Joint debate on Horizon 2020 (ITRE Committee)

On 18 September 2013, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) held a Joint Debate on Horizon 2020. The debate follows the trialogues (Parliament, Commission, Council of Ministers) held before the summer holiday, where an agreement was reached on the organisation and the budget of the Horizon 2020 programme.

The legislative documents under debate were:

  • “Establishment of Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)” – Rapporteur: Teresa Riera (S&D, Spain)
  • “Specific Programme Implementing Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)”- Rapporteur: Maria Da Graça Carvalho (EPP, Portugal)
  • “Rules for the participation and dissemination in 'Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)” - Rapporteur: Christian Ehler (PPE, Germany)
  •  “Strategic Innovation Agenda of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): the contribution of the EIT to a more innovative Europe” - Rapporteur: Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL, Portugal)
  • “Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 establishing the European Institute of Innovation and Technology” - Rapporteur: Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA, Belgium)

The debate was attended by many Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who applauded the agreement between the three institutions, which paves the way for the formal approval of the legislative documents. The most important points raised were:

  • Teresa Riera (S&D, Spain), Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE, Portugal), Christian Ehler (PPE, Germany), Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL, Portugal) stressed the main improvements of the Commission’s proposal the Parliament has contributed to:
    • Within the 3 pillars:
      • Excellence in science: emphasis has been given to the Marie Curie actions (strengthened, new return grants) and to the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET);
      • Industrial leadership: An important part of the budget will be dedicated to SMEs and the new instrument for SMEs will receive its own budget;
      • Societal challenges. Here the Parliament has successfully advocated for more research on rare diseases, personalised medicines and poverty related diseases.
    • Horizontal issues:
      • Special focus on the synergies between H2020 and structural funds;
      • A fast-track instrument (bottom up mechanism that opens the possibility for some urgent issues that may arise during the implementation of the programme to be dealt with quickly and to obtain the necessary results within a reasonable time) is foreseen. First of all this will go into a pilot stage with a considerable number of projects financed;
      • For the first time the framework programme envisages the requirement of open access to publications which arise from any activity or research financed by this programme;
      • Better balance between large projects and medium and small ones;
      • Greater transparency considering public-private partnerships (PPP);
      • Simplification.
  • Christian Ehler (EPP, Germany) who has been a long-standing advocate for Horizon 2020, stressed his concern that the budget will only reach 70 billion euro, instead of 100 billion.
  • The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will be integrated into Horizon 2020. Five new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) will be launched over the programme period in three waves. This was one of the points negotiated with the Commission, which only wanted two waves.

The Parliament has indicated that it wants Horizon 2020 to also help structure research in Europe, making it more than a financial mechanism. To achieve this in the health sector, the Commission was asked to organise bottom up scientific-led panels that can help create synergies between the projects financed under different parts of Horizon2020. These panels will also form a link with research at Member States level, as well as foster exchanges within the health sector.

Next steps

  • Some minor issues still need to be discussed between Parliament and Commission;
  • An agreement on the financial aspects needs to be reached;
  • ITRE Committee vote on the 5 texts: 26 September 2013.

Date: 27/09/2013 | Tag: | News: 185 of 1596
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