The EU’s flagship research and innovation programme – Horizon 2020 - will see €15bn invested in job-creating projects in its first 2 years alone.
The Horizon 2020 programme got underway last week when the first competitive calls for projects seeking funding were advertised.
Over the next 7 years, €80bn will be made available to universities, research organisations and companies to help fund the R&D in innovative new products and services.
The hope is that the massive investment will boost Europe’s knowledge economy and promote scientific breakthroughs, helping the continent keep pace with global competitors.
Boosting innovation & growth
As well as the private investment the programme will attract, the seed funding provided should lead to more technological breakthroughs and discoveries and help to transfer innovative ideas from the lab to the market.
The 2014/15 calls include €500m earmarked for small and mid-sized businesses.
For the first time, the Commission has stated its funding priorities over the next 2 years, to give more certainty about the direction of EU research policy. The fund will focus on 12 fields in 2014/15, including personalised healthcare, digital security and.
Under the programme, scientists will be able to access grants through the European Research Council and younger researchers will be able to obtain fellowships.
Funding for industry will boost areas like information & communications technologies, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space research.
Meanwhile, areas such as health, agriculture, energy and transport will be able to obtain funding through the budget earmarked to address social challenges.
Simpler access to funding
At least 60% of the overall Horizon 2020 budget will promote sustainable development and at least 35% of expenditure will be climate-related.
Compared to previous EU research programmes, the application procedure for Horizon 2020 has been simplified so that participants can get prompt decisions on funding and focus on getting new projects off the ground as quickly as possible.