Marine Institute welcomes Commission proposal for Horizon 2020

horizon 2020Horizon 2020, the Commission's proposal for a new €80 billion programme to run from 2014 to 2020 was launched by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science on 30th November 2011.

Marine Institute CEO, Dr Peter Heffernan welcomed the Commission's proposal, noting that marine research is very well represented in the draft text: "Marine and maritime research is specifically mentioned in the Societal Challenge "Food Security", while reference is also made to environmentally friendly fishing, offshore aquaculture, marine biotechnology, the greening of maritime transport, renewable ocean energy, marine spatial planning and seabed mining, to mention a few. The very generic nature of the text and the bottom up approach to be adopted will provide many exciting and challenging opportunities for the Irish research community and knowledge-based SMEs," he said.

Of particular relevance is the accompanying proposal for a Council Decision, which states that "detailed priority setting during implementation of Horizon 2020 will entail a strategic approach to programming of research ...This cross-cutting approach to programming and governance will allow effective coordination between all of Horizon 2020's specific objectives and will allow to address challenges which cut across them, such as for instance sustainability, climate change or marine sciences and technologies".

The strong representation of marine and maritime research in Horizon 2020 can be attributed to a number of factors including the adoption of an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union in 2007, strong representation from the European Marine Science Community (e.g. the Ostend Declaration, 2010) and the very positive impression of the benefits of marine and maritime research made to Commissioners Geoghegan-Quinn (DG Research and Innovation) and Damanaki (DG MARE) during their visit to the Marine Institute in September 2011.

The European Commission proposal will now be subject to negotiations with the European Parliament the Council and Member States and is expected to be adopted by the end of 2013.
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Horizon 2020 is the EU financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. Running from 2014 to 2020 with an €80 billion budget, the EU's new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

Horizon 2020 provides major simplification of funding through a single set of rules. It will combine all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology ((EIT).

The adoption of Horizon 2020 will:
Strengthen the EU's position in science with a dedicated budget of €24,598 million (30%). This will provide a boost to top-level research in Europe, including an increase in funding of 77% for the very successful European Research Council (ERC);Strengthen industrial leadership in innovation €17,938 million (22%). This includes major investment in key technologies, greater access to capital and support for SMEs;Provide €31,748 million (40%) to help address major concerns shared by all Europeans such as climate change, developing sustainable transport and mobility, making renewable energy more affordable, ensuring food safety and security, or coping with the challenge of an ageing population.

Horizon 2020 will tackle societal challenges by helping to bridge the gap between research and the market by, for example, helping innovative enterprise to develop their technological breakthroughs into viable products with real commercial potential. This market-driven approach will include creating partnerships with the private sector and Member States to bring together the resources needed.

Horizon 2020 will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area by 2014. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.