A New Era for Research and Innovation Funding in Europe
Brussels, 10 June 2011
EuropaBio welcomes the European Commission’s commitment to developing a strategic, integrated and simplified set of funding instruments to turn the Innovation Union vision into reality. Today at a major conference in Brussels, the Commissioner for Research Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, outlined Europe’s direction on the future Common Strategic Framework (CSF) for research and innovation.
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn today welcomed the broad consensus from the thousands of responses to the Commission Green Paper on the CSF. In her speech she asserted that “It has also become clear that Europe is facing an innovation emergency. We must priorotise innovation to ensure that we don’t fall behind our competitors”.
Last month, EuropaBio made a significant contribution to the proposal during the consultation phase. EuropaBio considers that an integrated CSF for research and innovation has the potential to play an important role in the implementation of the EU 2020 strategy by stimulating research and innovation to boost competitiveness and find solutions to the most pressing societal challenges. An ageing and increasing population, health pandemics, food scarcity, climate change and fuel shortages are all contributing to the problems being faced by our society today. Biotechnology is instrumental to tackling these problems. No other industrial sector is so well placed at the intersection of the enhancement of quality of life, knowledge, innovation, productivity and environmental protection.
EuropaBio believes that the five key elements at the core of the CSF should be; an integrated strategic approach, breaking away from the traditional compartmentalised methods; broader and more flexible support measures throughout the different stages of the development process, from grants to equity funding and demand-side policies; dedicated and more attractive support to SMEs, from targeted communication efforts to financial support; simplification and harmonisation of the application rules so that a balance is achieved between transparency and simplicity; and finally greater involvement from industry in defining priorities for future proposals and roadmaps.
Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio welcomed Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn’s comments stating: “We are pleased to see that the Commission’s thinking on the future CSF is in line with so many of EuropaBio’s key recommendations. Currently R&D funding accounts for 2% of GDP in the EU, which is still lower than Japan and the US where it accounts for 3.4& and 2.8% respectively. China is also catching up with Europe fast, where it now accounts for 1.4%. In order for Europe to meet the ambitious targets set out in the 2020 strategy, it is essential that innovation is made a top priority and that sufficient financial resources are allocated to research and innovation policies, at EU, national and regional level”.
Chair of EuropaBio’s SME platform, Tom Saylor believes that “The Framework Programme is an important means of funding for research for biotechnology enterprises and should remain a central part of CSF. Increasing harmonisation and simplification of the rules is urgently needed to make the programme more attractive to applicants, particularly SMEs who often struggle with the burden of applications and administration processes”.
- Full contribution of EuropaBio
Notes to the Editor
The consultation was based on the European Commission Green Paper which outlined several proposals for a coherent set of instruments for research and innovation, designed to make participation simpler and more attractive for potential applicants.