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2003 – Action Plan ‘Investing in Research’
The Action Plan "Investing in Research", proposed by the Commission in April 2003, focuses on the initiatives required to close the research investment gap existing between Europe and its main trading partners.
In 2001, the level of research investment in the EU was 1.9% of GDP compared to 2.7% in the US and 3% in Japan. This gap had worrying consequences for the long-term potential for innovation, growth and employment creation in Europe.
Europe is penalised by relatively unattractive research conditions in many respects, such as, for instance, researcher’s careers, the financing of technology-intensive SMEs and the management of intellectual property rights.
The Action Plan is based on a broad and systemic approach to research and innovation. This is the only credible path to address the issues at stake, as confirmed by supporting studies.
The Action Plan is comprised of four main sets of actions:
As part of the overall Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs, the Action Plan addresses specific aspects related to research. However, for this plan to be fully effective, it relies on an effective mix of policies covering other policy domains, notably structural reforms in product, services, capital and labour markets.
In particular, measures to support research investment must go hand in hand with measures to boost innovation, such as those proposed in the communication on ‘Innovation policy: updating the Union’s approach in the context of the Lisbon strategy’ [ - 229 Kb] also published in 2003.
It led to a number of significant initiatives at a European level and national level. Two years on, however, the need was felt to update and complement the Action Plan. This was done through the Commission’s Communication ‘More research and innovation - A common approach’ of the 12th of October 2005.
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