European Commission

Print page Decrease text Increase text


Please note that the FP7-4-SD website has been archived on 6 September 2018. All the interactive functions of the website (including the FP7-4-SD database, registration and login) are therefore no longer available. To get in touch with the project team please see here.

Here you can find the background information on:

Context and methodology of

Context: The monitoring system was developed in line with the requirement expressed in Annex 1 of FP7 "The overarching aim is to contribute to sustainable development". Launched on 20 April 2010, it was designed as a tool to monitor the extent to which the implementation of the Cooperation Specific Programme is indeed contributing to sustainable development.

The monitoring system is based on a qualitative screening: data is based on qualitative text analysis of publicly available documents (“scientific evidence-based screening”): the Work Programmes (WPs) of the Cooperation Specific Programme at topic level on the one hand, and the EU SDS at operational objective level on the other. The initial screening was conducted by a group of experienced researchers and experts from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna) and Technical University Delft (TU Delft). In order to ensure the high quality of results and discuss specific arising issues, about 10% of the topics were additionally validated by thematic experts from Ecologic Institute, INFRAS, ISI Fraunhofer and UPK Basel (“expert review and validation” process). These experts validated screening results, provided feedback, highlighted additional impacts and discussed undetermined impacts of specific research topics on EU SDS objectives with the project team. Therefore, screening and validation is based solely on the screened documents and the expertise of the research team (no additional interviews with project coordinators or scientific officers were conducted). The renewed EU SDS as a referential framework: The Council and the European Parliament have emphasised the need to harness EU-funded research to sustainability goals within FP7. However, sustainable development is difficult, if not impossible, to define in an operational way, unless it is translated into a precise policy track, which is indeed the case at EU level thanks to the EU renewed sustainable development strategy (the so-called EU renewed SDS) adopted by the Heads of State and Governments in June 2006. Therefore, the EU SDS was taken as a referential framework for and was transformed into a comprehensive list of 78 operational objectives, to which 9 operational objectives arising from national strategies have been added.

Following the structure of FP7: The database relies on a screening of the SP Cooperation Work Programmes (WPs), at topic level. Following a top-down approach, the SP Cooperation detailed expectations of the research that should be carried out under specific topics and therefore can be screened. Other Specific Programmes (‘Ideas’, ‘People’ and parts of ‘Capacities’ and ‘Euratom FP7’) were not or only partly screened, as they follow an investigator-driven (i.e. bottom-up) approach, are not limited to certain themes or topics and therefore do not contain any ex-ante specifications of how the research projects should be contributing to sustainable development.

Specific programme budget
Cooperation € 32 413 million Fully included in the interactive database
Ideas € 7 510 million Not covered
Capacities € 4 097 million Partly covered in the Policy briefs
People € 4 750 million Not covered
FP7 Euratom € 2 700 million Partly covered in the Policy briefs

The annual Work Programmes are organized under a four level structure, and the used terminology was harmonized throughout the individual Work Programmes. consequently applies a hierarchy of “activities”, “areas” and “topics”, (some Work Programmes actually use another terminology or additional levels, such as “sub-activity”, “challenge”, “objective”). In order to cope with potential changes in the sequence and/or numbering of activities and areas in the Work Programmes over time, applies a generic sequence that may differ from the hierarchy applied in the actual Work Programmes. Nonetheless, individual topics remain the reference point for proposals and projects and thus for the monitoring system itself.

Including project data: The data on FP7 funded projects was transferred directly from CORDIS to and linked to the screening data of the respective topic. It is important to mention that we did not conduct any screening of project descriptions, documents or abstracts, as the focus of the monitoring of is put on the Work Programmes published within FP7 not on the implementation of individual research projects. It is, however, important to note that the screening is based on the confidence that the evaluation and selection procedures ensure that the objectives stated in the Work Programmes and Topics are addressed by the funded projects. However, we appreciate that an individual project may cause additional impacts that go beyond the scope of the topic description included in the Work Programme.

The EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS)

The European Council in June 2006 adopted an ambitious and comprehensive renewed sustainable development strategy (EU SDS) for an enlarged EU (see It builds on the first EU SDS adopted at the Gothenburg Council in 2001 and is the result of an extensive review process that started in 2004. The overall aim of the EU SDS is to improve the quality of life, to manage and use resources efficiently, to tap the ecological and social innovation potential and to ensure prosperity, environmental protection and social cohesion. In order to achieve these overall goals, the EU SDS includes seven Key Challenges:

  1. Climate change and clean energy
  2. Sustainable transport
  3. Sustainable consumption and production
  4. Conservation and management of natural resources
  5. Public health
  6. Social inclusion, demography and migration
  7. Global poverty and sustainable development challenges

Each of these Key Challenges comprises a number of so called 'Operational Objectives', hence the EU SDS constitutes a relevant referential framework for monitoring the 7th EU Framework Programme's contribution to sustainable development.

For further details on the EU SDS process, please see the European Commission’s website on sustainable development ( and the “Research for sustainable development” site (

The 7th EU Framework Programme for RTD

The 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) is the EU's main instrument for funding research in Europe between 2007 and 2013. It has a total budget of € 50.5 billion for its seven year duration.

FP7 is made up of 4 Specific Programmes plus a fifth specific programme on nuclear research:

For further details on FP7, please the European Commission’s CORDIS website:

CORDIS, the Community Research and Development Information Service for Science, Research and Development, is the official gateway to European research and development in general and the main source of information on the 7th EU Framework Programme in particular (

The implementation of the 7th EU Framework Programme is monitored in several ways (

The team behind is a tendered project by DG Research and Innovation. The monitoring system has been set up, and will be regularly updated, by experts from the following research organisations:

RIMAS WUThe Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU VIENNA) is the EU’s largest educational institution for business and economics, business law, and social sciences. WU has an impressive track record in research covering a broad range of disciplines, as business and economics, formal sciences, law, social sciences and humanities. The Research Institute for Managing Sustainability has a long-standing tradition of putting interdisciplinary collaboration into practice. It actively fosters collaboration between a broad variety of scientists, such as economists, social and natural scientists as well as legal experts, while its research team consists of business administration experts, political scientists, ecologists, and landscape planners. Recently conducted research projects cover inter-disciplinary issues such as Sustainable Development Strategies and Indicators, Sustainable Consumption and Production, Good Governance and Corporate Sustainability.

The team of WU VIENNA is leading the project, developed the conceptual design of the monitoring system and the public platform and is responsible for screening the themes 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 10 in the Specific Programme 'Cooperation'.

TU DelftTU DELFT is the oldest and largest technical university in the Netherlands. It encompasses all engineering specialties (Architecture, Aerospace engineering, Mechanical-, Materials-, and Maritime engineering, Industrial Design, Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Technology, Policy & Management, Applied sciences). As part of TU Delft the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) wishes to make a significant contribution to sustainable solutions for social problems in which technology plays an important role, through internationally oriented education and research. The Section Policy Analysis focuses on the development, evaluation and embedding of procedures, methods and techniques, in support of decision making processes for which technology plays an important role. The Section Technology Dynamics and Sustainable Development researches and teaches the fields of Technology Assessment, Technology Dynamics, Innovation and History of Technology focussing on sustainable (technological) development.

The team of TU DELFT was involved in the conceptual design of the monitoring system and is responsible for screening the themes 4, 5 and 9 in the Specific Programme 'Cooperation'.

EcologicECOLOGIC - Institute for International and European Environmental Policy is a private not-for-profit think tank for applied environmental research, policy analysis and consultancy with offices in Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, and Washington DC. Ecologic's work programme focuses on obtaining practical results and on enhancing the importance of environmental protection and sustainable resource management in the fields of foreign and security policy, international relations and global governance structures. A significant part of its work is also focused on analysing and furthering the development of environmental policy of the European Union and its Member States.

The team of ECOLOGIC is involved in validation of the screening of topics with expected impacts on climate change and clean energy, sustainable consumption and production, conservation and management of natural resources, global poverty and sustainable development challenges.

INFRASINFRAS is a research and consulting group providing specialist services in the fields of societal, economic, and environmental policy and implementation. INFRAS draws on its in-depth experience and knowledge of policy planning and decision processes, the workings of the economy, and scientific research to provide clients with well-founded and practice-relevant decision support. INFRAS´ main topics are in the area of: society, economy, environment, transport, climate & energy, telecommunications, and development cooperation.

The INFRAS team is involved in validation of the screening of topics with expected impacts on sustainable transport, public health, social inclusion, demography and migration.

Fraunhofer ISIThe Competence Centre Emerging Technologies at FRAUNHOFER ISI investigates how innovative technologies evolve, spread and influence each other. The Competence Centre Emerging Technologies examines the societal and political framework conditions for the development and use of new technologies, as well as possibilities for implementing necessary changes. Experts from the fields of economics and political science, engineering, biology, medicine, chemistry, physics, psychology, sociology and communication sciences are brought together in interdisciplinary teams. The main focus of their research is on biotechnology, nanotechnology, health technologies, and information and communication technologies.

The team of FRAUNHOFER ISI is involved in validation of the screening of topics with expected impacts on public health.

UPK BaselThe PSYCHIATRIC UNIVERSITY CLINICS BASEL (UPKBS) offer the full range of inpatient and outpatient services for all mental health problems and disorders. They contain specialised units for research in chronobiology, neurobiology, and applied neuroscience and are associated through a joint research platform with the University of Basel. Cross-sectional research groups are active in the fields of quality management and evaluation as well as clinical and health services research.

The team of UPKBS is involved in validation of the screening of topics with expected impacts on public health. has been produced by the Vienna University of Economics and Business in cooperation with the Technical University Delft, Infras, Ecologic, ISI Fraunhofer and UPK Basel and is updated regularly.

Version: | Last update: May 3, 2016, 2:00 pm | Top