Planned €80 billion EU research programme sharpens focus on converting research results into products and services.
The 2014-20 programme – known as Horizon 2020– would bring all of the EU’s research and innovation funding programmes under a single umbrella. This will make it easier to turn scientific breakthroughs into innovative products and services that improve people’s daily lives and create business opportunities.The proposals earmark funding for three key objectives:
- €24.6 billion to keep Europe a world leader in science. The European Research Council, which funds fundamental research by some of Europe’s most outstanding scientists, will see a 77% budget increase.
- €17.9 billion to secure European industry’s leadership in innovation. This includes investment in key technologies as well as help for small businesses needing access to finance.
- €31.7 billion to address popular concerns in areas such as:
- health, demographic change and well-being
- food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy
- secure, clean and efficient energy
- smart, green and integrated transport
- climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials
- inclusive, innovative and secure societies
To cut red tape, the Commission plans to simplify reimbursement procedures for EU-funded research projects, reduce the paperwork involved in preparing a research proposal, abolish unnecessary checks and audits, and shorten the time between acceptance of a research proposal and receipt of the grant.
Many key elements from the current programme will continue, such as investment in key enabling technologies like nanotechnologies; initiatives to bring together academia, research centres and business; international collaboration, and funding for young researchers.
The plans will be discussed by ministers and MEPs with a view to agreement before the end of 2013.