Action 52: Propose measures for ‘light and fast’ access to EU research funds in ICT

What is the problem? Procedures for EU research funding are perceived as too complex

Current procedures to access EU research funds are cumbersome. They deter potential participants, particularly new and small research organisations, young researchers and SMEs.

Why is EU action required? To encourage participation of the best research organisations

Regional, national and European public funding initiatives for research and innovation should be as effective as possible in order to promote the highest quality research. They need to be highly attractive and accessible to:

· The best researchers worldwide

· Europe's industry and entrepreneurs

· Universities

· Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs)

· Other research and innovation actors

What are the Commission's plans?

To improve the quality of funding initiatives, in particular:

· Make objectives and instruments clearer

· Provide consistent and stable rules for EU research funding

· Ensure administrative procedures are light and speedy (from application through reporting to auditing)

What has the Commission done until now?

Support for SMEs is foreseen in both FP7 and the ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP). An SME-specific initiative has been piloted under WP 2011-12 in the area of "Digital Content and Languages".

With respect to simplification the commission has launched the communication on simplification as well as the FP7 interim evaluation.


What will the Commission do?

Support for SMEs will remain a focus for both WP2013 as well as Horizon 2020.

Several specific activities will be piloted in WP2013. A set of specific SME-targeted activities including open schemes are proposed in the areas of web based applications, cloud computing, components and systems, content analytics, Future Internet and in FET. WP2013 will also include horizontal activities on access to venture capital and supporting clusters and incubator environments for SMEs.

Horizon 2020 foresees major simplification through both the programme architecture, a single set of rules, less red tape through an easy to use cost reimbursement model, a single point of access for participants, less paperwork in preparing proposals, fewer controls and audits, with the overall aim to reduce the average time to grant by 100 days.