On 6 April the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new EU programme for Research. The proposal provides new impetus to increase Europes growth and competitiveness, recognising that knowledge is Europes greatest resource. The programme places greater emphasis than in the past on research that is relevant to the needs of European industry, to help it compete internationally, and develop its role as a world leader in certain sectors. The programme will also for the first time provide support for the best in European investigator-driven research, with the creation of a European Research Council. Focus will be on excellence throughout the programme, a requirement if it is to play its role in developing Europes global competitiveness. Another priority will be to make participation in the programme simpler and easier, through measures addressing the procedures, plus a rationalisation of instruments In spite of this new approach, there are many elements of continuity: in practice, for the majority of participants, the programme itself will not change, but participation will become simpler.