What is it?
Horizon 2020 is the EU programme designed to offer seamless support to innovation, from strategic and applied research to market take-up. This programme extends through 2014-2020. It will merge the activities that correspond in the Framework Programme, the European Institute for Technology and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.
It includes features such:
- 3 different policy pillars: tackling societal challenges; raising excellence in the science base; creating industrial leadership & competitive frameworks. The last pillar, which is of most interest to the engineering industry covers Nano, Materials, Production and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
- Simplification of the participation rules
- A certain degree of open access to the results of publicly funded research
Why is it important?
The text of Horizon 2020 will be finalised in 2013. It is expected to completely change the financing of research and innovation at European level. The most important elements are:
- Funding innovative closer-to-market projects: Horizon 2020 is expected to provide the means to bridge the gap between the funding of research projects that could easily be marketed and ways to avoid any distortion of free competition in the internal market.
- Large-scale projects and pilot lines: policy makers at European level are prone to fund big large-scale demo projects and the creation of so-called pilot lines or mini-factories that are jointly financed by the state and the private sector.
- Funding research and innovation from other sources: structural and cohesion funds may be used to support research and innovation through smart specialisation of regions. The European Investment Bank may also be used for the facilitation of financing of research and innovation programmes.
- Performance indicators: Horizon 2020 the control of a research and innovation programme may not restricted to auditing, but it may also evaluate performance through indicators such as patents.
Orgalime welcomes the idea that EU Research and Innovation policy should cover the full innovation cycle: from strategic and applied research, demonstration, deployment and access to capital, to market take-up (as long as basic principles such as subsidiarity and competition policy are respected). EU funding programmes addressing the different steps of the innovation cycle should be managed in a common framework with standardised and simplified procedures.
How we’ve been engaged
Orgalime analysed the following axes in its response to the Commission’s consultation on Horizon 2020:
- Research and Innovation should become in the long run the No1 budget line for the EU and a major one for member states
- More industry-driven agenda setting
- Continue with the simplification exercise
- Introduce a ‘reality check’ to ensure that the overall end results are good
- When integrating different programmes and policies into one new single framework, identify synergies and ensure a good coordination between the ETPs and industrial policy initiatives
The European Commission proposal has integrated these demands, to some extent, in its Horizon 2020 proposal.