Horizon 2020: Investing in success (EPP Group newsletter)


"After two and a half years of intense preparations, the European Parliament has managed to achieve great improvements for Horizon 2020. For the first time, we have created a dedicated SME instrument and allocated a substantial budget to it in order to boost innovation in Europe's businesses. On top of that, we introduced a Fast Track to Innovation into the programme - a new bottom-up mechanism that will allow for small innovative projects to be funded at any time. With such novelties, the Parliament has turned Horizon 2020 into a real growth factor for the European economy", said Christian Ehler MEP, Rapporteur on the Horizon 2020 participation rules.

"Excellence - without geographical constraints - is the primary criterion for participation in Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020 also introduces measures aimed at increasing participation by small research groups and SMEs in order to foster their potential and to further promote excellence in Europe", said Maria da Graça Carvalho MEP, Rapporteur for the specific programme implementing Horizon 2020.

"The Rules for Participation of Horizon 2020 will bring substantial improvements for participants: a shortened time of 8 months for grants (in the previous programme, applicants had to wait a whole year), a greater acceptance of the beneficiaries' accounting practices, and reduced administrative burden. Despite such great achievements, I regret that the Parliament had to consent to a funding model which departs completely from full-cost accounting, making EU research funding less efficient, less transparent and hindering the development of modern accounting in Europe's research landscape", Christian Ehler added.

"Youth employment is a problem that Europe has to face head on. As a result, Horizon 2020 sets out to create the necessary conditions that will enable an increase in levels of employment amongst young scientists through the establishment of return grants and innovation vouchers", Maria da Graça Carvalho concluded.

The next steps are a vote in the EP's Industry, Research and Energy Committee in July 2013. Legislative acts on Horizon 2020 should be adopted by the European Parliament and Council by the end of 2013. Then Horizon 2020 starts on 1 January 2014.