Commissions initiative to stimulate growth and jobs in Europe

The European Commission has announced the biggest ever set of calls for proposals under its 7th Framework Program. In total, €8.1 billion will support projects and ideas in the EU-27 that will boost region's competitiveness and tackle urgent issues that could create additional growth and jobs in 2013. Universities, research organisations and businesses in the Baltic States have to be active in searching for the EU funds.

The EU funding sources, which are open to organisations and businesses in all EU member states and partner countries are the greater part of the EU's €10.8 billion research budget for 2013. The announcement comes just days after EU leaders emphasised during their summit in June 28-29 the importance of research and innovation in the Compact for Growth and Jobs. The following fields are involved: human health, protecting the environment, finding new solutions to growing challenges linked to urbanisation and managing waste, etc.

Commission’s opinion In presenting the calls for proposals from the member states, the EU Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn acknowledged that knowledge represented the most important ingredient in developing European and global economy. Therefore, if Europe wants to continue to compete in the 21st century, it has to support the research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs, both presently 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", she added.
Reference: Press release, IP/12/752, Brussels, 9 July 2012.

Science and research priorities The applications for funds target both innovation and a range of societal challenges, building a bridge to Horizon 2020, the next funding program for EU research from 2014-20. About €4.8 billion is dedicated to thematic research priorities. Industrial innovation will be supported through close-to-market activities such as piloting, demonstration, standardisation and technology transfer. Special attention will be given to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a package worth up to €1.2 billion, including about €970 million of financing for SMEs under the thematic research priorities. Other measures include an extra €150 million for guarantees to leverage €1 billion in loans for SMEs and mid-caps (slightly larger firms up to 500 employees).

Around €2.7 billion will help cement Europe's place as a world class destination for researchers, mainly through individual grants from the European Research Council (€1.75 billion), and Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions (€963 million) for research training and mobility. To help spread excellent research more widely, a new "European Research Area Chairs" initiative is being prepared. A €12 million pilot call will select a total of five ERA Chairs, to be hosted by universities or other eligible research institutions in less developed regions in five different EU countries. To host an ERA Chair, institutions must demonstrate their ability to support excellence through providing the necessary facilities and complying with European Research Area principles such as open recruitment.

Most of the calls for proposals (invitations to bid for funds) will be published on 10 July, with some further specific calls to follow in the autumn.

EU’s thematic research priorities Innovative thematic research priorities in this FP7 call for applications include:

• around €155 million for "Oceans of the future", to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors;

• around €365 million for technologies that will transform urban areas into sustainable "Smart Cities and Communities";

• some €147 million to combat the rise of drug-resistant bacteria; and

• nearly €100 million dedicated to innovative solutions for managing fresh water resources.

The calls also support the Digital Agenda's ICT research funding targets, with almost €1.5 billion going to the thematic area of information and communication technologies.

The €8.1 billion announced on 9th July 2012 is expected to leverage additional €6 billion of public and private investment in research, and estimated to increase employment by 210,000 in the short-term and generate, over a 15 year period, an additional €75 billion in growth.

See information on the following research projects: DEMETER, SIMPATIC, WIOD and NEUJOB in: http://ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/index_en.html

The FP7 framework program, launched in 2007, has a total budget of €55 billion for research and innovation. It has so far supported some 19,000 projects involving over 79,000 participants (universities, research organisations and businesses) across all EU Member states, with a total EU investment so far of €25.3 billion. By 2013 it is estimated that FP7 will also have directly supported some 55,000 individual researchers' careers.

On top of €8.1 billion investment in research and innovation to create growth and jobs there are funding covered by another EU Treaty, Euratom. These include funding covering nuclear energy research (€993 million), or to help support "joint technology initiatives" with industry (€751 million) or "joint programs" set up between the EU member states. The total budget also includes funding for the Commission's Joint Research Centre and the Commission's contribution to the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF), managed by the European Investment Bank Group.