aircraft and passengers;
  • exploring new technologies.

Surface transport:

  • greening of transport systems;
  • promoting public transport and decongesting transport corridors;
  • ensuring sustainable urban mobility;
  • improving safety and security;
  • increasing competitiveness.

The budget allocated to this theme will be EUR 4 160 million.

Socio-economic sciences and the humanities

Acquiring a better understanding of the various socio-economic challenges with which Europe is confronted (growth, employment, competitiveness, etc) is an objective to be attained with a view to furthering the policies in the fields concerned.

To this end, in addition to socio-economic research and humanities research, the work will also build upon relevant national research programmes. The work will be facilitated by the establishment of appropriate research infrastructures. Specific dissemination actions targeted at particular groups (e.g. policy-makers) and the general public will be undertaken (workshops, conferences, media, etc)

The main activities will consist of research work on:

  • growth, employment and competitiveness issues;
  • possible trade-offs and synergies between economic, social and environmental objectives in the world context;
  • sustainable development;
  • major trends in society and their implications;
  • Europe in the world;
  • citizens in the European Union;
  • use of socio-economic and scientific indicators in the implementation of policies;
  • early identification of long-term challenges and areas of common interest.

The budget allocated to this theme will be EUR 623 million.

Security and space

There are numerous objectives in these two areas;

  • to develop technologies and knowledge focusing on civil applications to ensure the security of citizens against threats (e.g. terrorism, crime, natural disasters and industrial accidents);
  • to ensure optimum and concerted use of available and evolving technologies for the benefit of European security while respecting fundamental human rights;
  • to stimulate cooperation between providers and users in security solutions;
  • to reinforce the technology base of the European security industry and strengthen its competitiveness;
  • to support a European space programme focusing on applications such as the GMES for the benefit of citizens and for the competitiveness of the European space industry.

Where security is concerned, priority will be given to the civil dimension. The research will be multidisciplinary. It will be based on a two-fold approach: methodology development and technology integration, demonstration and validation. The activities will address four security mission areas in which there is a European added value (protection against terrorism and crime, security of infrastructures and utilities, border security, and restoring security in a crisis) and three cross-cutting areas (security systems integration and interoperability, security and society, and security research coordination and structuring).

Where space is concerned, the aim is to place satellite technologies at the service of European society (security, environment, and communications) and support space exploration activities.

The budgets allocated in the domains of space and security will be, respectively, EUR 1 430 and 1 400 million.


Since 1984, the EU has been pursuing a research and technological development policy based on multiannual framework programmes. The Seventh Framework Programme is the second since the launching of the Lisbon strategy in 2000 and is intended to play a vital role in relation to growth and employment in Europe over the next few years. The Commission wishes to develop the "knowledge triangle" formed by research, education and innovation policies to place knowledge at the service of economic dynamism and social and environmental progress.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2006/971/EC

1.1.2007 - 31.1.2013


OJ L 400 of 30.12.2006


Communication from the Commission of 29 April 2009 to the Council, the European Parliament, the 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 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. The collaborative research instruments of the Cooperation programme enable industry and academia to collaborate in an ‘open innovation’ environment, contributing to the free circulation of knowledge and technologies. The European added value and structuring effects with respect to the European Research Area (ERA) are decisive criteria for choosing the priority topics, independent of the size and scope of the instrument.

See also

Last updated: 15.01.2010