The Communication on simplification of the implementation of the Research Framework Programme was presented by EU-Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, on April, 29, 2010.
The overall aim of the presented simplification methods is to reduce administrative burdens in the participation in EU-funded research projects as well as to increase transparency of the complex processes of calls for proposals and funding rules. This is supposed to not only make it possible for scientists to fully concentrate on their research projects, but also to increase the participation rate of SMEs, which is still very low. In return, however, the financial control of EU funds spent on research purposes shall be guaranteed as before.
The Commission’s strategy includes on the one hand practical improvement proposals, for example the optimization of the IT systems, as well as better coordination of calls for proposals within the Framework Programme. On the other hand the simplification of financial regulations, i. a. by accepting national accounting methods for EU funding, shall be achieved.
Moreover, in the Communication submitted also a possible restructuring of future Research Programmes is envisaged, for example by introducing a “payment by results”. Such a reorientation would mean that in the 8th Framework Programme the focus of project auditing would lie more on achievement of scientific goals, rather than on financial management of a project.
The publication of the simplification proposals is accompanied by the currently carried out revision of the EU-Financial Regulation, which only makes the implementation of the Commission’s strategy possible. Moreover the Commission has launched the interim evaluation of the current Research Framework Programme (FP7). For undertaking this review a group of independent experts has been appointed. Their report is expected to be published by autumn 2010.