The Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU, which is now in its twilight stages, has managed to secure political agreement with the European Parliament on the EU’s upcoming research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.
From 2014, the programme, a follow-on from FP7, will make around €70bn in funding available to European researchers. Ireland’s Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock, TD, believes Ireland can now target up to €1bn in research funding over the next six years under Horizon 2020.
The political agreement with the European Parliament secured by the Irish Presidency on Horizon 2020, will boost jobs and growth across the European Union and in Ireland, said Sherlock, who was in Brussels for the final formal ‘trilogue’ or three-way negotiation between the Council, Commission, the European Parliament and the Irish Presidency.
Sherlock is Chair of the Council of EU Research Ministers at the minute.
Following lengthy intensive negotiations over the past months, he said that he was delighted that the Irish Presidency had achieved its objective of reaching political agreement on Horizon 2020.
However, he said that he is mindful that the Council will also have to give its approval to the final shape of the negotiated agreement.
"I hope and expect that will come later this week when we have a chance to report back formally to our colleagues in member states," said Sherlock.
He said he was confident that Ireland will be in a position to target up to €1bn in research and technology funding under the new programme over the next six years. Under the Framework Programme 7, dubbed FP7, Ireland’s research base has benefited from €600m in funding.
"We need to set ambitious targets in ensuring that we maximise our drawdown of productive, job creating funds from Europe and this is perhaps the prime source of that kind of funding," said Sherlock.
The package will now be submitted to both the Council and to the European Parliament, where it will be brought forward to a plenary session of the European Parliament.
“This is a very important step that will help ensure that Horizon 2020 can launch as planned next year," said Geoghegan-Quinn today. “That is good news for researchers, for universities, for SMEs, and for all other future participants in the programme."
Kicking off in 2014, Horizon 2020 is set to deploy a simplified funding model. The goal is to enable a greater number of businesses and research providers to access the programme with less bureaucracy.
There will also be funding, via the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, for projects in the areas of healthy living and active ageing, raw materials, food and added value manufacturing.
The indicative budget of €70bn is subject to final agreement on the EU’s Multi-Financial Framework.