Research and Technological Innovation: The Challenge for a New Europe

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The successful negotiations, which took only four months, have given some comfort to researchers and science leaders who are worried about the results of the EU parliamentary elections being held this week. The last election was in , before the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU and before the sharp rise in support for populist parties in Poland, Italy and other EU countries.

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Plenty remains up for grabs with Horizon Europe. It could reapportion funding within this programme. The member states that joined the EU after gain less per capita from its research-funding programme than do richer members such as Germany and France, although the EU helps out poorer newcomers with other funds for science infrastructure. Why is Horizon Europe so important? A unique aspect of these funding schemes is that, to achieve political objectives such as spurring the economy or improving the health and well-being of citizens, they insist on large collaborations that work across borders.

Because the EU sets out its overall budget in multi-year chunks, the finances of the framework programme are also relatively stable.

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The programmes have an even greater influence in spurring research than these figures suggest, because in many cases the EU requires participants to match its funds with their own spending. The ongoing eighth programme, Horizon , added the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a series of large-scale European partnerships addressing specific global challenges.

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A new element of Horizon Europe will be the European Innovation Council, a funding scheme designed to support entrepreneurs launching start-up firms and researchers developing commercially innovative ideas. Politicians love these collaborations, but scientists tend to be ambivalent: they are a welcome source of money, but their bureaucracy can be tortuous.

His current consortium in Horizon is now running a clinical trial. The collaboration programmes are heavily oversubscribed.


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The overall success rate of applicants to collaborations in the first half of Horizon was just The ERC is similarly overwhelmed with keen applicants, and has just as low success rates. Although Horizon is still running, the EU counts it as a success so far; an interim evaluation released in found that the programme has had a pronounced impact. But the reviewers said that not enough was being spent on sustainable development and climate-related research — and that the programme has not reached young, fast-growing companies and innovators working on breakthrough technologies.

The new European Innovation Council is intended to help with this. Some other changes will also come with the new programme. The flagship idea has now been abandoned, although the three under way will continue, and concepts that were being developed for new ones will find homes in other parts of the Horizon Europe programme, says Robert-Jan Smits.

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Rather than focus on single consortia as flagships did, such missions would put out calls for proposals and pick a constellation of winning bids. The majority of these nations with smaller research budgets are former communist countries in central and eastern Europe, which — together with the small states of Cyprus and Malta — joined the EU after and are known collectively as the EU Three of the EU13 nations — Cyprus, Estonia and Slovenia — have received more out of the programme than they paid in.

Source: Peter-fisch.


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  • The EU has tried to help scientists and institutions in weaker countries to improve their participation. It has partnered leading research institutions with those in poorer countries, given grants to endow top researchers with research-chair positions at new member-state institutes, and offered training to improve the quality of grant proposals through pre-proposal checks and advice.

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    But Horizon Europe proposes to triple this amount. Further help for the EU13 comes from another EU source in the form of structural funds: subsidies to poorer EU regions to improve the quality of their infrastructure. The cash must be partly matched by the receiving nation. Although recipient countries have tended to use the money for projects such as roads, over the past couple of decades the commission has encouraged them to use it to bolster research and innovation. That was the largest research investment ever financed by structural funds in the country.

    Together with its leading partners, the EIT and its Innovation Communities offer a wide range of innovation and entrepreneurship activities: education courses that combine technical and entrepreneurial skills, tailored business creation and acceleration services and innovation driven research projects. They allow:.

    Innovation Themes

    There are currently eight Innovation Communities and each focuses on a different societal challenge:. Since the EIT was set up in , it has delivered [3] :. In May , the European Commission put forward its proposal for Horizon Europe , the next research and innovation framework programme for The strategy proposed a budget of EUR 2. The remainder of the Innovation Communities' budget must be raised from other sources of financing. The EIT Governing Board is the principal governing body, entrusted with the strategic leadership of the Institute and the overall direction of the operational activities implemented by the EIT Headquarters.

    It is independent and autonomous in its decision-making and is responsible for the selection, evaluation and support of the EIT Innovation Communities. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Research institute, independent EU body.

    Budapest headquarters and across the EU countries. Horizon - European Commission.

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