Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, Ireland’s commission candidate and the proposed future research commissioner, is facing questions from parliament. The hearing has so far shown that Geoghegan-Quinn’s ten year stint at the European Court of Auditors has left its marks on her visions for research policy. The simplification of rules for research funding from the Commission is Geoghegan-Quinn’s solution for many problems surrounding the research directorate general and Framework 7.
The simplification of financial and administrative regulation of framework funding will get more small business in board, according to Geoghegan-Quinn’s proposals. She insisted that the low participation rate of businesses in EU-funded research can be improved by making participation more attractive through simpler rules. Improved financial regulations would also speed up funding, so businesses get the promised money quicker.
Better regulation would also make the auditing process for framework projects simpler,thus freeing time and money for research instead of spending it on daunting bookkeeping tasks. This would make framework funding more efficient and more attractive, Geoghegan-Quinn argued in front of the parliament.
Lastly, the prospective research commissioner highlighted that less rules would mean less error. The error rate in framework funding spending could be reduced well below the allowed 2 per cent mark if rules are simplified and made clearer, she said.
Geoghegan-Quinn was asked by British MEP Giles Chichester whether she would be the kind of commissioner who will start new actions, or improve existing projects. She answered she would be both, she would use existing instruments to push new ideas forward. “I am very action-orientated, I want action and delivery,” she told MEPs.