Friday, 4 March 2011

Webcast of CSF Workshop available

The key presentations and discussions at the important stakeholder meeting on the consultation on the proposed Common Strategic Framework (CSF) for EU Research and Innovation held on 1 March is now available as a webcast.

The meeting in Brussels was organised to outline to stakeholders the reasoning behind the CSF approach, answer questions on the recent Green Paper "From Challenges to Opportunities:
Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding"

and to explain fully the consultation process and the subsequent calendar for developing legislative proposals for EU funding of integrated research and innovation from 2014.

The aim of the CSF, as set out in the Green Paper, is to make participation in post FP7 programmes easier, increase scientific and economic impact and improve value for money. The overarching aim is to effectively support the EU 2020 Agenda. The consultation process is open until 20 May and all SusChem stakeholders are urged to participate.

Coupling R & I
Opening the conference Robert-Jan Smits (below), Director-General, Research & Innovation DG at the Commission said that the aim of a CSF was to “better couple research to innovation” and to do this required a comprehensive review of all the existing funding instruments including the FP programme, CIP, EIT, Cohesion Policy and others, to bring them together into a single Comprehensive Strategic Framework covering both research and innovation.


The concept had been presented in the Commission Budget Review paper and endorsed by the European Council meeting on 4 February. “The Heads of State adopted conclusions calling for adoption of a Comprehensive Strategic Framework to bring the community instruments for research and innovation together in an integrated way,” stated Smits.

But how to develop the CSF? “There is an enormous amount of questions to be answered before the Commission can start to draft the proposals,” continued Smits. “These include, for example, what is the balance between basic research and more top-down research based on the grand challenges? How should be deal with infrastructures – is there a role for the EU here – and what about addressing SMEs?”

Motivation for CSF
Brendan Hawdon, Head of Unit at DG Research and Innovation, expanded on the rationale behind the development of the CSF in his presentation. He talked about the “Innovation Gap” that was growing between the EU and innovation leaders such as the US and Japan – and the accelerating rate of innovation capability in countries such as China that threatened to overtake Europe in the near future.

Hawdon highlighted the three most important aspects of the EU 2020 Agenda from a research and development objective: the Innovation Union, the Digital Agenda, and the Resource Efficient Europe initiatives.

In terms of the Innovation Union two key messages were that “innovation is an overarching policy that must support other policy priorities” and there was a need to prioritise resources around the identified major societal challenges.

He also highlighted key messages for European Innovation Partnerships: they must tackle major societal challenges whilst creating new business opportunities for EU industry while joining up the key players along the value chain from research to end-users – removing bottlenecks that stop good ideas getting to be innovative products or services.

This is where the CSF can add value by providing a coherent set of funding instruments that works along the whole innovation cycle “from research to retail”.

Consultation process
Keith Sequeria of DG Research and Innovation completed the formal presentations by summarising the questions posed in the Green paper and outlining the consultation process. His presentation is available here.

Stakeholders have until 20 May 2011 to express their opinions. Sequeria described the various methods through which responses could be made. He emphasized that analysis of the responses would involve a collaborative approach with nine Commission DGs with an interest in the outcome. The analysis would be helped if stakeholder responses were related to the questions in the Green Paper.

A conference in Brussels on 10 June 2011 will wrap up the consultation. The input will be used for the development of the formal proposal for the Common Strategic Framework to be tabled by the Commission by the end of 2011.

The recorded webcast of the 1 March conference is available here together with copies of the presentations made and two Q&A sessions.

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