Applying for European funding is a notoriously complicated and lengthy process. To make it worth putting yourself through it you need to be sure that your project is exactly what the EC wants, that you've got a good spread of partners whose involvement makes sense, and that you've had time to develop the structure, management and work packages within the project.
That's a tall order when the EC gives you just 6-7 months between announcing a call and the deadline for applications.
However, there are signs that the Commission recognises this, and is taking steps to improve things. At an event in London on Friday the UK National Contact Point for the Socioeconomic Sciences and Humanities, the ESRC, outlined the EC's 'roadmap' for the theme up to 2013. Dr Stephen Struthers, Principal Policy Manager at the Council, stressed that this was 'indictive', but that it gave some useful pointers of the EC's priorities over the next few years. This is particularly important as the SSH theme would be asking for more 'societal challenges' projects, which are huge (>€6.5m, >7 partners), and would require some considerable time to put together.
For more information on the roadmap, or on European funding general, do get in touch.