Friday, 1 July 2011

Major funding boost for Horizon 2020 welcome

Proposals for the European Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 published this week include a significant boost in funding for research and innovation activities. The Horizon 2020 Framework Programme could be worth €80.2 billion if the European Commission submission gets through negotiations with other European Institutions intact.

This level of funding represents a 46% increase for Horizon 2020 compared to the budget for FP7 which is worth some € 56 billion for 2007 to 2013. In addition Horizon 2020 will be complemented by significant support from the EC Structural Funds.

Commenting on the budget proposals Ger Spork, SusChem coordinator at Cefic said: “SusChem and its stakeholders support the closer integration of research, development and innovation activities proposed for the new Horizon2020 programme. The boost to funding for the programme suggested in the draft EU budget for 2014-2020 is vital to ensure smart inclusive growth and maintain competitiveness.”

In a statement announcing the budget proposal, the Commission confirmed that the increase is meant to boost Europe’s economy and demonstrates continuing commitment to research, science and innovation.

"This is an anti-crisis budget, a pro-jobs budget and a budget for tackling our biggest challenges—things like climate change, energy and food security, health and our ageing population,” said Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research and Innovation. “It's a pro-growth budget and more growth means less austerity for less long.”

What is new for Research?
The Horizon 2020 programme will cover three existing research and innovation instruments: FP7, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the European Institute for Innovation and Technology. It will be closely linked to key sectoral policy priorities such as health, food security and the bio-economy, energy and climate change.

On the financing side, innovative financial instruments will help leveraging private investments. Public Private Partnerships, as well as Public to Public Partnerships, will be promoted. Funding schemes will be standardised and simplified. Likewise, there will be one single set of rules for participation, audit, support structures, dissemination of results and reimbursement schemes, across all funding schemes.

Budget negotiations
The budget proposal will now be passed on to the European Parliament and the European Council, which will have to approve or amend it. Negotiations between the Commission, Parliament will continue through 2012.

The MFF translates into financial terms the EU's political priorities for at least 5 years. It sets annual maximum amounts (ceilings) for EU expenditure as a whole and for the main categories of expenditure (headings). By specifying the spending limits for each category of expenditure, the MFF imposes budgetary discipline and ensures that the Union's expenditure develops in an orderly manner within the limits of its own resources and in line with Union's policy objectives. In addition, this system ensures a predictable inflow of resources for the Union's long-term priorities and gives greater certainty to beneficiaries of EU funds.

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