Commissioner Moedas and ITRE committee members discuss H2020 and FP9
European Parliament, Brussels – On 21 June the Commissioner for Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, attended the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee meeting to discuss the Horizon 2020 (H2020) interim evaluation and the upcoming Framework Programme (FP9).
Before delving into the conversation about the future Framework Programme, Commissioner Moedas condensed the interim evaluation into key messages. He began by reiterating that H2020 is delivering on its objectives, which are relevant to the EU and the global sustainable goals defined by the UN. The programme funds fundamental research projects while remaining flexible enough to respond to sudden crises, such as those triggered by the Ebola and Zika epidemics.
The evaluation, he added, has also demonstrated that ‘Open to the World’ is now a reality, thanks in part to a programme that has attracted participants from 130 countries as well as many academic-industry partnerships. Furthermore, H2020 is running a cost-efficient model, and is contributing to job creation and economic growth.
However, Moedas also drew attention to framework programme (FPs) funding. He stressed that despite the steady expansion of successive FPs, the current budget cannot effectively counteract oversubscription, and make Europe a leader in knowledge creation. It is within this context that the commissioner praised the European Parliament’s call to raise the budget to €120bn for FP9, which approximates the increase the Guild proposed in its recommendations for the next Framework Programme.
In addition to the budget appeals, members of the ITRE committee underscored the necessity to strengthen the synergies between Structural Funds and FP9 funding mechanisms. They also challenged the Commission to find ways of communicating the importance of research and innovation to the wider population. MEPs agreed that one way to achieve this could be to improve the alignment between societal concerns and research questions through mission-driven calls.
Commissioner Moedas’ closing remarks looked to the future: from introducing Proof-of-Concept tenders in the European Innovation Council and piloting bottom-up approaches within the SMEs instrument, to incorporating qualitative evaluation criteria (i.e. interviews) into SMEs research application processes.
It is reassuring that many of the priorities discussed at the committee meeting are gaining momentum in Brussels. Building on its strong knowledge base comprising academic communities that work toward sustainable development, knowledge creation and innovation, the Guild will continue to play an active part in the debate on the future of Europe, of which FP9 can – and should – be a key component.