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Commission examines why FP7 involvement varies between states

Variations in R&D spending, lack of programme alignment and fragmented national support systems are the reasons why FP7 participation varies between member states, the European Commission says.

The Commission published the results of a study looking at why there are different levels of participation in the Framework 7 research programme among member states on 28 September.

The analysis looked at a range of different indicators such as the number of participants and national success rates, in comparison with other factors such as GDP and overall R&D expenditure. It found significant differences in the performance of the original 12 member states but found the picture was more complicated than first envisaged.

Differences in participation between countries are caused by the difference between levels of investment in R&D or national support systems, the lack of complementarities between EU and national policies or the initial difficulties for newcomers, the Commission concludes.

The Commission proposes a series of possible remedies, particularly the use of structural funds to build a “staircase to excellence” and to increase synergies with Horizon 2020, the Commission’s proposal for the follow-up to Framework 7. It also suggests funding national programmes through Horizon 2020 or the use of Structural Funds to fund good Horizon 2020 proposals that are not selected for funding.