What is the problem? Low private investment in ICT R&D is a threat to the European economy
Europe continues to under-invest in ICT related research and development. Compared to major trading partners such as the US, R&D in ICT in Europe is not only a much smaller proportion of total R&D spend (17% compared to 29%), but in absolute terms represents around 40% of US expenditure (€ 37 billion, versus € 88 billion in 2007).
Given that ICT represents a significant share of total value-added in European industrial strengths such as automobile (25%), consumer appliances (41%) or health and medical (33%), the lack of investment in ICT R&D is a threat to the entire European manufacturing and service sectors.
Why is EU action required?
Europe must leverage private investment through pre-commercial procurement, public-private partnerships and support to Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in order to keep its competitive edge in ICT R&D.
What are the Commission's plans?
Main strands of action:
· Increase the use of pre-commercial procurement to share risks and benefits of designing, prototyping and testing of new products and services with suppliers, create conditions for wide commercialisation, and pool efforts.
· Maintain and encourage public-private partnerships.
· Provide attractive conditions for those wishing to invest in European SMEs and stimulate financial resources that are sufficient to sustain SME growth.
· Greater and more efficient use of structural/regional development funds for ICT research and innovation (see DAE Action 55).
What has the Commission done until now?
Launch of the following calls for proposals:
· Public-Private Partnerships and Joint Technology Initiatives designed to leverage more R&D investments from Member States, Associated through pooling public and private efforts.
· Joint cross-border pre-commercial procurement (in domain of healthcare and ageing well)
· ERA NET and ERA NET Plus actions e.g. in the area of flexible, organic and large Area Electronics and Photonics.
In addition a survey was launched on the status of implementation of pre-commercial procurement across Europe. At the PCP 2011 Hungarian presidency event three Member States (Finland, Sweden and Spain) announced the launch of new PCP support programmes.
What will the Commission do?
By end 2011:
The Commission proposal for Horizon 2020 foresees an ambitious budget for ICT R&I and introduces new instruments and funding mechanisms to continue support to Public-Private partnerships, to joint cross-border pre-commercial procurement and to SMEs.
In addition during 2011-2012 a new study across EU Member States will quantify in more detail the investments in ICT related R&D through public procurement across sectors of public interest.
By mid 2012:
Adoption of the Work Programme (WP) 2013. WP2013 will continue to support joint cross-border pre-commercial procurement and Public-Private partnerships. In addition it will aim at increasing industrial participation, support better exploitation and take up and support specific SME-targeted activities.