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BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A guide to Europe’s multi-billion Horizon 2020 innovation
strategy, and its journey through the EU legislature

THIRD EDITION: MARCH 2013
Bigger, Simpler, Bolder
Third edition of the Science|Business
guide to Horizon 2020
March 2013
Project Editor		

Shane McCollam

Words			
Shane McCollam
			
Richard L. Hudson
			Peter Koekoek
			
Giulia Biasi
			
Philip Hunt
			
Nuala Moran
			
Gail Edmondson
			
Design			
Peter Koekoek
Pictures 			
			
			
			

European Commission
European Parliament
Council of the EU
BigStockPhotos

© 2013 Science Business Publishing Ltd
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P R E FAC E
Politics is always messy – but the politics of research and innovation in Europe has become
especially so of late.
For the past two years or more, the European Commission, Council and Parliament have been
struggling to agree on the fate of Horizon 2020, the EU’s headline plan for research and innovation.
Late-night summits, frantic lobbying, bitter infighting – all the usual trappings of European power
politics have been on display here in Brussels. If we’re lucky, it will all be over by this Autumn and
the first round of funding will begin in January 2014.
To put it in perspective: EU funding comprises 5 to 7 per cent (depending on who’s counting) of
total European government support for this activity. It will amount to nearly 8 per cent of the total
EU budget through the rest of this decade – a distant third in programmatic spending, after the rich
pork-barrel budgets of agriculture and regional development.
But the political significance has been greater. Will this help the poorer EU countries improve their
science and technology base, for economic growth? Will it strengthen Europe’s best research
institutions for ever-tougher global competition? Will companies, long-since disillusioned with the
Brussels paper chase, return to EU R&D collaborations?
These are the questions that we at Science|Business hope to answer in coming years as we follow
Horizon 2020 from first idea to final grant. This report, the third edition of our periodic guide,
is supplemented by regular updates online at www.sciencebusiness.net. Join us – as readers,
members or sponsors – as we try to broaden and inform the debate over Europe’s future.

Richard L. Hudson
CEO, Science|Business

CONTENTS
Europe’s new research & innovation plan					

4

The Commission proposal							

5

The member states weigh in on the budget					

7

The European Parliament reacts						

9

Horizon 2020 timeline							

10

Legislative developments							

12

Confronting major issues and bridging gaps in the process			

13

Building a programme around simplicity					

16

Supporting the backbone of the European economy			

19

EIT: Bigger budget and higher expectations					

21

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

3
INTRODUCTION

Horizon 2020: Europe’s New Research & Innovation Plan
The European Union’s new omnibus R&D programme promises less red tape, broader benefits,
more jobs and economic growth – but will it deliver? Science|Business follows the journey of
Horizon 2020, as the legislation is debated by lawmakers in Brussels and starts to take shape.
At a summit on 7 and 8 February 2013,
European government leaders agreed
on a new budget for the European
Union through 2020 – and as part
of it, a new plan for research and
innovation funding. The heart of it is
Horizon 2020, an amalgam of old and
new EU programmes to fund research,
support tech start-ups and projects, and
stimulate more job-creating innovation
across Europe. There are many details
still to work out, but the ‘indicative’
(in Euro-speak) amount is €70.96
billion – up from about €55 billion in
the old seven-year funding plan, but
short of the €80 billion the European
Commission initially proposed and the
€100 billion that many in the European
Parliament wanted.
This isn’t the final word: The European
Parliament is resuming work this Spring
on the Horizon 2020 legislation, and the
amounts could shift – both the total,
and the components. But the on-again,
off-again political process of the past two
years seems likely to end in something: A
timely start of the new programmes by 1
January.
By now, we are beginning to see
the contours of what research and
innovation funding from the EU will
look like through the remainder of this
decade.
■■It will be fairly large – increasing
the financial and political weighting
of central, EU funding in European
research overall.
■■It will add more of an emphasis on
market-facing innovation rather than
mainly lab research.
■■It will, within the lab portion, magnify
efforts to fund the best science
through open competition – chiefly
through the European Research
Council.

■■Within the innovation portion, it will
offer more support to small companies,
push to solve so-called Grand
Challenges such as climate change
and materials shortages, and expand
experiments in new forms of publicprivate collaboration – such as public
procurement of innovative products
and services, and the ‘knowledge
triangle’ (industry, research and
education) consortia of the European
Institute of Innovation and Technology.
■■It will strive to be simpler, to stop
driving away companies horrified
by the old bureaucratic mill that EU
funding had become – though whether
simplification will really result is the
biggest question mark for the rest of
the year, as the details in the law and
regulation get hammered out.
Certainly, the ambitions are big. “A break
from the past and an investment in
our future“ is what Máire GeogheganQuinn, Commissioner for Research,
Innovation and Science, called the plan
in November 2011, when she and two
other Commissioners first announced it.
The Commission’s intention, she said, is
to “support the best research ideas and
provide major business opportunities
that improve people’s lives.“ And in case
that isn’t enough, “we’re slashing red
tape,“ she said.

Parliament’s response
Before Horizon 2020 can kick into action
in 2014, the European Parliament and
member states represented in the
Council of Ministers will have to agree on
a final version of the plan. The February
2013 Council meeting dealt only with
the broader, EU-wide budget framework;
a separate meeting is planned for
this Spring on Horizon 2020 itself.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament,
which is becoming increasingly assertive
in exercising its powers as part of the EU
legislature, had released six reports from
members of the Industry, Research and
Energy Committee (ITRE). The reports,
which propose some significant changes
from the Commission plan, sparked a
fresh round of debate about the size
and shape of Europe’s next framework
programme. Those debates will be
resolved in various Parliamentary votes
into the Autumn.
This Science|Business guide provides
insight into the Commission’s vision
for Europe’s new innovation funding
plan, and gives a clear indication of the
themes that will dominate the debate
until Parliament and Council will sign
Horizon 2020 into law – which they are
expected to do in the summer of 2013.

The proposal is “part of an exit strategy
from the (economic) crisis,“ said
Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for
Education, Culture, Multilingualism,
Sport, Media and Youth. The series of EU
announcements in 2011 provided many
- but not all - of the details expected
since the Commission first announced
its broad, economy-driven ‘Innovation
Union’ strategy in October 2010.

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

4
Horizon 2020:
The Commission proposal

Big and bold: A look at some of the most striking features of the Commission’s 2011 proposal
EU Commissioners Tajani, Geoghegan-Quinn and Vassiliou unveil Horizon 2020 to the press in 2011

On 30 November 2011, a bit of political
theatre took place to show Brussels at
its best and worst. Not one, but three
commissioners (Geoghegan-Quinn,
Vassilliou and Antonio Tajani) vied to
claim credit with the press – reflecting
the months of internal argument
among their respective directorates
over who does what in the new plan.
A barrage of interest groups, from
university to corporate lobbyist, fired
off pre-written press statements based
on leaked versions of the plan that had
been circulating, in numerous drafts,
around Brussels for many months. A set
of 11th-hour changes, ordered by the
Commission, delayed the release of all
the documentation.
Since then, the Council of Ministers
ordered some changes in the way
Horizon 2020 will work, but the main
outlines of the legislation facing the
Parliament now are broadly similar. The
biggest change is in the total budget
envelope – the €70.96 billion agreed by
the Council, rather than the €80 billion
proposed by the Commission. How that
cut will be distributed among the various
programmes is not yet agreed – but as of
March 2013, the rough-and-ready plan
inside the Commission was simply to
trim each individual budget line by about

the same percentage. So the numbers
presented here are from the original,
uncut Horizon 2020 proposal; the final
numbers will be the subject of intense
lobbying during 2013.
The main outlines of the Commission
proposal:
■■ A 77 per cent jump to €13.2 billion
for the basic-science European
Research Council. The agency,
modelled on the US National Science
Foundation’s no-politics method
of awarding research grants based
on scientific peer-review panels,
has won wide praise for funding
‘excellence’ in science since it
began in 2007. But even with the
increase, annual grants by the
ERC would be only about a third
as much as at the NSF. And there
has been some political backlash
in eastern and southern Europe
because most of the ERC grants to
date have gone to science-rich north
western Europe. The Commission’s
responses include several measures
to reverse the brain drain from
the poorer countries, including
creation of ‘ERA Chairs’, funding
special professorships to recruit
“outstanding academics to

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

institutions with a clear potential for
research excellence.“
■■ €5.75 billion for the Marie Curie
Actions that provide opportunities
to excellent researchers, such as
fellowships and the possibility to
gain experience abroad and in the
private sector. In a further, typical
Brussels act of political outreach,
the Commission added the great
scientist’s Polish maiden name to
the programme’s title, rather than
her French surname alone: Marie
Sklowdoska Curie. (Similarly, in
a nod to Italy, EU Vice-President
Antonio Tajani said a set of smallcompany support programmes
is to be named COSME, after the
Renaissance merchant-prince,
Cosimo de’ Medici, whom he
somewhat anachronistically called
an “entrepreneur.“)
■■ A Small Business Innovation
Research programme - modelled
partly on established UK and US
initiatives - becomes part of a drive
to mobilize more small and mediumsized companies to participate in
the EU programmes. In all, Tajani
said, up to 15 per cent of the
budget is earmarked for SMEs. The

5
plan includes providing SBIR seed
funding, which SMEs can apply for
singly rather than in the usual EU
coalitions, and then helping connect
them to the European Investment
Bank and other public and private
funders for expansion capital. A
set of company-support efforts
presently in the Competitiveness
and Innovation Programme gets a
new name (COSME) and a bigger
budget (€2.5 billion). The expected
impact: 39,000 firms a year assisted,
creating 29,500 jobs and 900 new
business products or services.
■■ An eye-popping rise, from €309
million to €2.8 billion, for the
European Institute of Innovation
and Technology. This Budapestbased organisation is a new EU
model for getting industrialists,
researchers and educators working
together in specific sectors – so
far, energy, climate change and
ICT. The plan, though less than the
€4 billion originally sought by the
agency, would permit it to add six
more sectoral groups by 2020, in
healthcare, food, raw materials,
advanced manufacturing, security
and urban mobility. The full
expansion would be contingent on a
mid-term review confirming the EIT

is working properly. The objectives
include 600 new companies started,
and 25,000 masters and 10,000 PhD
students trained by 2020.
■■ The biggest chunk of the budget,
or €31.7 billion, will go to ‘Societal
Challenges’ – a set of hot-button
social and environmental issues
that have risen high on the political
agenda across Europe over the past
five years. These are healthcare for
an ageing population, food security,
clean and secure energy, smart and
green transport, climate action and
resource efficiency, and inclusive and
secure societies. The Commission
left some details of these efforts to
be filled in by the member states
and groups that want to propose
solutions. Indeed, the Commission
claims that the whole Horizon 2020
programme will be more flexible
than its past research plans – which
could not adapt quickly to changing
political priorities.
■■ A further political issue appears
likely to involve human embryonic
stem cell research, which heavily
Catholic Poland in particular has
opposed; on that point, GeogheganQuinn said the Commission won’t
fund any research in a country if

the project’s subject or ethics are
contrary to the laws in that country.
■■ The future of ITER, a major
international fusion-energy plant in
Cadarache, France, will be in play;
ITER, which long ago sailed past its
original budget estimates, may end
up competing with the separate
Horizon 2020 budget.
■■ The plan may also prompt a
collision among many of the
EU’s major constituencies. In the
same time frame, the EU will be
arguing over reform of its most
expensive programme, the Common
Agriculture Policy: the Commission
included in Horizon 2020 a big rise
in food and soil research to buy
support from France, Hungary and
other CAP supporters – but a budget
clash appears likely, anyway.
■■ The Commission is proposing
more active channelling towards
innovation of Structural Funds – a
type of regional development
funding that most member states
jealously guard as their own
prerogative to control, not the
Commission’s.

Commission proposal for the ‘three priorities’
Societal challenges €31.7B

Excellent science €24.6B

Industrial leadership €17.9B

Health, demographic change and
wellbeing

European Research Council

Leadership in enabling and
industrial technologies

Food security, sustainable
Future and Emerging
agriculture, marine and maritime Technologies
research & the bioeconomy

Access to risk finance

Secure, clean and efficient
energy

Marie Curie actions

Innovation in SMEs

Smart, green and integrated
transport

Research infrastructure

Climate action, resource
efficiency and raw materials
Inclusive, innovation and secure
societies
Source: European Commission

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

6
The Member States weigh in on
the Horizon 2020 debate

What impact will the European Council’s political horestrading have on Europe’s next research
and innovation programme?
Heads of state and government arrive in Brussels in February 2013

During their meeting on 7-8 February 2013, European heads
of state and government reached agreement on the next
Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which will set
spending for the EU’s programmes from 2014 to 2020. This
covers everything the European Commission will do over
the seven years: subsidising farmers, funding development
projects, paying its own staff – and funding research and
innovation programmes. The European Council agreed to
commitments of up to €960 billion, with actual payments
of €908 billion, both representing significant cuts compared
to the Commission’s original proposal of €1033 billion
commitment appropriations and €987 billion payment
appropriations.
Not surprisingly, that overall cut will have an impact on the
research and innovation programmes – but exactly how much
is still under debate. The European Council concluded that
the Union’s budget will play a fundamental role in helping
Europe to face the new challenges raised by the economic and
financial crisis. From this there is a need to mobilise spending
for programmes intended to boost growth, employment,
competitiveness and convergence to contribute to the
fulfilment of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Compared to the Commission’s proposal for Smart and
Inclusive Growth, there is a cut – to €450.763 from €494.763
million. But compared to how much it spent in the prior
planning period, from 2007 to 2013, there is an increase
of €35 billion, or nearly 40 per cent, in the budget line for
Competitiveness for Growth and Jobs – Sub-heading 1a, in
Brussels jargon. This includes programmes like Erasmus for
All, to fund formal and non-formal learning activities, open
to all learners and trainers, the Connecting Europe Facility to
improve network infrastructure across the EU, and Horizon
2020.
BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

The European Council concluded that there is a critical
need to reinforce and extend the excellence of the Union’s
science base. All policies will aim to increase competitiveness
and particular attention will be paid to the coordination of
activities funded through Horizon 2020 with those supported
under other Union programmes, including through cohesion
policy.

Budget lines
Of the total, €125 billion is dedicated to sub-heading 1a, on
growth and competitiveness. In terms of budget, the MFF
conclusions do not provide any specific figures for how much
of that goes to fund R&D. According to Michael Jennings, a
spokesman for Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for
Research, Innovation and Science, the final figure expected for
Horizon 2020 is €70.96 billion. This represents a net increase
on the €55 billion of its predecessor, the Seventh Framework
Programme (FP7), but it is still well short of the European
Commission’s proposed budget for the programme of €80
billion. By yet another measure, annual budgets, it is a very
slight cut in funding. The spending in FP7 rose steeply in the
course of the seven years – to nearly €11 billion in 2013; thus
2014 would start with slightly less than 2013.
In the weeks preceding the February summit, Commissioner
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, called on MEPs to lobby their
governments on Horizon 2020 funding. “In general the
individual member states are very supportive of Horizon 2020
and innovation and R&D as being where growth and jobs come
from,“ Geoghegan-Quinn said, but “when they come to the
collective table“ the story is different. Speaking to MEPs she
stated that even a small cut of €1 billion from the proposed
€80 billion programme would have a big impact. “It would
mean 600 SMEs are not taking part in projects,“ Geoghegan-

7
Sub-heading 1a - Competitiveness for growth and jobs
2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

15 605

16 321

16 726

17 693

18 490

19 700

21 079

Source: European Commission (Million euros, 2011 prices)

Quinn said, adding, “Research and innovation have the
potential to release investment and investors need to know
there is a stable platform.“ Many member states are cutting
national R&D budgets and as a result will be increasingly
dependent on EU funding to maintain their research efforts.
Contrary to the fears of some leading industrialists and
academics in the weeks preceding the European Council’s
meeting, the €71 billion total does not include the €12.8 billion
allocated to the three major infrastructure projects of the
global positioning system Galileo, the ITER fusion project and
the earth observation system Copernicus (formerly GMES).
These funds – €6.3 billion for Galileo, €2.7 billion for ITER and
€ 3.8 billion for Copernicus – fall outside the Horizon 2020
budget.
The basic structure of the Commission’s proposal as well as
some innovative instruments have been preserved, including
the creation of a Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), with an
allocated budget of €29.3 billion. Ryan Heath, spokesman for
the Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes,
confirmed to Science|Business that the CEF budget is ringfenced separately from the Horizon 2020 budget.
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel
Barroso, speaking at the European Parliament, affirmed that
although the agreed amount is considerably below what the
Commission recommended (€50 billion), it is still well above
what exists under the current period for the trans-European
networks. In the case of transport, the amount will increase

from €8.5 billion in the current period to more than €23 billion
in the next period. And, for the first time, there will be €5
billion to invest in energy infrastructure at the European level.
Out of the total €30 billion dedicated to Connecting Europe,
just €1 billion will be allocated to telecommunications, a
major cut compared to the Commission’s proposal, which had
originally proposed €9 billion, then €7 billion for this area to
fund the expansion of Europe-wide broadband and digital
services such as e-procurement and e-invoicing. “Seven billion
euros would have enabled us to leverage up to €70 billion into
broadband with outside investment,“ said Heath. “That 70 will
become zero thanks to the decision. Now there’s no money for
broadband, so yes, we are disappointed.“
In a post on her blog, Vice-President Neelie Kroes wrote
“because broadband is essential for a digital single market, the
rails on which all tomorrow’s digital services will run; and this
could have been an innovative and highly-market oriented way
to deliver it, almost budget-neutral in the long run“. However,
she acknowledged that “this budget can still be a catalyst for
growth and jobs, and a tool to boost our competitiveness. The
significantly increased investment that Horizon 2020 will be
making in EU research and innovation, including in the field
of ICT, is a very vivid illustration of that. This is investing in
tomorrow’s growth; and by acting at European scale we can
ensure research and its benefits spread as widely as possible,
including across borders.“

Total R&D appropriations in euros per inhabitant - 2011

Source: Eurostat, European Commission

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

8
European Parliament reaction:
the real negotiations will start now

MEPs and member states will have to reach a deal before Horizon 2020 can become law
European Parliament’s President Martin
Schulz affirmed the negotiated budget
represents “the most backward-looking
Multiannual Financial Framework in
the history of the Union“. In his budget
proposal, the European Parliament
allocated €100 billion to Horizon
2020 to invest in those sectors where
Europe has a great potential such as
research and development, education
and training. Similarly, MEPs said “We
cannot accept a budget based solely
on the priorities of the past. We must
maintain support for future-oriented
policies, strengthening European
competitiveness and research.“
Following the announcement of the
agreement on budget negotiations, the
four biggest groupings of MEPs issued
an immediate statement, saying they
will not accept the MFF as presented,
and some are organising a secret
ballot on the budget (permissible if
over one-fifth of members ask for it) in
order to better resist the influence of
the Council. They emphasised that the
Parliament’s ambition is to promote
growth and investment in the EU, and
that this agreement will not strengthen
the competitiveness of the European
economy but weaken it.
“The European Parliament cannot accept
today’s deal in the European Council as

it is. We regret that Mr. Van Rompuy did
not talk and negotiate with us in the last
months. The real negotiations will start
now with the European Parliament,“ said
a group of prominent MEPs in a joint
statement on behalf of three leading
political parties in the Parliament, the
centre-right, the liberals and the Greens.
But a fourth party, the European
Conservatives and Reformists group led
by British MEPs, is opposed to holding a
secret ballot. Martin Callanan, the ERC
group leader, argued that MEPs must be
accountable to their electors on the vote.
He concludes: “If this Parliament decides
to go to war with the Council then we
will all suffer.“
Thus, this could turn into a major test
of the Parliament’s independence from
national governments – and already,
many prominent MEPs are casting the
issue in those high-stakes terms.
One of the most disturbing possible
outcomes is the likelihood of substantial
delay following a political stand-off
between the European Council and the
Parliament. Should MEPs stand firm
on their stated decision to reject the
MFF as it stands now, the result will be
months of uncertainty about European
research spending. Even if the Parliament
does not block the deal, the earliest

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

the Council will come back to Horizon
2020 specifics will be late spring – and it
could be into the autumn before all the
dust settles. Inside the Commission, the
expectation is that all the programmes
comprising Horizon 2020 will share
equally in the cut from the original
proposal – and the internal planning has
been operating for some months under
that assumption.
“How the Horizon 2020 money will be
allocated between the three pillars and
different research priorities, we do not
know yet,“ said MEP Edit Herczog of the
ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy)
committee of the Parliament, rapporteur
for the MFF. “The research community
needs to stay loud. Your opinions are
important – you need to make yourselves
heard in the coming months, too. The
competition for this money will just
become tougher and tougher until the
final decisions are made.“
If the MFF becomes a game of political
football between the two institutions,
the resulting back and forth could go on
until the autumn, and it could be the
end of the year before budget decisions
are finalised. Horizon 2020’s start date
of 1 January 2014 is looking increasingly
precarious.

9
Horizon 2020 Timeline

30 November 2011
European
Commission adopts
Horizon 2020
package. Beginning
of negotiations
between the
European Parliament
and Council of
Ministers.

January 2012
The European
Parliament (ITRE
committee) appoints
rapporteurs for
the Horizon 2020
dossier.

10 October 2012
Council reaches
partial general
approaches on the
EIT regulation and
on the rules for
participation and
dissemination in
Horizon 2020.

July 2012
MEPs release a
number of draft
reports proposing
amendments to
the Commission’s
Horizon 2020 plan

2012
Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

5-6 December 2011
Commission
presents Horizon
2020 to Council of
Ministers

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

Apr

May

Jun

31 May 2012
Council reaches
partial general
approach on the
Horizon 2020
Framework
Programme

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

28 November 2012
ITRE Committee
presents the
final reports on
Horizon 2020 with
amendments to
the Commission’s
proposals.

10

D
11 December 2012
Council reached
partial general
approaches on the
Specific Programme
implementing
Horizon 2020 and
on the Strategic
Innovation Agenda
(SIA) of the EIT.

7-8 February 2013
European Council
agreement on
long term budget
(MFF)

End 2013
Adoption of
Horizon 2020
legislative acts by
Parliament and
Council

Spring 2013
Parliament votes
on Horizon 2020
in plenary session

2013

Dec

Jan

2014
Feb

January 2013
Start of ‘trialogue’
meetings between
European
Parliament,
Commission and
Council

Mar

Apr

May

March 2013
European
Parliament
votes on the
Multiannual
Financial
Framework (MFF)

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

1 January 2014
Horizon 2020
starts; launch of
first calls

11
A round-up of major research developments and initiatives
that will affect Horizon 2020
A look at some of the other research funding and policy initiative that will complement the final
Horizon 2020 package
After four decades, 2012 finally
saw the dawn of a single
European patent
The long-awaited single European patent
will become a reality on 1 January 2014,
after the Council and the European
Parliament endorsed a compromise deal
in December 2012.

but only if they are approved under the law
of the member state where the research
takes place – defeating a proposal to ban
stem cell research by a small group of
conservative MEPs.

Two biggest research projects in
EU history get €2B go-ahead

The two winners of the biggest basic
research grants in EU history – with €54
The promise is that the new patent
million for starters in 2013 alone - have
will be cheaper and more effective in
been guaranteed the funding will be
protecting inventions, with one patent
grant providing protection in 25 member maintained over ten years regardless of any
cuts to the EU’s overall R&D programme.
states, patent languages limited to
English, French and German (in line with
the European Patent Office system), and The Future and Emerging Technologies
a single court to deal with disputes.
(FET) Flagships on Graphene and the
Human Brain will also be the most
There is a long bedding-down process,
collaborative projects ever funded by the
with a transition period of 12 years to
EU, with Graphene involving 126 academic
move from the existing system, in which and industrial groups in 17 countries, while
a patent granted by the European Patent the Human Brain Project is comprised of 87
Office in Munich must then be translated organisations in 23 countries, of which 16
into the language of any country in
are in the EU.
which it is to have effect, to the new
three language system. When it is up
The two Flagships will get €54 million from
to speed the estimate is that a patent
the European Commission’s ICT 2013 Work
granted under the unitary scheme will
programme to get off the ground, with the
cost €4,725, compared to the European majority of the remaining funding coming
Commission’s current estimate of the
from Horizon 2020.
average cost, which stands at €36,000.
A Commission spokesman told
Science|Business the contracts for the
A tipping point for
two FET Flagships cannot be signed until
personalised healthcare
the overall budget for the EU from 2014 –
2020, the Multiannual Financial Framework
The European Medicines Agency, at the is agreed – and with it the budget for
fourth time of asking, decided this year Horizon 2020.
to recommend approval of the first gene
therapy, opening up a new era in the
Space, Europe’s final frontier?
treatment of rare diseases, and unlocking
the wider potential of such therapies.
Meanwhile, in the US, the trigger for the While other pan-European science projects
widespread and systematic deployment face an uncertain future, the European
of personalised healthcare was pulled in Space Agency (ESA) concluded a successful
early 2012 with the announcement of a two-day council meeting at which ministers
desktop machine that can sequence an from ESA’s 20 member states and Canada
individual’s genome at a price of $1,000. agreed to allocate €10 billion for ESA’s
activities and programmes from 2013 –
MEPs voted to maintain the current EU 2017.
rules on stem cell research, this means
that projects using human embryonic
While this was €2 billion less than hoped
stem cells can be funded with EU money, for, it represented a welcome, uncluttered
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A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

conclusion at a time of austerity, when
the national governments that fund ESA
directly are cutting spending elsewhere.
The investment will be focused on fields
which ESA claims have high growth
potential or with a direct and immediate
impact on the economy, such as
telecommunications and meteorology.

Push for a more bottom-up
approach and increased public
procurement
One key boost for innovative start-ups
and SMEs in Europe is likely to come
from increased public procurement of
innovation from smaller and mediumsized companies. Malcolm Harbour MEP
(ECR-UK), Chairman of the Committee
on Internal Markets and Consumer
Protection in the European Parliament,
is spearheading a movement to get
government agencies to spend a greater
slice of the EU’s €2.3 trillion procurement
budget on innovative products.
With a government contract in hand, a
small company has greater credibility
with investors and can leverage the
contract to obtain more private funding.
“Public procurement has immense
power. We have to make sure the
[European] legal framework is simple,
easy to operate and encourages good
innovative procurement – and doesn’t
discourage it,” Harbour says.
The US government has been using
public procurement to drive innovation
for years, setting fixed quotas for
government offices and agencies. But
until now, Europe has failed to embrace
the practice on a large scale. “It’s an idea
whose time has come,” said Harbour.
“We are searching for ways to make
innovation-based companies grow very
quickly – at a time when markets are
weak and lenders are reassessing risk.”

12
Confronting the major issues facing Europe
and bridging gaps in the process

Adjusting the Horizon 2020 proposals to solve major societal challenges while bridging the gap
between the EU’s wealthier and less-developed member states
The European Parliament in Brussels

Along with growing Europe’s innovative communities and
capabilities, solving the grand challenges facing the Union
is at the core of the Horizon 2020 strategy. To add structure
to this approach, the budget for Horizon 2020 has been
divided into three main priorities: Societal challenges,
industrial leadership and excellent science. Each was selected
on the premise that they are too big for any one country
to handle by itself and that such categories also enable a
better-organised and holistic approach in the distribution of
funding.
Teresa Madurell, member of the European Parliament and
rapporteur for the ITRE Committee, wrote in her final report,
“Horizon 2020 contributes directly to tackling the major
societal challenges identified in Europe 2020 and its flagship
initiatives. It will contribute equally to creating industrial
leadership in Europe. It will also increase excellence in the
science base, essential for the sustainability and long-term
prosperity and well-being of Europe.“
While there has been general approval of the themes selected,
three particular changes were put forward by the Parliament
to ensure that the budget is able to maximise its potential in
addressing these challenges:
■■ Establishment of ‘Sectoral Steering Boards’ composed of
independent experts who will help define the research
and innovation agenda for each societal challenge.
■■ A minimum of 15 per cent of the societal challenges
budget should prioritise bottom-up research calls with no
pre-defined topic.
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■■ Creating a new and separate security challenge called
“Protecting Freedom and Security in Europe“.
Given the broad range of themes, both MEPs Madurell and
Maria Da Graça Carvalho say it is necessary to establish
boards “composed of relevant stakeholders from academia,
industry, end-users and civil society of the highest repute and
appropriate expertise, ensuring a diversity of all sectors and
research areas concerned.“
Assuming the measure is adopted and such boards are
created, their purpose would be to serve as advisors to the
Commission on overall strategy, possibilities for coordination,
independent oversight and possibly to assist in coordinating
activities around the priority areas of Horizon 2020.

Solving the grand challenges together
Both the Commission and the Parliament have acknowledged
that there are significant regional disparities across Europe
in research and innovation performance which need to be
addressed. They both want to adopt measures to unlock
excellence and innovation and will be distinct, complementary
and synergistic with policies and actions of the Cohesion.
Currently, a large portion of the EU R&D funding ends up in the
wealthier member states, like the UK, France and Germany.
This is often a source of contention between less-developed,
newer, member states and the richer countries in the north
and west of Europe, which have so far resisted calls to
create geographic quotas. “It is not only the well-established
institutes that put out excellent research,“ Carvalho pointed
out to Science|Business. As the Parliamentary rapporteur for

13
The leaders of some of Europe’s wealthier countries discuss the EU budget during one of many ‘bilateral meetings’ that took place
during the February 2012 gathering of EU heads of state and government. From left to right: Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte; UK prime
minister David Cameron; Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

the “Specific Programme Implementing Horizon 2020“, she
is responsible for formulating the Parliament’s amendments
to the Commission’s legislative proposal and leads the formal
discussion of the Parliament’s position with research ministers
in the Council, and with the European Commission.
In their review of the Commission report, Carvalho and
Madurell argue that while the two programmes have different
objectives, “Horizon 2020 and the Cohesion Policy are
extremely important to reach the objectives of Europe 2020,
and as such, synergies and complementary agendas between
them are essential.“ These synergies are explained as bridges
that are to be built in both directions, thus linking the two
programmes. In practice, these bridges are to be made up of
a number of programmes that are complementary and create
interoperability between the two funding schemes.

Taking the next steps
In creating synergies and pushing for greater coordination, the
Parliament has placed emphasis on a number of objectives:
■■Establishing ‘European Research Area Chairs’ to attract
outstanding academics.
■■Providing a ‘seal of excellence’ for positively evaluated
project proposals that have not been able to achieve funding
because of budgetary limitations.
■■An online IPR marketplace where intellectual property can
be advertised in order to bring together the owners and
users of IPR.
■■In addition to an enhanced role for bottom-up research,
the guiding principle of excellence is expected to bolster
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what already exists in the European research and innovation
communities via consolidation and complementary activities.
■■“Spreading excellence and widening participation“ is the title
under which it is expected that Horizon 2020 can increase
the competitiveness of Europe by means of social, territorial
and economic cohesion.
■■Attributing “Return Grants“ to excellent researchers
currently working outside of Europe and who wish to work
in Europe, or to researchers already working in Europe who
wish to move to a less-performing region.

ERA Chairs and a twinning scheme
To start building these bridges, a pilot call was launched in
December 2012, with no pre-defined priority areas and is open
to a university or research organisation located in one of the
convergence regions identified in the FP7 Research Potential
Work Programme for 2012-2013. ERA Chairs will be awarded
to universities and research organisations in less-developed
regions in Europe in order to attract outstanding academics to
help close the research and innovation divide within Europe.
It is anticipated that this will permit selected institutions to
develop, in a particular field, the level of excellence required
to successfully compete internationally and effectively widen
participation.
The European Commission should allow universities in richer
countries and those in less-developed member states to team
up and apply for Horizon 2020 funding together. This would be
a “win-win situation,“ Carvalho said, allowing a less-developed
institution to benefit from the expertise and good name of
its more-renowned counterpart, which would in turn have

14
the benefit of attracting excellent students from its partner,
and an increase in scientific publications. Carvalho has firsthand experience of such partnerships from when she was a
researcher from the Technical University of Lisbon working at
Imperial College London. The collaboration was beneficial for
both institutions, she said. It also spurred further development
of Portugal’s R&D system, since after Imperial College, Carvalho
went on to become a professor in Lisbon and later held the
post of science, innovation and higher education minister in
the Portuguese government under then prime minister, José
Manuel Barroso.
In addition to the creation of new programmes designed to
bridge the divide between Horizon 2020 and Structural Funds,
there is also an expectation that independent committees and
the Parliament will have more say in decision making through
annual reviews. There has also been a call for the creation of
dedicated Sectoral Steering Boards, made up of independent
high-level experts, to contribute by defining research and
innovation programmes, and address fragmentation in each of
the societal challenges.
In her report, Carvalho argues that EU funding for Research
and Innovation is of key significance and should be exploited
for leverage. Horizon 2020 should attract additional financing
from the Structural Funds, the European Investment Bank and
from the private sector, something that supposes adopting
a multi-fund approach. She notes that the interoperability
between the instruments of Horizon 2020 and the structural
funds should be enhanced. This would mean orchestrating
compatible rules and procedures; coherent application
formats and evaluation criteria; common entry points;
synchronising priority setting through smart specialisation and
using common cost definitions and other administrative and
financial criteria. It would also involve synchronised roadmaps
and administrative cycles including, for example, the need to
respect the academic calendar, especially for universities.

Maria Da Graça Carvalho MEP

Contribution Vs. Participation
Country

EU contribution in millions
of euros by country 20072011

Country

# of participants in FP7 by
country 2007-2011

PT, IE, EE, LV, LT, PL, CZ, BG, CY, LU,
MT, RO, HU, SI, SK,

< €300M

EE, LV, LT, MT, CY, BG, SI,
SK, LU

< 500

FI, DK, EL

€300M-€500M

IE, CZ, HU, RO

0.5-1K

SE, BE, AT

€500M-€1B

FI, PL, AT, EL, PT, DK

1-2K

ES, NL, IT

€1B-€2B

ES, SE, BE, NL

2-5K

UK, DE, FR

> €2B

DE, UK, FR, IT

> 5K

Source: European Commission

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15
Building a programme around simplicity

Will Horizon 2020 be able to avoid the bureaucratic madness that is often associated with its
predecessors?

Of all the new initiatives being
introduced under Horizon 2020, the
aim for simplification has become
its centrepiece. Couple this with the
fact that one of the main focuses of
this new framework programme is
the targeting of SMEs, and it is easy
to see why the hours and hours of
paperwork that plagued previous
framework programmes needed to
be cut drastically if this one were to
be considered a success from the
perspective of its applicants.
In rising to this challenge, the
Commission has made a set of changes
that aims to allow and encourage a
broader and larger range of organisations
to participate in open calls, with the
promise that they will be met by a
simpler and more efficient process.
The entire structure of the programme
has also been simplified and shaped
towards three main goals: promoting
excellent science, increasing industrial
competitiveness, and finding answers to
society’s biggest challenges.

A brief history of red tape
The EU research programmes have
gradually evolved and grown – first, from
the 1957 Euratom Treaty that began

funding nuclear-power research, and
then from the early 1980s when the
Commission began funding computer
and telecommunications research.
That gradually grew into FP7, the
economy-wide Framework Programme
which, already at an aggregated cost
of €55 billion from 2007-2013, is the
world’s second largest civilian research
programme, after the US National
Institutes of Health.
Pressure for change began rising a
few years ago – in part because of a
confrontation between the Commission
and the main French research agency,
the Centre national de la recherche
scientifique. The Commission tried to
claw back about €20 million in research
grants – not because of any alleged
fraud, but because the CNRS had not
been doing the paperwork the way the
Commission auditors wanted. At the
same time, universities in north-western
Europe – the scientific core of the EU –
began agitating against all the money
they had to spend on staff to understand
and comply with the EU grant rules. The
European Parliament joined the no-redtape bandwagon around 2010.
Heading into this new programme, the
Commission proposed some key changes
to counteract these complaints:

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■■ A simpler overall structure – A
set of three main goals with one
common set of funding rules. The
goals are: promotion excellent
science, industrial competitiveness,
and solutions to society’s biggest
challenges.
■■ Simpler and standardised rules for
reimbursement – This comes as a
proposal for reimbursing research
expenses at one rate for all types of
participants.
■■ Time sheets will be eliminated –
Grantees with full time staff will only
need to certify that the researchers
on a project actually worked the
time they claimed, rather than keep
a time sheet for each one. However,
part-time and occasional workers on
a project still have to keep the time
sheets.
■■ A greater move to online, simplified
forms.
While the Parliament welcomes the
general aspects of these adjustments,
they remain critical of a number of
factors:
■■ A general clause that allows funding
bodies to depart from the single set

16
of rules that is to apply to all funding
bodies
■■ A single funding rate that does not
take the specific cost structures of
different participants into account
■■ No proposal of a single electronic
system or portal to have exchanges
with participants or allow them to
check their financial viability online
■■ No substantial improvement in
shortening the “time-to-grant“
under Horizon 2020
■■ Not doing enough to increase
support for industry partners

Validation
What does the application process today
look like for a typical SME? First, you
have to prove to the Commission that
your company really is small. That is not
as simple as it may sound. Its lawyers
have written a precise definition for that,
and created a series of forms you have to
fill out to prove you meet the definition.
Time for each small company to fill out
the form: Easily, hours and hours. Time
for the Commission to read and process
the forms: Easily hours and hours. In fact,
handling these forms is the job of about
100 Commission staffers. And all this
paperwork is just to prove you are legally
eligible to apply for the grant; whether
you get it is an entirely different review.

To ease this burden on both parties, and
to expedite the process, the Parliament
would like to see the Commission use
records of the unique registration facility
in the Participant Portal used. For entities
that have been validated in previous
framework programmes, no repeated
validation should be necessary, unless
the entity’s legal status has changed or,
in case of SMEs, a company no longer
falls within the SME definition.

Speeding up the process
Along with a more tailored approach
to the programme, there is also a call
from the Parliament to fast forward the
process and bring it in line with the 21st
century by moving more of the processes
online. For example, during FP7, the
‘average time-to-grant’ was around 350
days. For Horizon 2020, the Commission
has promised that they will reduce
this period by about 100 days. For the
Parliament, this is not good enough. The
final ITRE Committee reports stipulate
that time-to-grant should not go beyond
six months. The delay causes particular
difficulty to industry. If Horizon 2020
expects to attract excellent research
partners from all over the world, and to
foster innovation, especially within SMEs,
waiting times must be cut.
Similarly, with time-to-pay, the
Parliament has called on the Commission
to ensure that participants receive
money owed to them within 30 days
of the necessary paperwork being

submitted to the Commission. The
Commission should be required to
notify the project coordinator and
participants of any irregularities or
additional paperwork within two weeks
of the information being submitted to
the Commission. Orchestrating such
expediency shouldn’t come at the cost
of accuracy. The Parliament wants to see
the Commission implement a hierarchical
auditing process to ensure that the
beneficiaries’ auditors comply with an
approved standard and comply with the
auditing requirements of Horizon 2020.

Funding rates
One of the most signalled aspects
of the simplification process within
Horizon 2020 was the announcement
of a common set of funding rules that
would apply across the programme.
This is crucial, since the money for
Horizon 2020 is distributed by a range of
funding bodies. Yet, in its proposal, the
Commission has stated that “a funding
body may establish rules which depart
from those laid down.“ As MEP Christian
Ehler pointed out, “allowing a funding
body to create its own rules contradicts
the idea of a single set of rules“ and
“there needs to be balance between
appropriate flexibility, coherence and
necessary reliability“. If such an action is
taken by a funding body, the Parliament
wants to make it necessary for the
Commission to duly inform the two arms
of the budgetary authority.

Rates: The Commission’s proposal
Research and Development (R&D) Direct costs + flat rate

100% +20%

Close to Market (CtM)

Direct costs + flat rate

70% + 20%

Non-profit entities

Other entities

Source: European Commission

Rates: The Council’s proposal
Type of activity

Research and Development (R&D) 100% + 25%

100% + 25%

Close to Market (CtM)

70% + 25%

100% + 25%

Source: Council of the European Union

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17
European Commission
The Commission has also proposed to
replace FP7’s many reimbursement
rates with two flat rates, one for
research and one for innovative, close
to market, activities, regardless of the
type of participant and not taking into
account indirect costs. Ehler, who is
the rapporteur in charge of guiding
the Horizon 2020 Rule of Participation
through the European Parliament, says
he suggested a different funding model
in his report because the Commission
didn’t provide enough backup for its flat
rate proposal.

Council
In the conclusions of the Partial General
Approach on the Horizon 2020 Rules
for Participation, the Council maintains
the main elements of the Commission’s
proposal, with some changes:
■■ The single flat rate for indirect costs
is conserved but increased. In the
Council’s text indirect eligible costs
are to be determined by applying a
flat rate of 25 per cent of the total
direct eligible costs, compared
to Commission’ and Parliament’s
proposals of 20 per cent.
■■ It maintains a single funding rate,
but it introduces the possibility of a
funding rate of a maximum of 100
per cent of total eligible costs plus
25 per cent flat rate for non-profit
legal entities in close to market
actions, whereas other entities
would be funded at 70 per cent
plus 25 per cent. It differs from the
Commission’s proposal, which sets

the funding rate at a maximum of 70
per cent of the total eligible costs for
close to market actions.
■■ The Council adds that “The
reimbursement rates mentioned
are referred to as maximum in
order to comply with the non-profit
requirement and the co-financing
principle, and to allow participants
to ask for a lower rate. By principle,
the reimbursement rates should
however be 100 or 70%.“

European Parliament
Under the Commission’s proposal, a
university, research institute or company
would get 100 per cent of eligible
direct costs for Horizon 2020 research
project reimbursement. On top of
that, participants would receive a flat
rate of 20 per cent of the total eligible
direct costs, to finance any indirect
costs. According to Ehler, it is more of
a simplification for the Commission,
than it is for the participants. In his final
report, Ehler compared the average
level of EU contribution per action
between FP7 and Horizon 2020, for
the different categories of participants.
According to these calculations, the
proposed 100/20 model would increase
the average reimbursement level for
industry participants (+ 46.8 per cent)
and for SMEs (+ 7.7 per cent), while
leaving non-profit research organisations
(- 0.5 per cent) and universities (- 0.9
per cent) with a slightly lower level of
funding. The application of the 100/20
model would be expected to lead to a
7.2 per cent overall increase of the total
EU contribution per project, the surplus
going mainly to industry participants.

Instead, Ehler is proposing the
reintroduction of an option for
reimbursement of real indirect costs for
all types of participants, based on their
usual accounting practices. He wants to
see reimbursement rates that not only
apply to the type of activity (RD/ CtM), as
currently foreseen, but also by method
of cost calculation (direct costs + flat
rate/ full costs) and type of participant
(universities, research centres, others/
SMEs/industry). The tables illustrate the
differences in approach.
Following the ITRE Committee vote
on 28 November, the Parliament has
a mandate to start the trialogues with
the Commission and the Council. These
negotiations began in 2013 in parallel
with the EU Budget negotiations for
2014-2020. With less paper work,
shorter waiting periods, financing
tailored to their organisational needs,
and a rapid payment system in place,
the promises of Horizon 2020 appear to
indicate that Europe is ready and willing
to rise to the challenge.

Christian Ehler MEP

Rates: Proposal by Christian Ehler MEP
Type of activity

Method of cost calculation

Type of Participation
University/RTOs/SMEs/
Others

Direct eligible costs + flat
rate (Article 24)

100% + 20%

70% + 20%

Full costs (Article 24)

Research & Development
Experimental development

Industry

70%

50%

Source: European Parliament

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18
Doing more to support the backbone of the European economy

Small and medium-sized enterprises are the new darlings of European politicians, and it looks
like they are set to receive a major boost under Horizon 2020

As part of the Commission’s €80 billion, seven-year plan for
research and innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) are slated to receive a much larger share of attention,
accessibility and financing. According to Máire GeogheganQuinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science,
“SMEs are the backbone of the European economy“. The
Commission estimates that SMEs provide around 67 per cent
of jobs and generate 58 per cent of total company turnover in
the European Union.
Aside from the prominent role they play in the European
economy, they are also politically popular. In contrast to the
early days of EU research programs, when mammoth ‘national
champions’ like Philips, Siemens and Alcatel were viewed
as the most important beneficiaries, today most European
politicians would rather be photographed visiting a scrappy
garage start-up that hopes to be the next Apple. Horizon 2020
brings the promise of creating opportunities to SMEs of all
stripes, including those that are high-tech, research driven,
social and service oriented.

has potential for commercialisation and is critical to US
economic priorities. Although, if you read the fine print in the
approximately 600 pages of documentation released by the
Commission, you find the main similarities to be in the kind of
companies targeted, rather than in the programme details of
how they get the money.
Like SBIR, the dedicated SME instrument will cater to SMEs
over the three main phases of the innovation cycle, while
making it simple for them to have a seamless transition from
one phase to the next after a review of progress. It begins with
funding for technical feasibility and proof of concept studies,
and continues to a second phase of funding for development,
prototyping and other demonstration work. In the final phase
of commercialisation, the Commission will not directly fund
work, but will connect SMEs to other programmes could
possibly provide the funding.

The leveraging effect

To help simplify the process, an ‘SME Instrument’ will be
created to finance innovative companies. The idea is to let
SMEs in all fields of science, technology and innovation apply
for funding singly, or in groups. Support coming from this
instrument is designed to cover the entire innovation cycle
from research to market.

Start-ups and SMEs across Europe will also get a boost from
the new Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises
and SMEs (COSME) which has a planned budget of €2.5 billion
or around 0.2 per cent of the total Multiannual Financial
Framework (MFF), dedicated exclusively to SMEs. Compared
with existing EU programmes for SMEs, COSME will take a
more targeted approach, putting more emphasis on access to
finance, including two financial instruments operated by the
European Investment Bank (EIB).

The new instrument is built mostly on the US Small Business
Innovation Research Programme (SBIR) which uses Federal
funds to fill gaps in funding and encourages small domestic
business to engage in research and development which

The Equity Facility for Growth focuses on the expansion and
growth of SMEs and the Loan Guarantee Facility provides loan
guarantees for SME loans up to €150,000. The aim of COSME
is to help small companies grow. “Whenever they are ready

An ‘SME instrument’

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19
to take the steps to grow, there are funding instruments,“
said Antti Peltomäki, deputy director-general for Enterprise
and Industry at the European Commission, adding that his
directorate conducted a public consultation asking SMEs to
identify ten of the most burdensome laws or regulations when
it comes to European research programmes. “We want to do a
‘fitness check’ on legislation to see whether it really is serving
its original purpose or creating a totally undesired situation for
business.“
Stemming from these implementations under COSME,
Horizon 2020 will make use of financial instruments that will
help leverage yet further private research and innovation
investments, including venture capital investments for
innovative, high-tech companies, and in particular SMEs. The
Commission has stated that a total amount of € 3.5 billion is
budgeted for financial instrument facilities, and accompanying
measures, for research and innovation. At least one-third of
this amount will be dedicated to SMEs and small mid-caps. It
is hoped that for every euro provided through the financial
instrument, additional finance of up to €5 will be generated.
While not exclusively for SMEs, these finance mechanisms
are intended to help remedy the lack of venture and growth
capital from private investors in Europe.

The European Parliament’s position on SMEs
under Horizon 2020
Both the Commission and the Parliament are satisfied with the
new programme for SMEs and acknowledge them as the real
engine of innovation in Europe. The programme is designed
to promote a greater role for SMEs in research and innovation

by providing broader and simpler access to funds. Yet, there
still remain a few areas where the Parliament would like to
see certain changes made or certain approaches emphasised.
Whereas the Parliament previously argued for an absolute
minimum of 15 per cent of the budget to go towards SMEs,
the expectation is that now around 20 per cent of the total
combined budget for the specific objective on “Leadership in
enabling and industrial technologies“ and the priority “Societal
challenges“ should go to SMEs via the single dedicated
instrument.
Below is a list of related positions the Parliament has taken:
■■Only SMEs may apply for calls listed under the new SME
instrument.
■■Calls under this instrument should be open calls that
emphasise a bottom-up approach towards the topic.
■■The ‘time-to-grant’ under this instrument should not exceed
six months.
■■Provide SMEs with the ability to apply directly to phase two.
■■A single and dedicated budget linked to this instrument.
■■Free and open access to publications resulting from public
research funded by the program.
■■An ‘Innovation Voucher’ given to SMEs applying directly
to the second phase that would enable them to work
individually or with a research partner of their choice from a
member state or an associated country.

European SME perception of factors
likely limiting business growth between
2011 and 2013

High cost of labour

24%
General economic outlook

46%

Limited demand in
local/domestic markets

30%

Source: Eurostat, European Commission

EU Commissioner Tajani will be overseeing a number of
new SME initiatives
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20
EIT: Bigger budget and higher expectations

Europe is betting big on the EIT - a massive budget increase and an expansion of the number of
Knowledge and Innovation Communities are to provide additional leverage to help tackle some of
the EU’s biggest challenges
EU Commissioner Vassiliou’s department is responsible for the EIT

On current plans, one of the biggest
percentage increases in funding
under Horizon 2020 will go to the
European Institute of Innovation and
Technology, or EIT. It began in 2008
as an EU experiment in trying to get
universities, companies and policy
makers working together to promote
innovation and enterprise. It received a
multi-year budget of €309 million to get
started under the existing Framework
Programme – and had been proposed
by the Commission for an increase to
€2.8 billion.

The difficulty in setting up the first KICs
was “underestimated by all parties,“
according to a Commission submission
to the European Parliament and Council
last year. The submission went on to call
for “clearer guidance“ for future KICs,
more coordination and cross-fertilization
among the KICs, regular evaluation of
the KICs’ progress, a “true EIT ‘corporate
identity’ around a set of shared values,“
and a shrinking of the EIT’s 22-member
Governing Board to 10. Most of these
recommendations have been adopted
already.

Moving forward

The expectation of the EIT under Horizon
2020 is that it moves beyond simply
Today, it has a small headquarters staff
being a sum of its parts, and establishes
in Budapest, from which it supports
itself as a global brand of excellence
three scattered clusters of partners
in innovation. This needs to be done
referred to as Knowledge and Innovation through long-term strategic planning
Communities (KICs) which operate in the and increasingly multi-disciplinary
areas of climate change, energy and ICT. collaboration that serves to foster
The three KICs operate in 12 EU countries not just technological innovation, but
with 206 partners: 66 universities, 53
systems and public sector innovations,
research institutes, 76 business and 11
to increase impact and reshape the
local or regional agencies. It provides a
European innovation landscape.
fourth of the funding for these groups –
According to MEP Marisa Matias, if
with the balance coming from industry
the EIT is to truly become a European
and local or national governments;
institute, it needs to scale up, adopt a
the idea is to leverage EU funding, to
more holistic approach within the grand
get more innovations to market and
challenges and exploit its flexibility to
entrepreneurs on the road.
push for simplification.
With continuing growth, there is an
expectation of tighter management.
BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

The EIT under Horizon 2020
In order to reach such goals over the
next seven years, much will have to be
done on both sides. To start with, the
Parliament is calling for a budget of €3.1
billion if the EIT is to further its work
in closing the gap between research,
education and entrepreneurial activities
by creating more KICs across Europe. The
Parliament has also stressed and added
a few additional points of what needs
to become of the EIT and how it can be
achieved:
■■ Increase the number of KICs to be
created
■■ Create a bottom-up and open
approach in the selection of KICs
■■ Presentation of an annual report by
the EIT Director to the Parliament
■■ Increasing the general involvement
of the Council and the Parliament.
For example, an annual report by
the EIT Director to the Parliament
■■ Establish a “Regional Innovation
Scheme“ for the association of
affiliated co-location centres in
countries which do not host any
co-location centre

21
What the Parliament would
like to see
The Commission has put forward that
the “EIT shall launch the selection and
designation of KICs according to the
priority fields and time schedule defined
in the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA).“
The Parliament would like the EIT to
select in a first wave up to four initial
KICs out of five possible themes. Broadly,
the themes are: healthcare, food, raw
materials, added-value manufacturing,
and urban mobility.

the SIA is too rigid and that the proposed
thematic areas have been selected
prematurely.

The MEPs encourage the EIT to move
beyond its current model of only
selecting KICs once a certain level of
critical mass already has been achieved.
They should designate as many KICs as
financially feasible and whose scope
falls within specific objectives of either
the grand challenges or the “leadership
in key industrial technologies“ pillar of
Horizon 2020, or are at the interface
between those objectives. Furthermore,
In their review of the Commission’s
in the process of designating the KICs,
proposals, MEPs Matias and Philippe
the EIT should take into account that not
Lamberts have encouraged an alternative all KICs would have the same financial
approach. While they acknowledge that
needs, some being more capitalthe EIT should have the autonomy to
intensive than others.
organise future KICs based on general
themes fitting with the grand challenges In line with pushing the EIT to become a
and that this list is neither closed in
global brand of excellence, the reports
terms of theme selection, nor the
from the Parliament also point towards
number of KICs to be established within
a need for an increased role for the
a certain timeframe, they suggest that
Parliament and Council. While it is

BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER
A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020

agreed that “the SIA shall define the
long-term strategy for the EIT within
the EU innovation landscape and shall
include an assessment of its impact
and its capacity to generate innovation
added-value for the Union “, the ITRE
Committee rapporteurs believe that
in order for an enhanced bottom-up
approach and diversity linked with the
grand challenges, it is necessary for
the EIT and Commission to engage in a
yearly dialogue with the Parliament and
Council.
Note to Readers:
Science|Business is a contractor to the EIT.

22
Science|Business is dedicated to helping Europe
innovate. We provide decision makers in the
worlds of research, industry and policy with new
strategies, ideas and contacts to succeed.
We provide solutions to clients seeking better
ways to access the European research and
innovation marketplace and policy world.
MEDIA

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■ We deliver original research and analysis of key
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■ We provide expert knowledge, latest intelligence,
and the inside track to research and innovation
developments across Europe

We link our 30+ university and corporate members
in a high-level network to facilitate deals, develop
strategy, raise their public profiles, and help
communicate the importance of innovation to
Europe’s future.
Academic members of our network include:
Aalto University, Finland
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
ESADE Business School, Spain
ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Imperial College London, UK
INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France
Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
ParisTech (association of 10 Grandes Ecoles), France
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
TU Berlin, Germany
University of Bologna, Italy
University of Cambridge, UK
University College London, UK
University of Leuven - KU Leuven, Belgium
Medical University of Warsaw, Poland, including:
Institute of High Pressure Physics, Poland
Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Poland
University of Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw School of Technology, Poland
University of Warwick, UK
Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
Vlerick Business School, Belgium

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H2020 march2013-v6

  • 1. BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A guide to Europe’s multi-billion Horizon 2020 innovation strategy, and its journey through the EU legislature THIRD EDITION: MARCH 2013
  • 2. Bigger, Simpler, Bolder Third edition of the Science|Business guide to Horizon 2020 March 2013 Project Editor Shane McCollam Words Shane McCollam Richard L. Hudson Peter Koekoek Giulia Biasi Philip Hunt Nuala Moran Gail Edmondson Design Peter Koekoek Pictures European Commission European Parliament Council of the EU BigStockPhotos © 2013 Science Business Publishing Ltd Science|Business 197 rue Belliard box 12 1040 Brussels, Belgium info@sciencebusiness.net Tel: +32 (0 )2304 7577 Fax: +32 (0 )2304 757 WWW.SCIENCEBUSINESS.NET
  • 3. P R E FAC E Politics is always messy – but the politics of research and innovation in Europe has become especially so of late. For the past two years or more, the European Commission, Council and Parliament have been struggling to agree on the fate of Horizon 2020, the EU’s headline plan for research and innovation. Late-night summits, frantic lobbying, bitter infighting – all the usual trappings of European power politics have been on display here in Brussels. If we’re lucky, it will all be over by this Autumn and the first round of funding will begin in January 2014. To put it in perspective: EU funding comprises 5 to 7 per cent (depending on who’s counting) of total European government support for this activity. It will amount to nearly 8 per cent of the total EU budget through the rest of this decade – a distant third in programmatic spending, after the rich pork-barrel budgets of agriculture and regional development. But the political significance has been greater. Will this help the poorer EU countries improve their science and technology base, for economic growth? Will it strengthen Europe’s best research institutions for ever-tougher global competition? Will companies, long-since disillusioned with the Brussels paper chase, return to EU R&D collaborations? These are the questions that we at Science|Business hope to answer in coming years as we follow Horizon 2020 from first idea to final grant. This report, the third edition of our periodic guide, is supplemented by regular updates online at www.sciencebusiness.net. Join us – as readers, members or sponsors – as we try to broaden and inform the debate over Europe’s future. Richard L. Hudson CEO, Science|Business CONTENTS Europe’s new research & innovation plan 4 The Commission proposal 5 The member states weigh in on the budget 7 The European Parliament reacts 9 Horizon 2020 timeline 10 Legislative developments 12 Confronting major issues and bridging gaps in the process 13 Building a programme around simplicity 16 Supporting the backbone of the European economy 19 EIT: Bigger budget and higher expectations 21 BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 3
  • 4. INTRODUCTION Horizon 2020: Europe’s New Research & Innovation Plan The European Union’s new omnibus R&D programme promises less red tape, broader benefits, more jobs and economic growth – but will it deliver? Science|Business follows the journey of Horizon 2020, as the legislation is debated by lawmakers in Brussels and starts to take shape. At a summit on 7 and 8 February 2013, European government leaders agreed on a new budget for the European Union through 2020 – and as part of it, a new plan for research and innovation funding. The heart of it is Horizon 2020, an amalgam of old and new EU programmes to fund research, support tech start-ups and projects, and stimulate more job-creating innovation across Europe. There are many details still to work out, but the ‘indicative’ (in Euro-speak) amount is €70.96 billion – up from about €55 billion in the old seven-year funding plan, but short of the €80 billion the European Commission initially proposed and the €100 billion that many in the European Parliament wanted. This isn’t the final word: The European Parliament is resuming work this Spring on the Horizon 2020 legislation, and the amounts could shift – both the total, and the components. But the on-again, off-again political process of the past two years seems likely to end in something: A timely start of the new programmes by 1 January. By now, we are beginning to see the contours of what research and innovation funding from the EU will look like through the remainder of this decade. ■■It will be fairly large – increasing the financial and political weighting of central, EU funding in European research overall. ■■It will add more of an emphasis on market-facing innovation rather than mainly lab research. ■■It will, within the lab portion, magnify efforts to fund the best science through open competition – chiefly through the European Research Council. ■■Within the innovation portion, it will offer more support to small companies, push to solve so-called Grand Challenges such as climate change and materials shortages, and expand experiments in new forms of publicprivate collaboration – such as public procurement of innovative products and services, and the ‘knowledge triangle’ (industry, research and education) consortia of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. ■■It will strive to be simpler, to stop driving away companies horrified by the old bureaucratic mill that EU funding had become – though whether simplification will really result is the biggest question mark for the rest of the year, as the details in the law and regulation get hammered out. Certainly, the ambitions are big. “A break from the past and an investment in our future“ is what Máire GeogheganQuinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, called the plan in November 2011, when she and two other Commissioners first announced it. The Commission’s intention, she said, is to “support the best research ideas and provide major business opportunities that improve people’s lives.“ And in case that isn’t enough, “we’re slashing red tape,“ she said. Parliament’s response Before Horizon 2020 can kick into action in 2014, the European Parliament and member states represented in the Council of Ministers will have to agree on a final version of the plan. The February 2013 Council meeting dealt only with the broader, EU-wide budget framework; a separate meeting is planned for this Spring on Horizon 2020 itself. Meanwhile, the European Parliament, which is becoming increasingly assertive in exercising its powers as part of the EU legislature, had released six reports from members of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE). The reports, which propose some significant changes from the Commission plan, sparked a fresh round of debate about the size and shape of Europe’s next framework programme. Those debates will be resolved in various Parliamentary votes into the Autumn. This Science|Business guide provides insight into the Commission’s vision for Europe’s new innovation funding plan, and gives a clear indication of the themes that will dominate the debate until Parliament and Council will sign Horizon 2020 into law – which they are expected to do in the summer of 2013. The proposal is “part of an exit strategy from the (economic) crisis,“ said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth. The series of EU announcements in 2011 provided many - but not all - of the details expected since the Commission first announced its broad, economy-driven ‘Innovation Union’ strategy in October 2010. BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 4
  • 5. Horizon 2020: The Commission proposal Big and bold: A look at some of the most striking features of the Commission’s 2011 proposal EU Commissioners Tajani, Geoghegan-Quinn and Vassiliou unveil Horizon 2020 to the press in 2011 On 30 November 2011, a bit of political theatre took place to show Brussels at its best and worst. Not one, but three commissioners (Geoghegan-Quinn, Vassilliou and Antonio Tajani) vied to claim credit with the press – reflecting the months of internal argument among their respective directorates over who does what in the new plan. A barrage of interest groups, from university to corporate lobbyist, fired off pre-written press statements based on leaked versions of the plan that had been circulating, in numerous drafts, around Brussels for many months. A set of 11th-hour changes, ordered by the Commission, delayed the release of all the documentation. Since then, the Council of Ministers ordered some changes in the way Horizon 2020 will work, but the main outlines of the legislation facing the Parliament now are broadly similar. The biggest change is in the total budget envelope – the €70.96 billion agreed by the Council, rather than the €80 billion proposed by the Commission. How that cut will be distributed among the various programmes is not yet agreed – but as of March 2013, the rough-and-ready plan inside the Commission was simply to trim each individual budget line by about the same percentage. So the numbers presented here are from the original, uncut Horizon 2020 proposal; the final numbers will be the subject of intense lobbying during 2013. The main outlines of the Commission proposal: ■■ A 77 per cent jump to €13.2 billion for the basic-science European Research Council. The agency, modelled on the US National Science Foundation’s no-politics method of awarding research grants based on scientific peer-review panels, has won wide praise for funding ‘excellence’ in science since it began in 2007. But even with the increase, annual grants by the ERC would be only about a third as much as at the NSF. And there has been some political backlash in eastern and southern Europe because most of the ERC grants to date have gone to science-rich north western Europe. The Commission’s responses include several measures to reverse the brain drain from the poorer countries, including creation of ‘ERA Chairs’, funding special professorships to recruit “outstanding academics to BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 institutions with a clear potential for research excellence.“ ■■ €5.75 billion for the Marie Curie Actions that provide opportunities to excellent researchers, such as fellowships and the possibility to gain experience abroad and in the private sector. In a further, typical Brussels act of political outreach, the Commission added the great scientist’s Polish maiden name to the programme’s title, rather than her French surname alone: Marie Sklowdoska Curie. (Similarly, in a nod to Italy, EU Vice-President Antonio Tajani said a set of smallcompany support programmes is to be named COSME, after the Renaissance merchant-prince, Cosimo de’ Medici, whom he somewhat anachronistically called an “entrepreneur.“) ■■ A Small Business Innovation Research programme - modelled partly on established UK and US initiatives - becomes part of a drive to mobilize more small and mediumsized companies to participate in the EU programmes. In all, Tajani said, up to 15 per cent of the budget is earmarked for SMEs. The 5
  • 6. plan includes providing SBIR seed funding, which SMEs can apply for singly rather than in the usual EU coalitions, and then helping connect them to the European Investment Bank and other public and private funders for expansion capital. A set of company-support efforts presently in the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme gets a new name (COSME) and a bigger budget (€2.5 billion). The expected impact: 39,000 firms a year assisted, creating 29,500 jobs and 900 new business products or services. ■■ An eye-popping rise, from €309 million to €2.8 billion, for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. This Budapestbased organisation is a new EU model for getting industrialists, researchers and educators working together in specific sectors – so far, energy, climate change and ICT. The plan, though less than the €4 billion originally sought by the agency, would permit it to add six more sectoral groups by 2020, in healthcare, food, raw materials, advanced manufacturing, security and urban mobility. The full expansion would be contingent on a mid-term review confirming the EIT is working properly. The objectives include 600 new companies started, and 25,000 masters and 10,000 PhD students trained by 2020. ■■ The biggest chunk of the budget, or €31.7 billion, will go to ‘Societal Challenges’ – a set of hot-button social and environmental issues that have risen high on the political agenda across Europe over the past five years. These are healthcare for an ageing population, food security, clean and secure energy, smart and green transport, climate action and resource efficiency, and inclusive and secure societies. The Commission left some details of these efforts to be filled in by the member states and groups that want to propose solutions. Indeed, the Commission claims that the whole Horizon 2020 programme will be more flexible than its past research plans – which could not adapt quickly to changing political priorities. ■■ A further political issue appears likely to involve human embryonic stem cell research, which heavily Catholic Poland in particular has opposed; on that point, GeogheganQuinn said the Commission won’t fund any research in a country if the project’s subject or ethics are contrary to the laws in that country. ■■ The future of ITER, a major international fusion-energy plant in Cadarache, France, will be in play; ITER, which long ago sailed past its original budget estimates, may end up competing with the separate Horizon 2020 budget. ■■ The plan may also prompt a collision among many of the EU’s major constituencies. In the same time frame, the EU will be arguing over reform of its most expensive programme, the Common Agriculture Policy: the Commission included in Horizon 2020 a big rise in food and soil research to buy support from France, Hungary and other CAP supporters – but a budget clash appears likely, anyway. ■■ The Commission is proposing more active channelling towards innovation of Structural Funds – a type of regional development funding that most member states jealously guard as their own prerogative to control, not the Commission’s. Commission proposal for the ‘three priorities’ Societal challenges €31.7B Excellent science €24.6B Industrial leadership €17.9B Health, demographic change and wellbeing European Research Council Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies Food security, sustainable Future and Emerging agriculture, marine and maritime Technologies research & the bioeconomy Access to risk finance Secure, clean and efficient energy Marie Curie actions Innovation in SMEs Smart, green and integrated transport Research infrastructure Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials Inclusive, innovation and secure societies Source: European Commission BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 6
  • 7. The Member States weigh in on the Horizon 2020 debate What impact will the European Council’s political horestrading have on Europe’s next research and innovation programme? Heads of state and government arrive in Brussels in February 2013 During their meeting on 7-8 February 2013, European heads of state and government reached agreement on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which will set spending for the EU’s programmes from 2014 to 2020. This covers everything the European Commission will do over the seven years: subsidising farmers, funding development projects, paying its own staff – and funding research and innovation programmes. The European Council agreed to commitments of up to €960 billion, with actual payments of €908 billion, both representing significant cuts compared to the Commission’s original proposal of €1033 billion commitment appropriations and €987 billion payment appropriations. Not surprisingly, that overall cut will have an impact on the research and innovation programmes – but exactly how much is still under debate. The European Council concluded that the Union’s budget will play a fundamental role in helping Europe to face the new challenges raised by the economic and financial crisis. From this there is a need to mobilise spending for programmes intended to boost growth, employment, competitiveness and convergence to contribute to the fulfilment of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Compared to the Commission’s proposal for Smart and Inclusive Growth, there is a cut – to €450.763 from €494.763 million. But compared to how much it spent in the prior planning period, from 2007 to 2013, there is an increase of €35 billion, or nearly 40 per cent, in the budget line for Competitiveness for Growth and Jobs – Sub-heading 1a, in Brussels jargon. This includes programmes like Erasmus for All, to fund formal and non-formal learning activities, open to all learners and trainers, the Connecting Europe Facility to improve network infrastructure across the EU, and Horizon 2020. BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 The European Council concluded that there is a critical need to reinforce and extend the excellence of the Union’s science base. All policies will aim to increase competitiveness and particular attention will be paid to the coordination of activities funded through Horizon 2020 with those supported under other Union programmes, including through cohesion policy. Budget lines Of the total, €125 billion is dedicated to sub-heading 1a, on growth and competitiveness. In terms of budget, the MFF conclusions do not provide any specific figures for how much of that goes to fund R&D. According to Michael Jennings, a spokesman for Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, the final figure expected for Horizon 2020 is €70.96 billion. This represents a net increase on the €55 billion of its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), but it is still well short of the European Commission’s proposed budget for the programme of €80 billion. By yet another measure, annual budgets, it is a very slight cut in funding. The spending in FP7 rose steeply in the course of the seven years – to nearly €11 billion in 2013; thus 2014 would start with slightly less than 2013. In the weeks preceding the February summit, Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, called on MEPs to lobby their governments on Horizon 2020 funding. “In general the individual member states are very supportive of Horizon 2020 and innovation and R&D as being where growth and jobs come from,“ Geoghegan-Quinn said, but “when they come to the collective table“ the story is different. Speaking to MEPs she stated that even a small cut of €1 billion from the proposed €80 billion programme would have a big impact. “It would mean 600 SMEs are not taking part in projects,“ Geoghegan- 7
  • 8. Sub-heading 1a - Competitiveness for growth and jobs 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 15 605 16 321 16 726 17 693 18 490 19 700 21 079 Source: European Commission (Million euros, 2011 prices) Quinn said, adding, “Research and innovation have the potential to release investment and investors need to know there is a stable platform.“ Many member states are cutting national R&D budgets and as a result will be increasingly dependent on EU funding to maintain their research efforts. Contrary to the fears of some leading industrialists and academics in the weeks preceding the European Council’s meeting, the €71 billion total does not include the €12.8 billion allocated to the three major infrastructure projects of the global positioning system Galileo, the ITER fusion project and the earth observation system Copernicus (formerly GMES). These funds – €6.3 billion for Galileo, €2.7 billion for ITER and € 3.8 billion for Copernicus – fall outside the Horizon 2020 budget. The basic structure of the Commission’s proposal as well as some innovative instruments have been preserved, including the creation of a Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), with an allocated budget of €29.3 billion. Ryan Heath, spokesman for the Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes, confirmed to Science|Business that the CEF budget is ringfenced separately from the Horizon 2020 budget. The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, speaking at the European Parliament, affirmed that although the agreed amount is considerably below what the Commission recommended (€50 billion), it is still well above what exists under the current period for the trans-European networks. In the case of transport, the amount will increase from €8.5 billion in the current period to more than €23 billion in the next period. And, for the first time, there will be €5 billion to invest in energy infrastructure at the European level. Out of the total €30 billion dedicated to Connecting Europe, just €1 billion will be allocated to telecommunications, a major cut compared to the Commission’s proposal, which had originally proposed €9 billion, then €7 billion for this area to fund the expansion of Europe-wide broadband and digital services such as e-procurement and e-invoicing. “Seven billion euros would have enabled us to leverage up to €70 billion into broadband with outside investment,“ said Heath. “That 70 will become zero thanks to the decision. Now there’s no money for broadband, so yes, we are disappointed.“ In a post on her blog, Vice-President Neelie Kroes wrote “because broadband is essential for a digital single market, the rails on which all tomorrow’s digital services will run; and this could have been an innovative and highly-market oriented way to deliver it, almost budget-neutral in the long run“. However, she acknowledged that “this budget can still be a catalyst for growth and jobs, and a tool to boost our competitiveness. The significantly increased investment that Horizon 2020 will be making in EU research and innovation, including in the field of ICT, is a very vivid illustration of that. This is investing in tomorrow’s growth; and by acting at European scale we can ensure research and its benefits spread as widely as possible, including across borders.“ Total R&D appropriations in euros per inhabitant - 2011 Source: Eurostat, European Commission BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 8
  • 9. European Parliament reaction: the real negotiations will start now MEPs and member states will have to reach a deal before Horizon 2020 can become law European Parliament’s President Martin Schulz affirmed the negotiated budget represents “the most backward-looking Multiannual Financial Framework in the history of the Union“. In his budget proposal, the European Parliament allocated €100 billion to Horizon 2020 to invest in those sectors where Europe has a great potential such as research and development, education and training. Similarly, MEPs said “We cannot accept a budget based solely on the priorities of the past. We must maintain support for future-oriented policies, strengthening European competitiveness and research.“ Following the announcement of the agreement on budget negotiations, the four biggest groupings of MEPs issued an immediate statement, saying they will not accept the MFF as presented, and some are organising a secret ballot on the budget (permissible if over one-fifth of members ask for it) in order to better resist the influence of the Council. They emphasised that the Parliament’s ambition is to promote growth and investment in the EU, and that this agreement will not strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy but weaken it. “The European Parliament cannot accept today’s deal in the European Council as it is. We regret that Mr. Van Rompuy did not talk and negotiate with us in the last months. The real negotiations will start now with the European Parliament,“ said a group of prominent MEPs in a joint statement on behalf of three leading political parties in the Parliament, the centre-right, the liberals and the Greens. But a fourth party, the European Conservatives and Reformists group led by British MEPs, is opposed to holding a secret ballot. Martin Callanan, the ERC group leader, argued that MEPs must be accountable to their electors on the vote. He concludes: “If this Parliament decides to go to war with the Council then we will all suffer.“ Thus, this could turn into a major test of the Parliament’s independence from national governments – and already, many prominent MEPs are casting the issue in those high-stakes terms. One of the most disturbing possible outcomes is the likelihood of substantial delay following a political stand-off between the European Council and the Parliament. Should MEPs stand firm on their stated decision to reject the MFF as it stands now, the result will be months of uncertainty about European research spending. Even if the Parliament does not block the deal, the earliest BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 the Council will come back to Horizon 2020 specifics will be late spring – and it could be into the autumn before all the dust settles. Inside the Commission, the expectation is that all the programmes comprising Horizon 2020 will share equally in the cut from the original proposal – and the internal planning has been operating for some months under that assumption. “How the Horizon 2020 money will be allocated between the three pillars and different research priorities, we do not know yet,“ said MEP Edit Herczog of the ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) committee of the Parliament, rapporteur for the MFF. “The research community needs to stay loud. Your opinions are important – you need to make yourselves heard in the coming months, too. The competition for this money will just become tougher and tougher until the final decisions are made.“ If the MFF becomes a game of political football between the two institutions, the resulting back and forth could go on until the autumn, and it could be the end of the year before budget decisions are finalised. Horizon 2020’s start date of 1 January 2014 is looking increasingly precarious. 9
  • 10. Horizon 2020 Timeline 30 November 2011 European Commission adopts Horizon 2020 package. Beginning of negotiations between the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. January 2012 The European Parliament (ITRE committee) appoints rapporteurs for the Horizon 2020 dossier. 10 October 2012 Council reaches partial general approaches on the EIT regulation and on the rules for participation and dissemination in Horizon 2020. July 2012 MEPs release a number of draft reports proposing amendments to the Commission’s Horizon 2020 plan 2012 Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar 5-6 December 2011 Commission presents Horizon 2020 to Council of Ministers BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 Apr May Jun 31 May 2012 Council reaches partial general approach on the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov 28 November 2012 ITRE Committee presents the final reports on Horizon 2020 with amendments to the Commission’s proposals. 10 D
  • 11. 11 December 2012 Council reached partial general approaches on the Specific Programme implementing Horizon 2020 and on the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) of the EIT. 7-8 February 2013 European Council agreement on long term budget (MFF) End 2013 Adoption of Horizon 2020 legislative acts by Parliament and Council Spring 2013 Parliament votes on Horizon 2020 in plenary session 2013 Dec Jan 2014 Feb January 2013 Start of ‘trialogue’ meetings between European Parliament, Commission and Council Mar Apr May March 2013 European Parliament votes on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan 1 January 2014 Horizon 2020 starts; launch of first calls 11
  • 12. A round-up of major research developments and initiatives that will affect Horizon 2020 A look at some of the other research funding and policy initiative that will complement the final Horizon 2020 package After four decades, 2012 finally saw the dawn of a single European patent The long-awaited single European patent will become a reality on 1 January 2014, after the Council and the European Parliament endorsed a compromise deal in December 2012. but only if they are approved under the law of the member state where the research takes place – defeating a proposal to ban stem cell research by a small group of conservative MEPs. Two biggest research projects in EU history get €2B go-ahead The two winners of the biggest basic research grants in EU history – with €54 The promise is that the new patent million for starters in 2013 alone - have will be cheaper and more effective in been guaranteed the funding will be protecting inventions, with one patent grant providing protection in 25 member maintained over ten years regardless of any cuts to the EU’s overall R&D programme. states, patent languages limited to English, French and German (in line with the European Patent Office system), and The Future and Emerging Technologies a single court to deal with disputes. (FET) Flagships on Graphene and the Human Brain will also be the most There is a long bedding-down process, collaborative projects ever funded by the with a transition period of 12 years to EU, with Graphene involving 126 academic move from the existing system, in which and industrial groups in 17 countries, while a patent granted by the European Patent the Human Brain Project is comprised of 87 Office in Munich must then be translated organisations in 23 countries, of which 16 into the language of any country in are in the EU. which it is to have effect, to the new three language system. When it is up The two Flagships will get €54 million from to speed the estimate is that a patent the European Commission’s ICT 2013 Work granted under the unitary scheme will programme to get off the ground, with the cost €4,725, compared to the European majority of the remaining funding coming Commission’s current estimate of the from Horizon 2020. average cost, which stands at €36,000. A Commission spokesman told Science|Business the contracts for the A tipping point for two FET Flagships cannot be signed until personalised healthcare the overall budget for the EU from 2014 – 2020, the Multiannual Financial Framework The European Medicines Agency, at the is agreed – and with it the budget for fourth time of asking, decided this year Horizon 2020. to recommend approval of the first gene therapy, opening up a new era in the Space, Europe’s final frontier? treatment of rare diseases, and unlocking the wider potential of such therapies. Meanwhile, in the US, the trigger for the While other pan-European science projects widespread and systematic deployment face an uncertain future, the European of personalised healthcare was pulled in Space Agency (ESA) concluded a successful early 2012 with the announcement of a two-day council meeting at which ministers desktop machine that can sequence an from ESA’s 20 member states and Canada individual’s genome at a price of $1,000. agreed to allocate €10 billion for ESA’s activities and programmes from 2013 – MEPs voted to maintain the current EU 2017. rules on stem cell research, this means that projects using human embryonic While this was €2 billion less than hoped stem cells can be funded with EU money, for, it represented a welcome, uncluttered BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 conclusion at a time of austerity, when the national governments that fund ESA directly are cutting spending elsewhere. The investment will be focused on fields which ESA claims have high growth potential or with a direct and immediate impact on the economy, such as telecommunications and meteorology. Push for a more bottom-up approach and increased public procurement One key boost for innovative start-ups and SMEs in Europe is likely to come from increased public procurement of innovation from smaller and mediumsized companies. Malcolm Harbour MEP (ECR-UK), Chairman of the Committee on Internal Markets and Consumer Protection in the European Parliament, is spearheading a movement to get government agencies to spend a greater slice of the EU’s €2.3 trillion procurement budget on innovative products. With a government contract in hand, a small company has greater credibility with investors and can leverage the contract to obtain more private funding. “Public procurement has immense power. We have to make sure the [European] legal framework is simple, easy to operate and encourages good innovative procurement – and doesn’t discourage it,” Harbour says. The US government has been using public procurement to drive innovation for years, setting fixed quotas for government offices and agencies. But until now, Europe has failed to embrace the practice on a large scale. “It’s an idea whose time has come,” said Harbour. “We are searching for ways to make innovation-based companies grow very quickly – at a time when markets are weak and lenders are reassessing risk.” 12
  • 13. Confronting the major issues facing Europe and bridging gaps in the process Adjusting the Horizon 2020 proposals to solve major societal challenges while bridging the gap between the EU’s wealthier and less-developed member states The European Parliament in Brussels Along with growing Europe’s innovative communities and capabilities, solving the grand challenges facing the Union is at the core of the Horizon 2020 strategy. To add structure to this approach, the budget for Horizon 2020 has been divided into three main priorities: Societal challenges, industrial leadership and excellent science. Each was selected on the premise that they are too big for any one country to handle by itself and that such categories also enable a better-organised and holistic approach in the distribution of funding. Teresa Madurell, member of the European Parliament and rapporteur for the ITRE Committee, wrote in her final report, “Horizon 2020 contributes directly to tackling the major societal challenges identified in Europe 2020 and its flagship initiatives. It will contribute equally to creating industrial leadership in Europe. It will also increase excellence in the science base, essential for the sustainability and long-term prosperity and well-being of Europe.“ While there has been general approval of the themes selected, three particular changes were put forward by the Parliament to ensure that the budget is able to maximise its potential in addressing these challenges: ■■ Establishment of ‘Sectoral Steering Boards’ composed of independent experts who will help define the research and innovation agenda for each societal challenge. ■■ A minimum of 15 per cent of the societal challenges budget should prioritise bottom-up research calls with no pre-defined topic. BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 ■■ Creating a new and separate security challenge called “Protecting Freedom and Security in Europe“. Given the broad range of themes, both MEPs Madurell and Maria Da Graça Carvalho say it is necessary to establish boards “composed of relevant stakeholders from academia, industry, end-users and civil society of the highest repute and appropriate expertise, ensuring a diversity of all sectors and research areas concerned.“ Assuming the measure is adopted and such boards are created, their purpose would be to serve as advisors to the Commission on overall strategy, possibilities for coordination, independent oversight and possibly to assist in coordinating activities around the priority areas of Horizon 2020. Solving the grand challenges together Both the Commission and the Parliament have acknowledged that there are significant regional disparities across Europe in research and innovation performance which need to be addressed. They both want to adopt measures to unlock excellence and innovation and will be distinct, complementary and synergistic with policies and actions of the Cohesion. Currently, a large portion of the EU R&D funding ends up in the wealthier member states, like the UK, France and Germany. This is often a source of contention between less-developed, newer, member states and the richer countries in the north and west of Europe, which have so far resisted calls to create geographic quotas. “It is not only the well-established institutes that put out excellent research,“ Carvalho pointed out to Science|Business. As the Parliamentary rapporteur for 13
  • 14. The leaders of some of Europe’s wealthier countries discuss the EU budget during one of many ‘bilateral meetings’ that took place during the February 2012 gathering of EU heads of state and government. From left to right: Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte; UK prime minister David Cameron; Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. the “Specific Programme Implementing Horizon 2020“, she is responsible for formulating the Parliament’s amendments to the Commission’s legislative proposal and leads the formal discussion of the Parliament’s position with research ministers in the Council, and with the European Commission. In their review of the Commission report, Carvalho and Madurell argue that while the two programmes have different objectives, “Horizon 2020 and the Cohesion Policy are extremely important to reach the objectives of Europe 2020, and as such, synergies and complementary agendas between them are essential.“ These synergies are explained as bridges that are to be built in both directions, thus linking the two programmes. In practice, these bridges are to be made up of a number of programmes that are complementary and create interoperability between the two funding schemes. Taking the next steps In creating synergies and pushing for greater coordination, the Parliament has placed emphasis on a number of objectives: ■■Establishing ‘European Research Area Chairs’ to attract outstanding academics. ■■Providing a ‘seal of excellence’ for positively evaluated project proposals that have not been able to achieve funding because of budgetary limitations. ■■An online IPR marketplace where intellectual property can be advertised in order to bring together the owners and users of IPR. ■■In addition to an enhanced role for bottom-up research, the guiding principle of excellence is expected to bolster BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 what already exists in the European research and innovation communities via consolidation and complementary activities. ■■“Spreading excellence and widening participation“ is the title under which it is expected that Horizon 2020 can increase the competitiveness of Europe by means of social, territorial and economic cohesion. ■■Attributing “Return Grants“ to excellent researchers currently working outside of Europe and who wish to work in Europe, or to researchers already working in Europe who wish to move to a less-performing region. ERA Chairs and a twinning scheme To start building these bridges, a pilot call was launched in December 2012, with no pre-defined priority areas and is open to a university or research organisation located in one of the convergence regions identified in the FP7 Research Potential Work Programme for 2012-2013. ERA Chairs will be awarded to universities and research organisations in less-developed regions in Europe in order to attract outstanding academics to help close the research and innovation divide within Europe. It is anticipated that this will permit selected institutions to develop, in a particular field, the level of excellence required to successfully compete internationally and effectively widen participation. The European Commission should allow universities in richer countries and those in less-developed member states to team up and apply for Horizon 2020 funding together. This would be a “win-win situation,“ Carvalho said, allowing a less-developed institution to benefit from the expertise and good name of its more-renowned counterpart, which would in turn have 14
  • 15. the benefit of attracting excellent students from its partner, and an increase in scientific publications. Carvalho has firsthand experience of such partnerships from when she was a researcher from the Technical University of Lisbon working at Imperial College London. The collaboration was beneficial for both institutions, she said. It also spurred further development of Portugal’s R&D system, since after Imperial College, Carvalho went on to become a professor in Lisbon and later held the post of science, innovation and higher education minister in the Portuguese government under then prime minister, José Manuel Barroso. In addition to the creation of new programmes designed to bridge the divide between Horizon 2020 and Structural Funds, there is also an expectation that independent committees and the Parliament will have more say in decision making through annual reviews. There has also been a call for the creation of dedicated Sectoral Steering Boards, made up of independent high-level experts, to contribute by defining research and innovation programmes, and address fragmentation in each of the societal challenges. In her report, Carvalho argues that EU funding for Research and Innovation is of key significance and should be exploited for leverage. Horizon 2020 should attract additional financing from the Structural Funds, the European Investment Bank and from the private sector, something that supposes adopting a multi-fund approach. She notes that the interoperability between the instruments of Horizon 2020 and the structural funds should be enhanced. This would mean orchestrating compatible rules and procedures; coherent application formats and evaluation criteria; common entry points; synchronising priority setting through smart specialisation and using common cost definitions and other administrative and financial criteria. It would also involve synchronised roadmaps and administrative cycles including, for example, the need to respect the academic calendar, especially for universities. Maria Da Graça Carvalho MEP Contribution Vs. Participation Country EU contribution in millions of euros by country 20072011 Country # of participants in FP7 by country 2007-2011 PT, IE, EE, LV, LT, PL, CZ, BG, CY, LU, MT, RO, HU, SI, SK, < €300M EE, LV, LT, MT, CY, BG, SI, SK, LU < 500 FI, DK, EL €300M-€500M IE, CZ, HU, RO 0.5-1K SE, BE, AT €500M-€1B FI, PL, AT, EL, PT, DK 1-2K ES, NL, IT €1B-€2B ES, SE, BE, NL 2-5K UK, DE, FR > €2B DE, UK, FR, IT > 5K Source: European Commission BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 15
  • 16. Building a programme around simplicity Will Horizon 2020 be able to avoid the bureaucratic madness that is often associated with its predecessors? Of all the new initiatives being introduced under Horizon 2020, the aim for simplification has become its centrepiece. Couple this with the fact that one of the main focuses of this new framework programme is the targeting of SMEs, and it is easy to see why the hours and hours of paperwork that plagued previous framework programmes needed to be cut drastically if this one were to be considered a success from the perspective of its applicants. In rising to this challenge, the Commission has made a set of changes that aims to allow and encourage a broader and larger range of organisations to participate in open calls, with the promise that they will be met by a simpler and more efficient process. The entire structure of the programme has also been simplified and shaped towards three main goals: promoting excellent science, increasing industrial competitiveness, and finding answers to society’s biggest challenges. A brief history of red tape The EU research programmes have gradually evolved and grown – first, from the 1957 Euratom Treaty that began funding nuclear-power research, and then from the early 1980s when the Commission began funding computer and telecommunications research. That gradually grew into FP7, the economy-wide Framework Programme which, already at an aggregated cost of €55 billion from 2007-2013, is the world’s second largest civilian research programme, after the US National Institutes of Health. Pressure for change began rising a few years ago – in part because of a confrontation between the Commission and the main French research agency, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique. The Commission tried to claw back about €20 million in research grants – not because of any alleged fraud, but because the CNRS had not been doing the paperwork the way the Commission auditors wanted. At the same time, universities in north-western Europe – the scientific core of the EU – began agitating against all the money they had to spend on staff to understand and comply with the EU grant rules. The European Parliament joined the no-redtape bandwagon around 2010. Heading into this new programme, the Commission proposed some key changes to counteract these complaints: BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 ■■ A simpler overall structure – A set of three main goals with one common set of funding rules. The goals are: promotion excellent science, industrial competitiveness, and solutions to society’s biggest challenges. ■■ Simpler and standardised rules for reimbursement – This comes as a proposal for reimbursing research expenses at one rate for all types of participants. ■■ Time sheets will be eliminated – Grantees with full time staff will only need to certify that the researchers on a project actually worked the time they claimed, rather than keep a time sheet for each one. However, part-time and occasional workers on a project still have to keep the time sheets. ■■ A greater move to online, simplified forms. While the Parliament welcomes the general aspects of these adjustments, they remain critical of a number of factors: ■■ A general clause that allows funding bodies to depart from the single set 16
  • 17. of rules that is to apply to all funding bodies ■■ A single funding rate that does not take the specific cost structures of different participants into account ■■ No proposal of a single electronic system or portal to have exchanges with participants or allow them to check their financial viability online ■■ No substantial improvement in shortening the “time-to-grant“ under Horizon 2020 ■■ Not doing enough to increase support for industry partners Validation What does the application process today look like for a typical SME? First, you have to prove to the Commission that your company really is small. That is not as simple as it may sound. Its lawyers have written a precise definition for that, and created a series of forms you have to fill out to prove you meet the definition. Time for each small company to fill out the form: Easily, hours and hours. Time for the Commission to read and process the forms: Easily hours and hours. In fact, handling these forms is the job of about 100 Commission staffers. And all this paperwork is just to prove you are legally eligible to apply for the grant; whether you get it is an entirely different review. To ease this burden on both parties, and to expedite the process, the Parliament would like to see the Commission use records of the unique registration facility in the Participant Portal used. For entities that have been validated in previous framework programmes, no repeated validation should be necessary, unless the entity’s legal status has changed or, in case of SMEs, a company no longer falls within the SME definition. Speeding up the process Along with a more tailored approach to the programme, there is also a call from the Parliament to fast forward the process and bring it in line with the 21st century by moving more of the processes online. For example, during FP7, the ‘average time-to-grant’ was around 350 days. For Horizon 2020, the Commission has promised that they will reduce this period by about 100 days. For the Parliament, this is not good enough. The final ITRE Committee reports stipulate that time-to-grant should not go beyond six months. The delay causes particular difficulty to industry. If Horizon 2020 expects to attract excellent research partners from all over the world, and to foster innovation, especially within SMEs, waiting times must be cut. Similarly, with time-to-pay, the Parliament has called on the Commission to ensure that participants receive money owed to them within 30 days of the necessary paperwork being submitted to the Commission. The Commission should be required to notify the project coordinator and participants of any irregularities or additional paperwork within two weeks of the information being submitted to the Commission. Orchestrating such expediency shouldn’t come at the cost of accuracy. The Parliament wants to see the Commission implement a hierarchical auditing process to ensure that the beneficiaries’ auditors comply with an approved standard and comply with the auditing requirements of Horizon 2020. Funding rates One of the most signalled aspects of the simplification process within Horizon 2020 was the announcement of a common set of funding rules that would apply across the programme. This is crucial, since the money for Horizon 2020 is distributed by a range of funding bodies. Yet, in its proposal, the Commission has stated that “a funding body may establish rules which depart from those laid down.“ As MEP Christian Ehler pointed out, “allowing a funding body to create its own rules contradicts the idea of a single set of rules“ and “there needs to be balance between appropriate flexibility, coherence and necessary reliability“. If such an action is taken by a funding body, the Parliament wants to make it necessary for the Commission to duly inform the two arms of the budgetary authority. Rates: The Commission’s proposal Research and Development (R&D) Direct costs + flat rate 100% +20% Close to Market (CtM) Direct costs + flat rate 70% + 20% Non-profit entities Other entities Source: European Commission Rates: The Council’s proposal Type of activity Research and Development (R&D) 100% + 25% 100% + 25% Close to Market (CtM) 70% + 25% 100% + 25% Source: Council of the European Union BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 17
  • 18. European Commission The Commission has also proposed to replace FP7’s many reimbursement rates with two flat rates, one for research and one for innovative, close to market, activities, regardless of the type of participant and not taking into account indirect costs. Ehler, who is the rapporteur in charge of guiding the Horizon 2020 Rule of Participation through the European Parliament, says he suggested a different funding model in his report because the Commission didn’t provide enough backup for its flat rate proposal. Council In the conclusions of the Partial General Approach on the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation, the Council maintains the main elements of the Commission’s proposal, with some changes: ■■ The single flat rate for indirect costs is conserved but increased. In the Council’s text indirect eligible costs are to be determined by applying a flat rate of 25 per cent of the total direct eligible costs, compared to Commission’ and Parliament’s proposals of 20 per cent. ■■ It maintains a single funding rate, but it introduces the possibility of a funding rate of a maximum of 100 per cent of total eligible costs plus 25 per cent flat rate for non-profit legal entities in close to market actions, whereas other entities would be funded at 70 per cent plus 25 per cent. It differs from the Commission’s proposal, which sets the funding rate at a maximum of 70 per cent of the total eligible costs for close to market actions. ■■ The Council adds that “The reimbursement rates mentioned are referred to as maximum in order to comply with the non-profit requirement and the co-financing principle, and to allow participants to ask for a lower rate. By principle, the reimbursement rates should however be 100 or 70%.“ European Parliament Under the Commission’s proposal, a university, research institute or company would get 100 per cent of eligible direct costs for Horizon 2020 research project reimbursement. On top of that, participants would receive a flat rate of 20 per cent of the total eligible direct costs, to finance any indirect costs. According to Ehler, it is more of a simplification for the Commission, than it is for the participants. In his final report, Ehler compared the average level of EU contribution per action between FP7 and Horizon 2020, for the different categories of participants. According to these calculations, the proposed 100/20 model would increase the average reimbursement level for industry participants (+ 46.8 per cent) and for SMEs (+ 7.7 per cent), while leaving non-profit research organisations (- 0.5 per cent) and universities (- 0.9 per cent) with a slightly lower level of funding. The application of the 100/20 model would be expected to lead to a 7.2 per cent overall increase of the total EU contribution per project, the surplus going mainly to industry participants. Instead, Ehler is proposing the reintroduction of an option for reimbursement of real indirect costs for all types of participants, based on their usual accounting practices. He wants to see reimbursement rates that not only apply to the type of activity (RD/ CtM), as currently foreseen, but also by method of cost calculation (direct costs + flat rate/ full costs) and type of participant (universities, research centres, others/ SMEs/industry). The tables illustrate the differences in approach. Following the ITRE Committee vote on 28 November, the Parliament has a mandate to start the trialogues with the Commission and the Council. These negotiations began in 2013 in parallel with the EU Budget negotiations for 2014-2020. With less paper work, shorter waiting periods, financing tailored to their organisational needs, and a rapid payment system in place, the promises of Horizon 2020 appear to indicate that Europe is ready and willing to rise to the challenge. Christian Ehler MEP Rates: Proposal by Christian Ehler MEP Type of activity Method of cost calculation Type of Participation University/RTOs/SMEs/ Others Direct eligible costs + flat rate (Article 24) 100% + 20% 70% + 20% Full costs (Article 24) Research & Development Experimental development Industry 70% 50% Source: European Parliament BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 18
  • 19. Doing more to support the backbone of the European economy Small and medium-sized enterprises are the new darlings of European politicians, and it looks like they are set to receive a major boost under Horizon 2020 As part of the Commission’s €80 billion, seven-year plan for research and innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are slated to receive a much larger share of attention, accessibility and financing. According to Máire GeogheganQuinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, “SMEs are the backbone of the European economy“. The Commission estimates that SMEs provide around 67 per cent of jobs and generate 58 per cent of total company turnover in the European Union. Aside from the prominent role they play in the European economy, they are also politically popular. In contrast to the early days of EU research programs, when mammoth ‘national champions’ like Philips, Siemens and Alcatel were viewed as the most important beneficiaries, today most European politicians would rather be photographed visiting a scrappy garage start-up that hopes to be the next Apple. Horizon 2020 brings the promise of creating opportunities to SMEs of all stripes, including those that are high-tech, research driven, social and service oriented. has potential for commercialisation and is critical to US economic priorities. Although, if you read the fine print in the approximately 600 pages of documentation released by the Commission, you find the main similarities to be in the kind of companies targeted, rather than in the programme details of how they get the money. Like SBIR, the dedicated SME instrument will cater to SMEs over the three main phases of the innovation cycle, while making it simple for them to have a seamless transition from one phase to the next after a review of progress. It begins with funding for technical feasibility and proof of concept studies, and continues to a second phase of funding for development, prototyping and other demonstration work. In the final phase of commercialisation, the Commission will not directly fund work, but will connect SMEs to other programmes could possibly provide the funding. The leveraging effect To help simplify the process, an ‘SME Instrument’ will be created to finance innovative companies. The idea is to let SMEs in all fields of science, technology and innovation apply for funding singly, or in groups. Support coming from this instrument is designed to cover the entire innovation cycle from research to market. Start-ups and SMEs across Europe will also get a boost from the new Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) which has a planned budget of €2.5 billion or around 0.2 per cent of the total Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), dedicated exclusively to SMEs. Compared with existing EU programmes for SMEs, COSME will take a more targeted approach, putting more emphasis on access to finance, including two financial instruments operated by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The new instrument is built mostly on the US Small Business Innovation Research Programme (SBIR) which uses Federal funds to fill gaps in funding and encourages small domestic business to engage in research and development which The Equity Facility for Growth focuses on the expansion and growth of SMEs and the Loan Guarantee Facility provides loan guarantees for SME loans up to €150,000. The aim of COSME is to help small companies grow. “Whenever they are ready An ‘SME instrument’ BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 19
  • 20. to take the steps to grow, there are funding instruments,“ said Antti Peltomäki, deputy director-general for Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission, adding that his directorate conducted a public consultation asking SMEs to identify ten of the most burdensome laws or regulations when it comes to European research programmes. “We want to do a ‘fitness check’ on legislation to see whether it really is serving its original purpose or creating a totally undesired situation for business.“ Stemming from these implementations under COSME, Horizon 2020 will make use of financial instruments that will help leverage yet further private research and innovation investments, including venture capital investments for innovative, high-tech companies, and in particular SMEs. The Commission has stated that a total amount of € 3.5 billion is budgeted for financial instrument facilities, and accompanying measures, for research and innovation. At least one-third of this amount will be dedicated to SMEs and small mid-caps. It is hoped that for every euro provided through the financial instrument, additional finance of up to €5 will be generated. While not exclusively for SMEs, these finance mechanisms are intended to help remedy the lack of venture and growth capital from private investors in Europe. The European Parliament’s position on SMEs under Horizon 2020 Both the Commission and the Parliament are satisfied with the new programme for SMEs and acknowledge them as the real engine of innovation in Europe. The programme is designed to promote a greater role for SMEs in research and innovation by providing broader and simpler access to funds. Yet, there still remain a few areas where the Parliament would like to see certain changes made or certain approaches emphasised. Whereas the Parliament previously argued for an absolute minimum of 15 per cent of the budget to go towards SMEs, the expectation is that now around 20 per cent of the total combined budget for the specific objective on “Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies“ and the priority “Societal challenges“ should go to SMEs via the single dedicated instrument. Below is a list of related positions the Parliament has taken: ■■Only SMEs may apply for calls listed under the new SME instrument. ■■Calls under this instrument should be open calls that emphasise a bottom-up approach towards the topic. ■■The ‘time-to-grant’ under this instrument should not exceed six months. ■■Provide SMEs with the ability to apply directly to phase two. ■■A single and dedicated budget linked to this instrument. ■■Free and open access to publications resulting from public research funded by the program. ■■An ‘Innovation Voucher’ given to SMEs applying directly to the second phase that would enable them to work individually or with a research partner of their choice from a member state or an associated country. European SME perception of factors likely limiting business growth between 2011 and 2013 High cost of labour 24% General economic outlook 46% Limited demand in local/domestic markets 30% Source: Eurostat, European Commission EU Commissioner Tajani will be overseeing a number of new SME initiatives BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 20
  • 21. EIT: Bigger budget and higher expectations Europe is betting big on the EIT - a massive budget increase and an expansion of the number of Knowledge and Innovation Communities are to provide additional leverage to help tackle some of the EU’s biggest challenges EU Commissioner Vassiliou’s department is responsible for the EIT On current plans, one of the biggest percentage increases in funding under Horizon 2020 will go to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, or EIT. It began in 2008 as an EU experiment in trying to get universities, companies and policy makers working together to promote innovation and enterprise. It received a multi-year budget of €309 million to get started under the existing Framework Programme – and had been proposed by the Commission for an increase to €2.8 billion. The difficulty in setting up the first KICs was “underestimated by all parties,“ according to a Commission submission to the European Parliament and Council last year. The submission went on to call for “clearer guidance“ for future KICs, more coordination and cross-fertilization among the KICs, regular evaluation of the KICs’ progress, a “true EIT ‘corporate identity’ around a set of shared values,“ and a shrinking of the EIT’s 22-member Governing Board to 10. Most of these recommendations have been adopted already. Moving forward The expectation of the EIT under Horizon 2020 is that it moves beyond simply Today, it has a small headquarters staff being a sum of its parts, and establishes in Budapest, from which it supports itself as a global brand of excellence three scattered clusters of partners in innovation. This needs to be done referred to as Knowledge and Innovation through long-term strategic planning Communities (KICs) which operate in the and increasingly multi-disciplinary areas of climate change, energy and ICT. collaboration that serves to foster The three KICs operate in 12 EU countries not just technological innovation, but with 206 partners: 66 universities, 53 systems and public sector innovations, research institutes, 76 business and 11 to increase impact and reshape the local or regional agencies. It provides a European innovation landscape. fourth of the funding for these groups – According to MEP Marisa Matias, if with the balance coming from industry the EIT is to truly become a European and local or national governments; institute, it needs to scale up, adopt a the idea is to leverage EU funding, to more holistic approach within the grand get more innovations to market and challenges and exploit its flexibility to entrepreneurs on the road. push for simplification. With continuing growth, there is an expectation of tighter management. BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 The EIT under Horizon 2020 In order to reach such goals over the next seven years, much will have to be done on both sides. To start with, the Parliament is calling for a budget of €3.1 billion if the EIT is to further its work in closing the gap between research, education and entrepreneurial activities by creating more KICs across Europe. The Parliament has also stressed and added a few additional points of what needs to become of the EIT and how it can be achieved: ■■ Increase the number of KICs to be created ■■ Create a bottom-up and open approach in the selection of KICs ■■ Presentation of an annual report by the EIT Director to the Parliament ■■ Increasing the general involvement of the Council and the Parliament. For example, an annual report by the EIT Director to the Parliament ■■ Establish a “Regional Innovation Scheme“ for the association of affiliated co-location centres in countries which do not host any co-location centre 21
  • 22. What the Parliament would like to see The Commission has put forward that the “EIT shall launch the selection and designation of KICs according to the priority fields and time schedule defined in the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA).“ The Parliament would like the EIT to select in a first wave up to four initial KICs out of five possible themes. Broadly, the themes are: healthcare, food, raw materials, added-value manufacturing, and urban mobility. the SIA is too rigid and that the proposed thematic areas have been selected prematurely. The MEPs encourage the EIT to move beyond its current model of only selecting KICs once a certain level of critical mass already has been achieved. They should designate as many KICs as financially feasible and whose scope falls within specific objectives of either the grand challenges or the “leadership in key industrial technologies“ pillar of Horizon 2020, or are at the interface between those objectives. Furthermore, In their review of the Commission’s in the process of designating the KICs, proposals, MEPs Matias and Philippe the EIT should take into account that not Lamberts have encouraged an alternative all KICs would have the same financial approach. While they acknowledge that needs, some being more capitalthe EIT should have the autonomy to intensive than others. organise future KICs based on general themes fitting with the grand challenges In line with pushing the EIT to become a and that this list is neither closed in global brand of excellence, the reports terms of theme selection, nor the from the Parliament also point towards number of KICs to be established within a need for an increased role for the a certain timeframe, they suggest that Parliament and Council. While it is BIGGER, SIMPLER, BOLDER A SCIENCE|BUSINESS GUIDE TO HORIZON 2020 agreed that “the SIA shall define the long-term strategy for the EIT within the EU innovation landscape and shall include an assessment of its impact and its capacity to generate innovation added-value for the Union “, the ITRE Committee rapporteurs believe that in order for an enhanced bottom-up approach and diversity linked with the grand challenges, it is necessary for the EIT and Commission to engage in a yearly dialogue with the Parliament and Council. Note to Readers: Science|Business is a contractor to the EIT. 22
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