The EU wants research institutions to make the most of Horizon 2020 and structural funds, its two main funding pots for research and innovation. But, as Cristina Gallardo reports, there are obstacles to mixing the two.
Under the financial framework agreed last year, at least €65 billion in structural funds will go to research and innovation between 2014 and 2020, alongside the €70bn allocated directly through Horizon 2020. The European Commission wants to encourage researchers to draw money from both sources—as long as the separate pots are used to pay for separate items.
But combining the two is easier said than done, as they are run on entirely different principles and to different timescales. According to one UK policy analyst who follows the issue closely, the result is a “mess” that leaves most research institutions bewildered. “In theory, it makes a lot of sense, but combining the sources is very complex,” he says. “It is still too early to say whether it is going to work.”