Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Horizon 2020: Investing in our future

With nearly €80 billion on offer, the EU's new research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, will be the biggest ever. Just last week we launched it, issuing the first "calls". And already now you can start to see the difference it could make to our future.

Helping Europe lead in electronics

Much of what we do today is powered by microchips: increasingly small and sophisticated. Chances are there's some good examples in your home, your car, and your pocket — not to mention your local office, factory, or hospital.

The EU investing in innovation - new partnerships to support electronics and ageing well

In the current climate – with so many looking for work and worrying about the future – we need to look towards the future sources of growth. And today the Commission came forward with a very clear example: a package for investment and innovation; including measures to stimulate new ideas in electronics, and to support a society that is getting older.

Chips for Europe: presenting the EU's new electronics strategy

It's been a busy few weeks – and the work we've been doing in electronics is a case in point. Last week the Commission presented its strategy on electronics – a clear path to help this key sector stimulate tomorrow's innovations. Including €5 billion of public research, development and innovation support over the funding period. (pdf of the strategy itself here).

European Month of the Brain: the EU and US putting our grey matter together

To kick off European Month of the Brain (#brainmonth), a blog about the exciting brain research initiatives being led from both sides of the Atlantic. You may have seen our recent announcement about the human brain project (HBP). The deserved joint winner of our Future and Emerging Technology scheme; and hence recipient of around €1 billion euros in funding over 10 years. Separately you may also have seen President Obama's initiative on Brain Activity Mapping (BAM), worth $100 million in the first year.

Photonics for Europe

Lasers used in manufacturing

The EU has billions set aside for research and innovation. The intention isn't to subsidise industries – but to invest in an innovative, competitive and sustainable future.

The best publicly-funded research and innovation supports areas that both sustain and boost wider sectors of the economy – and also fix the problems of our society, from climate change to healthcare. And preferably it should be in areas where Europe is in the global lead - and where a little push can help us stay that way.

Smart Cities – Europe's NOBEL prize

I often blog about the capacity of ICT to change lives for the better, and make a real difference on the ground. Here's one very solid example of where it's saved energy, saved public money, and empowered people to take control: the pioneering NOBEL project Nothing to do with the Prize – it refers to the Neighbourhood Oriented Brokerage ELectricity and monitoring system. Aided by EU funding, last year, Alginet in Valencia, Spain got to try it out. A small town with just over 13,000 people, the energy grid in Alginet is owned not by a commercial company, but by a cooperative – whose members are the inhabitants themselves. And they were chosen to test out an "energy brokerage system": meaning that businesses and ordinary consumers could communicate their energy needs directly to energy producers – who could in turn optimise how they produce and distribute energy.

A budget for European growth

Agreeing the EU's 7-year budget is never simple or straightforward: still less so at the moment, a difficult fiscal climate, combined with an ever-greater imperative for Europe to invest in growth. And so I am glad that the EU's national leaders have found a political agreement.

Bananas, chocolate and sticky tape: I meet those taking forward tomorrow's technologies

The EU has long invested in research in innovation. And quite right too – because this is something essential to building a strong economy, and a strong society. Yesterday I announced two large scale programmes in particular that will benefit from that investment, on a sustained and large scale. They were: - The Graphene Flagship programme – looking at a new substance that could one day transform electronics - not to mention transport, healthcare or others. It really is a miracle material, the focus of a lot of research activity. In future maybe we'll have "Graphene Valley", instead of Silicon Valley: and maybe it will be right here in Europe. - And the Human Brain Project, looking at how this incredible machine represents reality. Not just to better our understanding of brain diseases, but maybe also as a new model for tomorrow's computers.


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