“The Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation”, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of nearly EUR 70 billion (current prices – adjusted for inflation), would represent the main financial instrument supporting European Research for a clever and sustainable development and population growth.
At least 60% of the overall budget should be related to sustainable development: this proves that the challenges to sustainable growth can not be faced and achieved without innovation. The expected impact from the publication of the work programme 2014-2020, in mid-December 2013, is “Strengthening Europe’s science base in frontier research”. The Horizon 2020 evolution, compared to Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), strengthening the budget by about 30%, is linked primarily to more simplified procedures in order to facilitate participation by small businesses, small organizations and research centers.
The key areas contributing to a ‘Better Society’ and ‘Competitive Industries’ under the Horizon2020 strategy are:
- Science and technology: to raise the level of excellence in European science, supporting the best ideas, to develop talent in Europe allowing researchers to have access to research infrastructure priorities and making Europe an attractive place for the best researchers in the world.
- Industrial leadership, including major investment in key technologies, greater access to capital and support for SMEs.
- Social challenge: as health, demographic change and well-being, sustainable agriculture and food security, clean and efficient energy, climate action, environment and resource efficiency.
International cooperation is a priority for Horizon who is fully open to participation from third countries. Often the great innovations originate from unforeseen discoveries, new applications or emerging technologies. Research is a driving force for curiosity and the knowledge the man creates helps to boost innovation too. Synergies are expected and this approach also links directly to EU policy goals in areas such as agriculture, energy, environment, transport and security, encouraging access to programs both from countries with developed economies and from developing countries.
A more rational use of resources is not an option: research and innovation are critical. “A smarter use of scarce resources is therefore a strategic necessity, but also an economic opportunity” said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Indeed, a smarter use of resources is not only a strategic necessity, but also an economic opportunity to realize trough “more resource-efficiency, clearer long-term policies and joint investments in green innovation”.