In FP7 Euratom there are two associated specific programmes; one in the fields of fusion energy research and nuclear fission and radiation protection, the other in the nuclear field undertaken by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). The JRC has become a leading institute of nuclear research in Europe.
FP7 Euratom aims to address the major issues and challenges in nuclear research and to contribute to the further consolidation of the European Research Area (ERA) in the nuclear energy sector.
F4E is the ‘European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy’. It is the EU domestic agency responsible for providing Europe’s contribution for the implementation of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). This international project aims to demonstrate that fusion may be a viable and sustainable source of energy for human consumption. ITER initiative is the world’s largest scientific partnership which brings together seven parties: the EU, Russia, Japan, China, India, South Korea and the United States.
F4E also supports fusion research and development initiatives through the Broader Approach Agreement (signed with Japan) which aims to complement the ITER Project, and the development of advanced technologies for the construction of demonstration fusion reactors (DEMO).
The F4E Joint Undertaking was created under the Euratom Treaty by a decision of the Council of the European Union. It was established for a period of 35 years (from 19 April 2007) and it is located in Barcelona, Spain.
For the implementation of its tasks, and in order to work together with European industry, SMEs and research organisations, F4E uses two contract mechanisms: grant agreements (grants) and procurement contracts (procurement) which are underpinned by the principles of transparency, proportionality, equal treatment and non-discrimination
Procurement contracts are awarded to contractors in order to obtain the supply of assets, the execution of works and/or the provision of services. These contracts are granted according to calls for tenders that may take one of the following forms: open procedure, restricted procedure, negotiated procedure or competitive dialogue. Procurement results in a proper commercial agreement which provides contractors with 100% of the financial contribution from F4E.
Grants are direct financial contributions that fund beneficiaries, by way of donation, for research and development actions in order to support F4E’s tasks. Co-financing and non-profit rules are mandatory in accordance with F4E’s financial regulations. In contrast to procurement contracts, grants are limited to 40% of financial contribution, the remaining part being borne by the beneficiaries.
The different funding rates between grants and procurement imply different rules for the management of IP in the related projects.