HORIZON 2010- The European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation 2014-2012

As part of ‘sa €10.8 billion budget for research and innovation agreed for 2013, the European Commission has announced the final and largest ever package of calls for projects under the EU’s Seventh Framework Program for Research (FP7) worth €8.1 billion Euros. The funds are intended for innovation and finding solutions to modern societal challenges. Financing projects under FP7 after 2013 will be continued by Horizon 2020, the next EU framework program for research and innovation in the period 2014-2020.

The Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development started in 2007, and Serbia became an associate member on 13 June 2007. With a program budget of around 50 billion Euros the money has been used for co-financing projects in the Member States and associated countries. So far 19,000 projects with more than 79,000 participants have been funded through this program, including universities, researchers, organizations and companies.

Having been granted official candidate status to the European Union since March 1st 2012, Serbia is continuing its integration into the European Research Area. Serbian companies can apply for funding through joint projects with EU partners that will be participating in an 80 billion Euro research and innovation program for science and innovation – Horizon 2020. Effective from 2014, Horizon 2020 will present significant changes from the past Framework Programs. Horizon 2020 will make it easier to participate in EU-funded research and innovation actions, by focusing on grand societal challenges and putting a strong focus on private sector R&D.

Several simplification measures were introduced last year for the 7th Framework Program for Research (FP7), but Horizon 2020 will go a step further. Horizon 2020 means simplification, a one-stop-shop for information and applications, and also more research and less bureaucracy, so that scientists and innovators spend more time in the laboratory and less time filling in forms. To begin with, Horizon 2020 will provide structural simplification with architecture based on three distinct, yet mutually reinforcing strategic policy objectives or Pillars, making it easier for applicants to find appropriate funding opportunities. Horizon 2020‘s First Pillar is focused on boosting excellence in Europe’s science base.  A proposed budget of over 24 billion Euros will enable the most talented scientists to carry out cutting-edge research of the highest quality. The proposal is to raise support to the spectacularly successful European Research Council to more than 13 billion Euros, securing the best fundamental research that leads to the greatest innovations. The Second Pillar aims to boost industrial leadership, with actions to make Europe a more attractive place for businesses to invest in R&D and innovation, and which will receive funding of nearly 18 billion Euros. 13.7 billion Euros will be allocated in targeting support for Key Enabling Technologies that underpin innovation across different industries and sectors. This includes ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing processes. A major strengthening of support to venture capital and other financing instruments for innovative companies with a budget of 3.5 billion Euros is proposed. Linked to this, the plan is to introduce a new support tailored to the needs of innovative SMEs. Horizon 2020 is therefore designed to encourage the active participation of the biggest companies in Europe, as the major creators of wealth and jobs. But SMEs are also vital to Europe getting out of the financial and economic crisis. A dedicated SME Instrument will fill the gaps in funding for the market-driven, high-risk research and innovation projects of SMEs. This new scheme, inspired by the SBIR scheme in the United States, is also a response to the request made by Member States last year to explore how best to meet the needs of fast-growing innovative companies through a market-based approach.  A crucial element of the scheme will be a support network offering mentoring and coaching for beneficiary SMEs. The Third Pillar of Horizon 2020, with nearly 32 billion Euro of funding, is aimed at tackling societal challenges, such as healthcare, agriculture, renewable energy, climate change etc.

Secondly, simpler funding rules across the whole program will take account of stakeholders’ views on how costs should be reimbursed. This includes: a simpler reimbursement of direct costs, with a broader acceptance of beneficiaries’ usual accounting practices; overheads covered by a single flat-rate; and one single reimbursement rate for all participants and activities in the same project.

Lastly, an improved control strategy will strike a better balance between trust and control and between risk taking and risk avoidance, as requested by Member States in the European Council in February 2011. Horizon 2020 aims to reduce the average time to grant by 100 days, compared to the current average of around 350 days under the 7th Framework Program.

There will be a strong accent on inter-disciplinarity in Horizon 2020 because of the need to work beyond the “silos” of different disciplines to solve these complex challenges. These priorities will also be supported by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) which provides policy relevant research, and by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Horizon 2020 will also support the European Research Area, or ERA, a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation – principally through actions to promote researcher’s careers and mobility; the networking of large-scale infrastructures; and, coordination with national research and innovation funding. Further coordination with other EU sources of funding such as structural and pre-accession funds is also expected.

Excellence will remain the criterion for funding under Horizon 2020. It is true that some regions in Europe have not done as well as they could under existing programs, but this program will close this gap, and it is the combination of EU research funding and structural funds that will do the trick. New solutions to these societal challenges will only come from groundbreaking research and innovation that brings together the best minds from across Europe, from universities, companies, the public sector and civil society. At the same time, finding solutions to these challenges will offer huge opportunities for European businesses, and huge potential to create growth and jobs.


Source: www.innovationfund.rs

Nov 1, 2012 in Serbia
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