The European Union spends significant amounts of public money on research. This is currently done under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7); but there is also funding for research coming from other EU budgets.
The main areas of research funded under FP7 are:
- Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Techniques
- Environmental (including climate change)
- Transport (including Aeronautics)
- Socio-economic sciences and Humanities
- Nuclear science
Each of these in different ways raise social questions – certainly insofar as they try to address societal challenges. Despite this, the legal basis of the 7th Framework Programme only addresses ethical concerns from the perspective of bio-ethics.