Author: Mateja Kramberger, Tiko Pro
The European Commission has released the first information about the next programme period. What can we expect?
The results of Horizon 2020 are very positive and therefore the European Commission proposes the most ambitious Research and Innovation programme yet. The proposed budget is 100 billion € for research and innovation and will build on the achievements and success of Horizon 2020 and keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation. 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.
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".
What is new?
- 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. The Council, which takes inspiration from the very-successful European Research Council, will house three popular competitions already running under Horizon 2020, namely: the SME Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation and FET Open. It will invite more financiers and innovators to evaluate proposals and supply more mentoring and coaching to young companies. And it will reorganise all the funding schemes into two main types: modest “pathfinder” grants for early-stage, high-risk innovation, open to individuals and companies, and larger “accelerator” funding to get the innovations to market. 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 to 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. Moreover, new synergies with Structural and Cohesion Funds will make it easy to coordinate and combine funding and help regions embrace innovation.
- Simpler and fewer partnerships: Horizon Europe will “rationalise” the nearly 100 industry and member state co-financed competitions in Horizon 2020, while at the same time sweeping away some of the programme’s complicated rules and acronyms. It will create a “clear, easy to communicate architecture under the umbrella term ‘European Partnership Initiatives’”.
Three main types of partnership are planned
I. To encourage private and public sector to work together, would provide only enough money to coordinate the planning, not necessarily to fund the research; these don’t have to be linked to a particular Commission political goal, and can be suggested by outside groups,
II. Commission would also co-fund the research with the partners, private or public. These have to fit into EU policy priorities and, the document warns, will largely follow the standard Framework rules,
III. Committing to long-term EU funding to a partnership, operate under specific provisions of the EU treaty and so can’t be much changed by the Commission. This includes big projects such as Eureka’s Eurostars SME programme and the Joint Baltic Sea Research Programme under Article 185 of the treaty, and Bio-Based Industries and CleanSky2 under Article 187.
- The new programme promises more resources to close the persistent research gap between eastern and western Europe. The latter group continues to receive the lion’s share of EU research funding, while the former struggles with limited resources.
- More open science - open access will be the general rule
- It will be easier accessible for foreign countries
More information on the evaluation of Horizon 2020 interim results
Horizon Europe website