Those of you who are involved in ICT and also other themes in FP7 will already be aware that there are differences in the definition of a Small and medium scale focused project (STREP) between the different themes in the programme.
Those themes which are managed by DG Research define Focused projects simply on budget. All Collaborative research projects can carry out a wide range of activities – R&D, Demonstration, Management and Other are the categories – and those below a certain level of funding are considered to be Focused projects, those above it are Large scale integrating projects.
DG INFSO, managing the ICT theme, chose to maintain that there is qualitative difference between IPs and STREPs, not merely a quantitative one. Specifically, STREPs are expected to be well-planned tightly-focused research or demonstration projects. The implication of this is that in ICT the main activities in a STREP can be just three – R&D, Demonstration and Management. So a proposer who registers for an ICT call will find, when completing his A3 form for a STREP in the EPSS system, that only these three categories can be filled in.
Proposers in ICT who specifically plan to include other activities closely related to the research work of the project, such as protection of their IPR or dissemination of their results, can put these under the Management category (or if they wish to bear some of the cost themselves, under R&D). In themes other than ICT, these activities woud be funded as "other".
With the start of FP7, there is a new instrument, the so-called Specific International Cooperation Actions - SICAs. The proposal template is identical to a STREP (ICT) or small and medium scaled focussed project (elsewhere). A SICA in fact just has a special eligibility criterion.
The special eligibility criterion for SICAs is that instead of the usual rule of at least three mutually independent partners from three different Member of Associated states, a SICA requires just two Member or Associate state partners, but then also two mutually-independent partners from two different countries in the region being targeted for international coop
Apart from these special SICA actions, partners from elsewhere in Europe or overseas can always participate in any other project, provided the minimum three EU/AS partners are in place. And if their country is listed in the Workprogramme as an International Cooperation Partner Country they are funded for their participation on exactly the same basis as an organisation in a Member state. (Organisations in non-listed overseas countries can exceptionally be funded if their participation is essential to the project - there is a section in the proposal Part B where they are invited to explain about this).