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    Radical changes expected in the EU research and innovation funding  

    The European Commission launched consultations on improvements in EU research and innovation funding to make participation easier and to increase R&D scientific and economic impact on development. The Commission’s Green Paper is prepared by 7 commissioners and provides the basis for simplification of procedures and rules as well as maximising the contribution of EU research and innovation funding to the EU-2020 Strategy. The consultations will run until 20 May 2011.


    Eugene Eteris, Baltic course






    The current EU’s Framework Programme for Research (FP7) has a budget of ? 53 bln for 2007-13. More than 9,000 projects have so far been funded. A study has estimated that projects selected for funding in 2011 alone will create up to 165 000 jobs



    The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme has a budget of ? 3,6 bln (2007-13) and has supported more than 100,000 SMEs through loan guarantees alone as well as innovative ICT pilot projects.





    The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an autonomous EU body stimulating world-leading innovation, through the pioneering concept of Knowledge and Innovation Communities. The EIT received ? 309 mln from the EU Budget for the period 2007-13.






    Strategic framework



    The proposed «Common Strategic Framework», set out in a Green Paper, would cover the current Framework Programme for Research (FP7), the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). This will create a coherent set of instruments, along the whole «innovation chain» starting from basic research, culminating in bringing innovative products and services to market, and also supporting non-technological innovation, for example in design and marketing. The Commission’s Green Paper also provides the basis for far-reaching simplification of procedures and rules. The changes aim to maximise the contribution of EU research and innovation funding to the Innovation Union and the Europe 2020 Strategy. Stakeholders have until 20 May 2011 to respond.






    Commission’s opinion



    European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: «Our aim is to maximise value from every euro the EU invests in research and innovation. We want EU funding to realise its enormous potential to generate growth and jobs and improve quality of life in Europe in the face of daunting challenges like climate change, energy efficiency and food security. By making our programmes more coherent and simpler, we will make life easier for researchers and innovators – especially SMEs — attract more applicants and get even better results. I look forward to an extensive and innovative debate, making use of the web and social media.»





    Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn is issuing the Green Paper in cooperation with the six other Commissioners with responsibility for research and innovation, Vice- Presidents Kallas, Kroes and Tajani, and Commissioners Vassiliou, Potočnik and Oettinger.







    Access to EU research and innovation funding



    In the Green Paper, the Commission proposes a «Common Strategic Framework», combining three key aspects.





    — First, a clear focus on three mutually reinforcing objectives: giving the EU a world-beating science base; boosting competitiveness across the board; and tackling grand challenges such as climate change, resource efficiency, energy and food security, health and an ageing population.


    — Second, making EU funding more attractive and easier to access for participants, for example through a single entry point with common IT tools or a one-stop shop for providing advice and support to participants throughout the funding process. Furthermore, the Common Strategic Framework will allow a simpler and more streamlined set of funding instruments covering the full innovation chain, including basic research, applied research, collaboration between academia and industry and firm-level innovation. Flexibility will be promoted to encourage diversity and business involvement. Applicants should be able to apply for several different projects without repeatedly providing the same information.


    — Third, there will be much simpler and more consistent procedures for accounting for the use of the funds received. This may involve, for example, greater use of lump sum payments.





    Greater simplicity will make financial control of EU taxpayers’ money easier and more effective.





    Other ideas in the Green Paper include: further steps to pool Member States’ national research funding; better links with cohesion funding; using EU funding to stimulate public procurement; more use of prizes; further strengthening the role of the European Research Council and of financial instruments such as the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) and the loan guarantee and venture capital investments; and drawing up a set of performance indicators to measure the success of EU research and innovation funding.





    The Commission’s proposals take fully into account the interim evaluations of the current 7th Framework programme and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. The Commission’s response to the FP7 evaluation is also published today .





    Next steps



    The consultation will run until 20 May 2011; on 10 June, the Commission will organise a major closing conference as a follow-up to the public consultation. Then, the Commission will bring forward before the end of 2011 a legislative proposal for research and innovation spending under the future EU budget post-2013.

    Full text at the website of The Baltic Course


    Articles »  Radical changes expected in the EU research and innovation funding »  Views: 3744   Diplomatic Club


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