First, the Commission has agreed on a package to create a genuine European Research Area. In other words to remove barriers that currently hinder researchers - and businesses performing and using research – when they want to move, compete and co-operate across borders. This will be a major boost to UK research institutions and businesses, many of which are world leaders in their fields.
Second, the Commission has announced measures to provide open access to the results of publicly-funded research in Europe, so that researchers and businesses can more easily build on the achievements of research paid for by the public purse. The goal is for 60% of European publicly-funded research articles to be available under open access by 2016.
This will give taxpayers a better return on public investment in R&D in Europe, which totals around £70 billion (€87 billion), most of it funded by national governments, though with an important EU contribution, this year of around £8 billion (€10 billion). As a first step, the Commission will make open access to scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020, the EU's Research & Innovation funding programme for 2014-2020. The UK government has recently announced its own ambitious proposals to widen open access.
Third, the Commission has set out revamped rules to make it easier to conduct clinical trials. Clinical trials are tests of medicines in humans and give patients access to the most innovative treatments. At the same time, clinical research, with over £16 billion (€20 billion) of investment per year in the EU, makes a significant contribution to the economy.
The measures proposed today will speed up and simplify authorisation and reporting procedures, while maintaining the highest standards of patient safety and robustness and reliability of data. The measures will also better differentiate the obligations according to the risk-profile of the trial, and improve transparency, including on trials done in third countries.