Agreement on Horizon2020 – the EUs next framework programme for research and innovation
The European ministers for research- and innovation have after long and hard negotiations reached an agreement on the overall structure for the EUs coming Framework programme for research and innovation – Horizon 2020 – which has a proposed budget of EUR 80 billion.
“Europe finds itself in a difficult situation. With a severe economic crisis and high youth unemployment, the only way to create new growth and jobs is by investing heavily in knowledge and innovation. The agreement on the overall structure of Horizon 2020, which was reached by the Member States today, is an important and excellent result that further strengthens research and innovation as growth promoters in Europe” says the Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education, Mr. Morten Østergaard.
Besides strengthening basic excellent research, Horizon 2020 marks a new and challenge-driven approach towards strategic research in the EU, focusing on seven grand challenges, such as food security, climate change, an ageing population and the need for intelligent transportation.
“Even though we must insist that research promotes growth and job creation here and now, we must not forget that basic research paves the way for unexpected and ground-breaking research results. The excellent research of today should help create the European Jobs of tomorrow.”
Compared to the Commission’s proposal, the agreement of today has an even stronger emphasis on interdisciplinarity.
“Our focus on the grand societal challenges requires an interdisciplinary approach, which includes social sciences and humanities. In my view, this is reflected in the agreement.“
Furthermore, the agreement strengthens simplification and reduces bureaucracy, which will make it easier and more attractive for small and medium-sized enterprises to apply for EU funding.
The agreement on the overall structure is the first important step towards reaching a final political agreement on Horizon 2020. Very soon, the negotiations on the budget allocation to the various specific programmes of Horizon 2020 will start which will then be followed by discussions in the European Parliament.
“With this agreement the Member States have shown that we in difficult times stand together and are willing to take the necessary actions, which will shape the future of Europe. The next step is that the Cypriot and Irish Presidencies will continue the negotiations on Horizon 2020 with the European Parliament. It is my hope that we throughout these negotiations can maintain the focus that Horizon 2020 should contribute to creating the growth and jobs of tomorrow, while also dealing with the global challenges that we are facing today”, states Mr. Morten Østergaard.