EU budget: Commission proposes most ambitious Research and Innovation programme yet

Katainen 2018 EU Budget Research

Press conference by Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, and Commissioner Moedas on the 2012-2027 European Research and Innovation programmes. © European Union , 2018 / Photo: Georges Boulougouris.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing €100 billion for research and innovation.

A new programme – Horizon Europe – will build on the achievements and success of the previous research and innovation programme (Horizon 2020) and keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation. Horizon Europe is the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever.

Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said “Investing in research and innovation is investing in Europe’s future. EU funding has allowed teams across countries and scientific disciplines to work together and make unthinkable discoveries, making Europe a world-class leader in research and innovation. With Horizon Europe, we want to build on this success and continue to make a real difference in the lives of citizens and society as a whole.”

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added: “Horizon 2020 is one of Europe’s biggest success stories. The new Horizon Europe programme aims even higher. As part of this, we want to increase funding for the European Research Council to strengthen the EU’s global scientific leadership, and reengage citizens by setting ambitious new missions for EU research. We are also proposing a new European Innovation Council to modernise funding for ground-breaking innovation in Europe”.

While continuing to drive scientific excellence through the European Research Council (ERC) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships and exchanges, Horizon Europe will introduce the following main new features:

  • A European Innovation Council (EIC) to help the EU become a frontrunner in market-creating innovation:The Commission’s proposal will establish a one-stop shop to bring the most promising high potential and breakthrough technologies from lab to market application, and help the most innovative start-ups and companies scale up their ideas. The new EIC will help identify and fund fast-moving, high-risk innovations with strong potential to create entirely new markets. It will provide direct support to innovators through two main funding instruments, one for early stages and the other for development and market deployment. It will complement the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
  • New EU-wide research and innovation missions focusing on societal challenges and industrial competitiveness:Under Horizon Europe, the Commission will launch new missions with bold, ambitious goals and strong European added valueto tackle issues that affect our daily lives. Examples could range from the fight against cancer, to clean transport or plastic-free oceans. These missions will be co-designed with citizens, stakeholders, the European Parliament and Member States.
  • Maximising the innovation potential across the EU: Support will be doubled for Member States lagging behind in their efforts to make the most of their national research and innovation potential. Moreover, new synergies with Structural and Cohesion Funds will make it easy to coordinate and combine funding and help regions embrace innovation.
  • More openness: The principle of ‘open science’ will become the modus operandi of Horizon Europe, requiring open access to publications and data. This will assist market uptake and increase the innovation potential of results generated by EU funding.
  • A new generation of European Partnerships and increased collaboration with other EU programmes: Horizon Europewill streamline the number of partnershipsthat the EU co-programmes or co-funds with partners like industry, civil society and funding foundations, in order to increase their effectiveness and impact in achieving Europe’s policy priorities.Horizon Europe will promote effective and operational links with other future EU programmes, like Cohesion Policy, the European Defence Fund, the Digital Europe Programme and the Connecting Europe Facility, as well as with the international fusion energy project ITER.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission’s science and knowledge service, will continue to contribute with scientific advice, technical support and dedicated research.

The proposed budget allocation of €100 billion for 2021-2027 includes €97.6 bn under Horizon Europe (€3.5 bn of which will be allocated under the InvestEU Fund) and €2.4 bn for the Euratom Research and Training Programme. The Euratom programme, which funds research and training on nuclear safety, security and radiation protection, will have an increased focus on non-power applications such as healthcare and medical equipment, and will also support the mobility of nuclear researchers under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

Next steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible. Delays would force Europe’s brightest minds to look for opportunities elsewhere. This would imply the loss of thousands of research jobs and harm Europe’s competitiveness. From fundamental research to market-creating innovation, key advances in e.g. healthcare, climate action, green transport and sustainable agriculture would slow down; solutions for cancer treatments, greenhouse gas emissions, smart cars, and healthy diets would be delayed.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.

Background

The Horizon Europe proposal builds on the success of the current programme, Horizon 2020. The interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 showed that the programme is on track to help create jobs and growth, tackle our biggest societal challenges and improve people’s lives. It shows that the programme has clear European added value, producing demonstrable benefits compared to national or regional-level support. As of May 2018, it has supported over 18,000 projects with over €31 billion awarded.

Today’s proposal also builds on the Commission’s contribution to the EU Leaders’ meeting on 16 May in Sofia “A renewed European Agenda for Research and Innovation – Europe’s chance to shape its future“, which highlighted the needed steps to ensure Europe’s global competitiveness.

About two-thirds of Europe’s economic growth over the last decades has been driven by innovation. Horizon Europe is expected to generate new and more knowledge and technologies, promoting scientific excellence, and to have positive effects on growth, trade and investment and significant social and environmental impact.Each euro invested by the programme can potentially generate a return of up to 11 euro of GDP over 25 years. Union investments in R&I are expected to directly generate an estimated gain of up to 100 000 jobs in R&I activities in the ‘investment phase’ (2021-2027).

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