Janez Potocnik, the European Union's (E.U.'s) commissioner for research, said at a meeting in Prague last week that the 12 nations that have joined the E.U. since 2004 are not winning a fair slice of the research pie. He said said that a new progress report for the E.U.'s seventh Framework Program (FP7), which will distribute €50 billion to researchers between 2007 and 2013, revealed a mixed picture of application success between new and old members: 21.8% of applications for FP7 funding from old members were successful, compared to 17.9% of those from newer members, most of which are in central and eastern Europe.
It's not a clear-cut picture, however. "The overall success rate of the Czech Republic in the first 2 years of FP7 is close to the E.U. 27 average and higher than that of Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece," Potocnik said. He also noted that for the 12 new E.U. members, poor funding at home means that on average, researchers in these states get more money from the E.U. than they do from their own governments.