Colloquia IFIC

Past and future of the EU Framework programme for research and innovation: an outlook

by Dr. Monica Dietl (CNRS and Initiative for Science in Europe, France)

Salón de Actos (PCUV)

Salón de Actos


Edificio de Cabecera, First Floor

Link to the recorded colloquium


The European Union's research policy is as old as the European project. The first elements appeared at the early 1960s with three treaties, the first on coal and steel (CECA) and the second on nuclear energy (Euratom), both included provisions for research funds. The third treaty, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), had no mention of research, but one of his articles made it possible to launch a certain number of research programmes in areas such as health, energy, environment. In the same period, intergovernmental initiatives were launched, such as CERN (1951) and COST (1971) allowing researchers to connect European wide and beyond. These were years when everything seemed possible, during which European countries sought to unite to prevent the return of the wars of the past and ensure a peace future, researchers were already part of the key players.

It took a long time for the first framework programme to appear. Key political figures played a key role in this process. The first framework programme was born in the early 1980s, with the aim of organising the multiple initiatives taken over the years, placing them in a coherent “framework”. Two essential programmes were set up, ESPRIT, the first major European technological programme, and SCIENCE, a smaller programme for upstream research. The logic of intervention had changed, it was then about European competitiveness. It took a long time to allow a new interpretation of the EU Treaty and open it to putting individuals into competition on a European scale, and thus seeing the birth of the ERC in 2006. The framework programmes have since then become a powerful financial instrument making it possible to implement the European strategy of research and technological development. Today the framework programme represents the third EU budget behind the Common Agricultural Policy and the Structural Funds. 

At the same time, the development of the European Research Area concept became a major political objective and wad introduced in the Treaty of the EU.

But we, the research communities, think that this is not enough, if the budget has grown over the last twenty years, the framework programmes cover more and more subjects (defense always banned, today under discussion), thus the budget becoming more and more insufficient. But politicians want always more, always better, always faster. The time has come to demand better working conditions, better careers, resources adapted to ambitions.

The tenth framework programme must be the one that breaks with the logic of the past where researchers were asked to do always more with always less, and to catch up without being able to afford it.

After a brief summary of past developments, Monica Dietl will address future challenges in a constantly evolving world and the prospects for establishing a new paradigm in which research must make its contribution to maintaining peace in Europe. Scientific communities must contribute to developing a new model of thought, a way of understanding and building the world.

Organized by

IFIC colloquium organizers

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