The proposed "Common Strategic Framework", set out in a Green Paper, would cover the various existing instruments with the aim to bring in more coherence. It focuses on three key aspects:
- a clear focus on three mutually reinforcing objectives: giving the EU a world-beating science base; boosting competitiveness across the board; and tackling grand challenges such as climate change, resource efficiency, energy and food security, health and an ageing population.
- making EU funding more attractive and easier to access for participants, for example through a single entry point with common IT tools or a one-stop shop for providing advice and support to participants throughout the funding process.
- much simpler and more consistent accounting procedures for the use of the funds received. This may involve, for example, greater use of lump sum payments.
Other ideas in the Green Paper include: further steps to pool Member States' national research funding; better links with cohesion funding; using EU funding to stimulate public procurement; more use of prizes; further strengthening the role of the European Research Council and of financial instruments such as the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) and the loan guarantee and venture capital investments; and drawing up a set of performance indicators to measure the success of EU research and innovation funding.
The consultation is open for comments from today. The deadline for contributions is 20 May. On 10 June, the Commission will organise a major closing conference as a follow-up to the public consultation. The name for the new Strategic Framework will be announced there.
The Commission will then bring forward before the end of 2011 a legislative proposal for research and innovation spending under the future EU budget post-2013.