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Using science

The EU’s new Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, which kicks off in 2014, will cut red tape and invest billions of euros in building a sustainable green economy that fosters jobs and growth.

Scientific knowledge helps us understand the causes and impacts of environmental change. Science can help us devise strategies to manage scarce resources, find effective solutions to the urgent problems that affect health, safety and quality of life, and ensure a transition to a resource-efficient economy.

Better knowledge will help us identify significant trends and come up with the right policies for protection and conservation.

Each phase of environment policy making needs solid evidence about problems and solutions.

Significant gaps in our knowledge about the environment need to be identified and remedied. Ideally, scientists and policy-makers should share common objectives. To make that happen, we need science that is:

  • timely – available when policy-makers need it
  • clear – presented in a format that is easy to understand
  • fit for purpose – the research policy-makers need
  • accessible – masses of data need to be made credible, relevant and comprehensible

The Commission is strengthening the interface between science and EU environment policy by cooperating with a range of knowledge providers, and through initiatives like INSPIRE, SEIS and COPERNICUS. The Commission is also communicating the relevant scientific results of environmental research to policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders via its Science for Environment Policy News Alert Service.

The transition to a green and low-carbon economy will require significant innovation. Research is needed to identify challenges and guide actions.

The Commission has a powerful financial instrument to help Europe get the science it needs in Horizon 2020. This implements Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.

Running from 2014 to 2020 with an €80 billion budget, this EU programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

Horizon 2020 brings together all EU research and innovation funding under a single programme. It focuses on turning scientific breakthroughs into innovative products and services that provide business opportunities and change people's lives for the better. It also cuts red tape, with simple rules and procedures to attract top researchers and a broad range of innovative businesses.