The 39 new amendments deal with issues such as the structure of the European Research Council (ERC) and the proposed Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF).
MEPs agreed on an amendment on renewable and end use energy, which foresees a 'major part' of the budget from FP7's energy theme going to the field, instead of two thirds as proposed by the Parliament in its first reading. According to ITRE, special attention will be devoted to the coordination of issues linked to rational and efficient use of energy in FP7 and in other EU policies.
A compromise was also reached regarding the administrative costs of the ERC, which should now not exceed 5% - MEPs had originally asked for a limit of 3%. On the issue of the Parliament's involvement in the interim evaluation of the ERC, it was agreed to opt for co-decision procedure in case changes in the structure of ERC become necessary.
ITRE also endorsed amendments on the rules of participation for companies, research centres and universities, as well as the RSFF, which is designed to encourage bank lending to research projects. Initially, the Council had planned to allocate â¬1 billion from the FP7 budget to finance RSFF. However, under the amendment, a lower contribution of â¬500 million is foreseen until 2010, with the possibility of releasing the additional â¬500 million after a review.
On the European Institute of Technology (EIT), the committee stressed that no money from FP7 should be used to finance the proposed structure. Only administrative costs directly associated with research projects may be covered.
The amended text will be put to the vote at a Parliament plenary session, due to be held on 29 November, before it is put to the Council on 5 December.
If all goes to plan, the first calls for proposals for FP7 projects could be published by December 2006, with closing dates in March 2007. Following an evaluation period, the first FP7 projects could start as early as the end of 2007 or early 2008
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