Tuesday, 19 July 2011

FP 7 billion!

Today (19 July) Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn announced nearly €7 billion to kick-start innovation through research. This is the European Commission's biggest ever Research and Innovation funding package and covers the 2012 call for project proposals under the current EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7).

The funding boost (a 9% increase compared to the FP7 calls in 2011) shows that EU research funding is at the top of the European political agenda and is at the centre of a coherent innovation strategy: the Innovation Union.

The Commission adopted the 2012 work programme today (19 July) with most of the calls being formally launched tomorrow (20 July). Deadlines for application will be spread over the rest of 2011 and decisions on allocating funding will be taken in 2012. The work programme and full set of associated documents can be found here.

"Today, Europe is again showing its commitment to putting research and innovation at the top of the political agenda for growth and jobs," said Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn (above) at a press conference to launch the funding package. "EU-wide competition for these funds will bring Europe's best researchers and innovators together to tackle the biggest issues of our time, such as energy, food security, climate change and our ageing population. The Commission is proposing a significant increase in research and innovation funding for our Horizon 2020 programme post-2013 and I want to show taxpayers already with the calls we are announcing today our determination to get the best value for every euro."

The text of the Commissioner's speech is available here or you can watch it below.

R&I for growth and jobs
The main focus of the FP7 2012 calls is the integration of research with innovation to tackle societal challenges and create sustainable EU jobs and growth in the key technology markets of the future. The consequence of this investment is expected to be some 174000 jobs in the short-term and nearly 450000 jobs and nearly €80 billion in GDP growth over 15 years.

A key element will be the provision of more support to activities that help bridge the gap between research and the market, for example by demonstrating that new technologies have commercial potential or can work on a sufficiently large scale to be industrially viable. This market-linked approach is also central to the European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs), set up under the Innovation Union action plan, that will be supported by FP7 projects.

In addition to the €7 billion allocated to conventional FP7 projects, some €1.6 billion will be available for calls associated with Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) such as EIPs, JTIs and other large scale initiatives.

Funding highlights
Funding headlines include:
  • €488 million for nanotechnologies (NMP) will focus on areas such as factories of the future, green cars and energy efficient buildings
  • Research and innovation for cleaner, safer and more efficient transport and mobility will get €313 million
  • €40 million is set aside for the "Smart Cities initiative" to help find more efficient ways to use energy and provide urban transport
  • €265 million is reserved for environment research to address major challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss or resource efficiency
  • €307 million to be invested in building a strong bio-economy that will improve production methods, create new industries and provide jobs
  • €656 million for health research (of which €220 million for healthy ageing challenges)
  • €1.3 billion for information and communication technology ICT (of which €240 million for healthy ageing challenges)
  • The European Research Council (ERC) get close to €1.6 billion including funding to bridge the gap between frontier research results and commercialisation under a “Proof of Concept” initiative
  • Around €900 million in support for researchers' mobility and careers will be provided through 'Marie Curie Actions' including €20 million for a pilot project to fund "European Industrial Doctorates", to stimulate entrepreneurship and cooperation between academia and companies
  • Finally, special attention will be given to SMEs, including a dedicated package of close to €1 billion

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