Food, biotechnology and agriculture research projects will command budgets of EUR1.9bn (US$2.44bn) from 2007-13 under the rewritten draft European Union (EU) seventh framework programme (FP7), just food has learnt.

Other targeted research budgets under the EUR54.5bn scheme proposed by the European Commission of potential relevance to the food sector include EUR5.9bn on health, EUR1.8m on environmental research, plus EUR3.4bn on nanotechnology, materials, and manufacturing.

Food companies can bid for this money to fund research projects if they form international consortia with other research teams. For smaller companies, there is a special budget of EUR1.2bn for research projects involving small and medium-sized businesses.

The figures come from as yet unpublished Commission proposals that have been seen privately by MEPs and ministers, and which have been passed to just-food.

They are based on 2006 prices, and when these budgets are actually spent, they will be rounded up according to inflation, depending in which year the money is released.

However, as large as these sums appear, they are significantly smaller than the Commission would have preferred, because the recent tough medium-term budget negotiations lowered the overall planned pot of FP7 research money from EUR74bn to the current EUR54.4bn. EC research spokeswoman Antonia Mochan said: “The budget is not what we asked for, but we’ll do our best with what we have got.”
Companies wanting to apply for money need to monitor the Commission’s research website ( for calls for research proposals from 1 January, 2007, and then make applications within the required deadlines.