EUR 87.7 Billion for R&D

With a proposed budget of almost €90 billion, the European Commission is calling for a massive increase (up from €51 billion) in EU public spending on R&D. Last week the Commission unveiled this ambitious proposal for a new EU research and development funding programme that will run from 2014 until 2020.

The proposed programme, “Horizon 2020”, with a total budget of €87.7 billion, will replace the current  Framework Programme 7 (FP7) that runs from 2007 until 2013. It will integrate the European Framework Programme, the programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs (COSME), and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

The "Horizon 2020" package consists of:
1) A proposal for a Regulation on Horizon 2020, laying down the general objectives, the financial envelope and provisions on control, monitoring and evaluation; 
2) A proposal for a single specific programme to implement Horizon 2020 ; 
3) A proposal for a single set of Rules for Participation and Dissemination, setting out the modes of funding  and conditions for participation and 
4. A separate proposal for the part of Horizon 2020 corresponding to the Euratom Treaty.

Broad Goals of "Horizon 2020"

Simplifying rules and procedures for researchers: ‘’Horizon 2020’’ will set out a single set of rules for participation, including eligibility for funding and evaluation. It will also introduce a single flat rate for indirect costs and only two funding rates for research and for close to market activities respectively. The proposed new Research Programme would streamline funding rules and allow fewer controls and audits.

Strengthening innovation by developing specifications for new standards, introducing a new SME instrument specifically designed to help SMEs innovate or setting up financial instruments in which the public sector shares the risk with the private sector.

Increasing industrial leadership and competiveness, by encouraging investments in research, development, in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), including Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing and Space.

Concrete Objectives Toward the Broad Goals

The new funding programme will have three main objectives:
1) to support an 'Excellent science' in Europe;
2) to boost 'Industrial leadership' and
3) to meet 'Societal challenges'.

'Excellent Science' (EUR 27.8 billion)

This objective will include: 
• €15 billion for the European Research Council (ERC), which provides substantial grants to individual researchers working in Europe. The European Research Council (ERC), which is the first EU funding organisation for frontier research and has funded over 2,200 frontier research projects throughout Europe  has two core funding schemes: the 'ERC Starting Grants'  (€2 million over up to 5 years) for young researchers, and the 'ERC Advanced Grants' (€3.5 million over up to 5 years) for senior research leaders. 
• Investment of €3.5 billion in future and emerging technologies (FET) to open up new fields of research and innovation. The specific objective of the Commission is to foster new technologies by exploring novel ideas and to provide flexible support to collaborative research on various scales and by adopting innovative research practices.
• A budget of €6.5 billion for the Marie Curie Actions to develop research and innovation skills through the training, mobility and career development of researchers.
• Funding of €2.8 billion will also be available for supporting access to and networking of priority research infrastructures across Europe, including e-Infrastructure.

'Industrial leadership'(EUR 20.3 billion)

The second objective of the proposed Horizon 2020 will aim to increase investments in research and innovation. It will include:
• €15.6 billion budget for major investments in industrial technologies such as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), nanotechnologies, biotechnology and space. This will include €9 billion for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) of which €1.8 billion for photonics and micro-and nanoelectronics, €4.3 billion for nanotechnologies, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing and processing, €575 million for biotechnology and €1.7 million for space.
• A budget of €4 billion to facilitate access to risk finance. Around €1 billion of this amount may go towards the implementation of Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) projects and around one third of this will be allocated to SMEs.
• €700 million will aim to provide EU-wide support for innovation in SMEs with high growth potential.

'Societal challenges' (EUR 35.9 billion)

This objective will focus on the following areas:
• Health, demographic change and wellbeing  (€ 9.1 billion) 
• Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy (€4.7  billion) 
• Secure, clean and efficient energy (€6.5  billion) 
• Smart, green and integrated transport (€7.7 billion) 
• Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials (€3.6  billion) 
• Inclusive, innovative and secure societies (€4.3 billion) 

Funding for the Institute of Innovation and Technology and the Joint Research Centre

Horizon 2020 will provide additional funding for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology with the objective of promoting research, innovation and education. It will also enhance funding for the Joint Research Centre which will deploy funds in particular clusters with the aim of supporting key research.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EUR 1.5 billion)

Under Horizon 2020, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which is an autonomous EU body, will be offered a budget of €1.5 billion for 2014-2020. A second allocation of € 1.6 billion will be made available from the budgets of the societal challenges and leadership. In addition, its three existing Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC) focused on sustainable energy (KIC InnoEnergy), climate change (Climate KIC) and information and communication society (EIT ICT Labs) will be expanded with six additional KICs until 2020 in the areas of manufacturing, innovation for healthy living and active ageing, raw materials, smart secure societies, and urban mobility.

Through the proposed measures, the Commission expects the EIT to create up to 600 start-up companies and provide training for around 25,000 students and 10,000 PhDs in new curricula.

The Joint Research Centre (EUR 2.2 billion)

 The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the in-house science service of the European Commission. Its mission is to provide scientific and technical support to EU policy making. The JRC will continue providing scientific and technical support to EU policy making in areas such as the environment, agriculture and fisheries through nanotechnology and nuclear safety and will complement Horizon 2020 for other funded research activities.