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European Commission announces €80 billion R&D support programme

Updated: 2011-12-1 Source:

The European Commission today presented a package of measures to boost research, innovation and competitiveness in Europe.

Commissioner M¨¢ire Geoghegan-Quinn has announced Horizon 2020, an €80 billion programme for investment in research and innovation. Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has put forward a Strategic Innovation Agenda for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which will receive €2.8 billion of funding under Horizon 2020.

In parallel, Vice-President Antonio Tajani has announced a complementary new programme to boost competitiveness and innovation in SMEs, with an additional budget of €2.5 billion. The funding programmes run from 2014 to 2020.

Presenting Horizon 2020, Ms 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."

For the first time, Horizon 2020 brings together all EU research and innovation funding under a single programme, with increased focus on turning scientific breakthroughs into innovative products and services. At the same time, the Commission says it drastically cuts red tape, with simplification of rules and procedures to attract more top researchers and a broader range of innovative businesses.

Horizon 2020 will focus funds on three key objectives. It will support the EU¡¯s position as a world leader in science, with a dedicated budget of €24.6 billion, including an increase in funding of 77% for the European Research Council (ERC). Secondly, it will help secure industrial leadership in innovation with a budget of €17.9 billion, including an investment of €13.7 billion in key technologies and greater access to capital and support for SMEs. Finally, €31.7 billion will go towards addressing 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
- Inclusive, innovative and secure societies

The proposal will now be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament, with a view to adoption before the end of 2013.

The Commission says funding provided by Horizon 2020 will be easier to access thanks to its simpler programme architecture, a single set of rules and less red tape. There will be a single flat-rate system of reimbursement for indirect costs, and only two funding rates ¨C for research and for close-to-market activities respectively.

€3.5 billion will be devoted to a scaled up and expanded use of financial instruments that leverage lending from private sector financial institutions. The Commission says 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 will invest nearly €6 billion in developing European industrial capabilities in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). These include nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, and biotechnology.