Today, on 25 July 2016, the European Commission announced an investment of €8.5 billion to be released during 2017 into research and innovation, following an update to the Work Programme of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding programme.
The updated Work Programme builds on the success of Horizon 2020 to date, but introduces important novelties. A particularly important change is the introduction of open research data in all new Horizon 2020 calls and the strong commitment to research integrity and simplification as a driver for research quality. For projects funded under the programme, free online access to scientific data will become the norm. This move will boost competitiveness through open science by accelerating innovation and collaboration, improving transparency, and avoiding duplication of efforts.
The programme also reacts to topical developments by reinforcing research into migration. In response to the refugee crisis, €11 million will be dedicated to new research to understand migration but also to develop effective policies for managing the influx and integrating migrants in the society and economy.
The funding opportunities offered by the Work Programme are directly aligned with the policy priorities of the Commission and will substantially contribute to the Jobs, Growth and Investment Package, the Digital Single Market, Energy Union and Climate change policy, Internal Market with stronger industry and making Europe a stronger global actor. In line with strategic priorities of Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Horizon 2020 will be open to innovation, open to science, and open to the world.
Today's update releases the second round of funding from the two-year Horizon 2020 work programme announced last October. This includes support for a range of cross-cutting initiatives in 2017: Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy (€325 million) to develop strong and sustainable economies; Smart and Sustainable Cities (€115 million) to better integrate environmental, transport, energy and digital networks in EU's urban environments; Technologies and standards for automatic driving (over €50 million); and the Internet of Things (€37 million) to foster the take-up of digital technologies in Europe.
Moreover it also includes a number of new calls. For example, the new 'Closing the water gap' topic with a budget of €10 million in the 'Greening the economy' call aims to reduce fragmentation of water research and innovation efforts across Europe and contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the conclusions of the COP21 Paris Agreement on climate change. With around €20 million, Horizon 2020 will also support the development of a new generation of cells and their integration in batteries, as part of the €133 million call for Green Vehicles. The ambition is to allow Europe to recover competitiveness in the production of future cells and batteries for transport and energy applications. Another novelty is the €4 million topic to support the policy development and implementation of the European Commission's FOOD 2030 initiative. This topic, included in the €280 million Sustainable food security call, aims to connect, structure and scale-up research and innovation for food and nutrition security in Europe, but in a global context. In addition, four new Horizon Prizes will be launched, focusing on boosting innovation in digital technologies and offering €11 million to winning solutions.
The current Open Research Data Pilot will be extended so that Research data sharing by default will apply to all Horizon 2020 calls covered by the 2017 Work Programme. This means that grant beneficiaries must take measures to enable third parties to access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate research data underlying their scientific peer reviewed publications free of charge. Horizon 2020 beneficiaries are encouraged to also share datasets beyond these publications. Projects can "opt-out" of these provisions in case of conflicts with IPR, personal data protection, national security or other concerns.
The package of migration actions aims to bring together pertinent research communities to map, assemble and synthesise currently running migration research in Europe. It will compare national asylum laws and policies, including their implementation under stress, and identify ways for more harmonisation. It will also make policy recommendations on how to facilitate labour market integration of migrants.
Horizon 2020 is the EU's biggest ever research and innovation framework programme with a budget worth €77 billion over seven years (2014-2020). Most EU research funding is allocated on the basis of competitive calls, but the budget for Horizon also includes funding for the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's in-house science service; the European Institute for Innovation and Technology and research carried out within the framework of the Euratom Treaty. Separate calls are also published under specific partnerships with industry and with Member States. In 2017 the total EU research and innovation budget, including these items, will be around €10.5 billion.
The updated Work Programme adopted today confirms details of the calls for proposals for 2017 first announced last October (compare here) and specifies the deadlines for applications (see memo). The Work Programme of the European Research Council also adopted today will allow supporting excellent researchers with nearly €1.8 billion. All funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are accessible from the Participant portal.
As of 1 July, Horizon 2020 has funded almost 9,000 grants in total to the tune of €15 billion of which almost €2.2 billion went to supporting SMEs in the societal challenges and the 'leadership in enabling and industrial technologies' part, exceeding the budget target. 1,860 ERC grantees and 6,160 beneficiaries under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions have received almost €2.6 billion and €1.6 billion respectively.
Source and further information: European Commission