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Horizon 2020 proposal released

The European Commission wants to spent €80 billion between 2014-2020 on three funding streams—excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges—the Horizon 2020 proposal has revealed.

The proposal for Framework 7’s successor includes three components, the priorities for which will be determined by scientists, industry and policy-makers, respectively, a Commission official said.

Under this proposal, Horizon 2020 would spend €24.6bn on “excellent science”. This includes €13.2bn for the European Research Council—a whopping 77 per cent increase on the previous period—and about €5.7bn for the Marie Curie programme for the mobility of researchers (a 21-per-cent increase).

A further €17.9bn would go to “industrial leadership”, including €13.7bn to develop areas such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and space technologies; €3.5bn to improve access to risk finance; and €619 million for innovative SMEs.

The third funding strand of the programme will spend €31.7bn on research related to six pre-defined “societal challenges” related to health; food and agriculture; energy; transport; climate, resource efficiency and raw materials; and “inclusive, innovative and secure societies”. This sub-programme is a natural successor to the cooperation part of Framework 7, a Commission official said. It will keep funding collaborative projects between researchers in different countries, the official explained.

Under the proposal, the Budapest-based European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) would receive about €2.8bn for 2014-2020, up from €309m in 2008-2013. About half of this budget would be released subject to a review in 2017.

In addition, the Commission has announced a set of simplified rules for participation, including the abolition of time sheets for staff who work full-time on an EU-funded project.

Horizon 2020 brings together several existing funding programmes: the Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, and the EIT. However, the directorates for research, enterprise and education remain responsible for each of these three sub-programmes, respectively.

The proposal will now be examined and amended by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. An agreement should be reached by the end of 2013.

More Horizon 2020 coverage can be found on our blog.