EU reveals its largest R&D fund yet with €8.1bn ready to invest

9 Jul 2012

The EU Commissioner in charge of Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn will today unveil a new FP7 programme that will allocate €8.1bn to research and development initiatives across Europe. The announcement comes as Dublin this week hosts the European City of Science.

The €8.1bn is expected to leverage an additional €6bn of public and private investment in R&D.

This is estimated to increase employment by 210,000 in the short-term and over a 15-year period provide €75bn in economic growth.

The currency of the global economy

“Knowledge is the currency of the global economy,” Geoghegan-Quinn said today.

“If Europe wants to continue to compete in the 21st century we must support the research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs, now and in the future.

“The high level of competition for EU funding makes sure that taxpayers’ money goes to the best projects that tackle issues that concern all of us.”

Bids that address both innovation and societal challenges are being welcomed.

Horizon 2020 is a new funding programme for EU research which will replace FP7 and other smaller programmes between 2014 and 2020.

Special attention is being given to SMEs in a package worth €1.2bn.

Around €2.7bn is being driven to cement Europe as a destination for world-class research through individual grants from the European Research Council (€1.75bn) and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (€963m) for research training and mobility.

Innovation action calls include €155m for “Oceans of the Future” to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors; around €365m for technologies that will transform urban areas in to sustainable “Smart Cities and Communities”; some €147m to combat the rise of drug-resistant bacteria; and nearly €100m dedicated to innovative solutions to manage fresh water resources.

Invitations to support digital research funding targets will see €1.5bn go into the thematic area of ICT.

The overall €8.1bn EU research budget will include funds not included in the calls announced today.

Since 2007, the FP7 programme has had a total budget of €55bn and has so far supported 19,000 projects involving more than 79,000 participating organisations and will have directly supported some 55,000 individual researchers’ careers.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years