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FP7 is divided into so-called Specific Programmes, constituting five major building blocks:

The core of FP7 is the Cooperation programme (32,413 million euro 2007-2013). It fosters collaborative research by transnational consortia of industry and academia. Research is carried out in ten key thematic areas: health; food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology; information and communications technologies; nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies; energy; environment (including climate change); transport (including aeronautics); socio-economic sciences and the humanities; space and security. The programme also includes the new Joint Technology Initiatives, which are industry-driven, large-scale multi-financed actions, supported in certain cases by a mix of public and private funding (for example, Innovative Medicines Initiatives and Aircraft design with low CO2 emissions). Other highlights of this programme include coordination of non-community research programmes, which aims to bring European national and regional research programmes closer together (e.g. ERA-NET), and the Risk-sharing Finance Facility.

The Ideas programme (7,510 million euro 2007-2013) supports frontier research on the basis of scientific excellence. Research may be carried out in any area of science and there is no obligation for cross-border partnerships. The programme is implemented via the European Research Council.

The People programme (4,750 million euro 2007-2013) provides support for researcher mobility and career development, both inside the European Union and internationally. It is implemented via a set of Marie Curie actions.
The Capacities programme (4,097 million euro 2007-2013) strengthens the research capacities that Europe needs to become a knowledge-economy. It covers activities such as research infrastructures, research for the benefit of SMEs, Regions of Knowledge, research potential, science in society, and international cooperation.

The programme for nuclear research and training activities comprises research, technological development, international cooperation, dissemination of technical information, and exploitation activities, as well as training. This specific programme comprises two parts. The first part focuses on nuclear fusion and the international ITER research facility in Europe. The second part covers nuclear safety, waste management for nuclear fission facilities, and radiation protection (see also Joint Research Centre).

FP7 has a total budget of 50.521 billion euro for the entire period 2007-2013. This represents a substantial increase compared with the previous Framework Programme FP6 (41% at 2004 prices, 63% at current prices).

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