The European Commission has just proposed its new package of measures to boost research, innovation and competitiveness in Europe.
Horizon 2020, an €80 billion programme, will focus funds on three key objectives. It will support the EU’s position as a world leader in science. It will help secure industrial leadership in innovation. It will also address major concerns shared by all Europeans, across six key themes: 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; and Inclusive, innovative and secure societies.
In parallel, a complementary new programme to boost competitiveness and innovation in SMEs, has been announced with an additional budget of €2.5 billion. The funding programmes will run from 2014 to 2020.
For the first time, Horizon 2020 brings together all EU research and innovation funding under a single programme. It focuses more than ever on turning scientific breakthroughs into innovative products and services that provide business opportunities and change people’s lives for the better. At the same time it drastically cuts red tape, with simplification of rules and procedures to attract more top researchers and a broader range of innovative businesses. The Commission proposal will now be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament, with a view to adoption before the end of 2013.
Presenting Horizon 2020, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "We need a new vision for European research and innovation in a dramatically changed economic environment. Horizon 2020 provides direct stimulus to the economy and secures our science and technology base and industrial competitiveness for the future, promising a smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive society."
€3.5 billion will be devoted to a scaled up and expanded use of financial instruments that leverage lending from private sector financial institutions. These have been shown to be extremely effective at stimulating private investment in innovation that leads directly to growth and jobs. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from around €8.6 billion, recognising their critical role in innovation.
Horizon 2020’s predecessor FP7, which is currently under way, has been particularly lucrative for Irish companies. For example, Ireland has the highest SME participation degree of the EU27 (no. of SMEs participating in FP7 per 100,000 SMEs: 104). Ireland’s SME participation degree is approximately twice that of Finland (51), Denmark (54) and the UK (43).
For further information: Horizon 2020