On 30 November 2011, the European Commission presented legislative proposals for a decision by the European Parliament and the Council on Horizon 2020, the next Framework Programme for research and innovation, with a total budget of EUR 80 billion. The adoption of the new programme for the period of 2014-2020 is expected by December 2013. For the first time ever, Horizon 2020 brings together all EU research and innovation funding mechanisms under a single programme. Thus, in a Common Strategic Framework, Horizon 2020 will combine three major elements, namely EU research and innovation funding currently provided through FP7; parts of the Competitive and Innovation Programme (CIP); and the European Institute of Technology (EIT), with EUR 2.8 billion funding earmarked for its Strategic Innovation Agenda. In doing so, Horizon 2020 will focus funds on three key objectives:
The Commission also proposes a substantial commitment to simplification and harmonisation (e.g. simplified reimbursement procedures; a single point of access for participants; less paperwork in preparing proposals; no unnecessary controls and audits). Finally, one can expect more synergy with funds under the EU's Cohesion policy. Thus, Horizon 2020 is to identify potential centres of excellence in underperforming regions and offer them policy advice and support, while EU Structural Funds can be used to upgrade infrastructure and equipment.
In parallel, a complementary new programme to boost competitiveness and innovation in SMEs, with an additional budget of EUR 2.5 billion, was launched by Vice-President Antonio Tajani on 30 November as part of the overarching package of measures to enhance research, innovation and competitiveness in Europe.
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