In the coming weeks the European Commission will publish its proposals for the Horizon 2020 research, development and innovation framework programme for the period 2014-2020, to be followed by discussion and decision in the European Parliament and among the EU Member States. This will happen against a backdrop of economic stagnation and fiscal austerity in Europe as a whole. It is, therefore, a critical moment – a moment for bold and ambitious decisions which will lay the groundwork for sustained economic recovery and for Europe’s future prosperity in a globally competitive world. The past few months have seen the publication of two important European reports, the findings and recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group on Key Enabling Technologies and the European Research Area Board’s opinion on the Common Strategic Framework for Research and Innovation (since renamed Horizon 2020). These two reports share important messages: -Europe must concentrate its science, technology and innovation investment on a limited number of high-impact areas, so as to tackle societal grand challenges and to exploit future economic opportunities; -it must shift more investment towards mission-driven research, including emerging and enabling technologies and support for economic competitiveness, so as to stimulate growth and create jobs, and -it must give stronger support to near-market research and innovation(validation, demonstration, pilots) just as our major global competitors do. The EUROTECH Group therefore calls upon the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States of the European Union to: -ensure a clear focus in Horizon 2020 – backed by substantial resources mobilised from across the full range of European policy areas and institutions, including the Structural Funds and the European Investment Bank – on a limited number of high-priority societal challenges and global economic opportunities for Europe; -implement an integrated policy for developing and rolling out key enabling technologies, targeting the whole innovation chain from fundamental to technological research, from product development to prototyping, and on to implementation in globally competitive European manufacturing, with intellectual property provisions which optimally protect European interests clearly shift the balance in Europe’s public research and innovation investment towards applied and technological research, and towards high-risk product and process development, which account for upwards of two-thirds of the public investment made by Europe’s leading competitors such as the United States, South Korea or China2; - put in place governance structures and funding models 3 to ensure that Europe’s RTOs and other organisations can contribute fully to the achievement of these strategic priorities, for which the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) of the SET-Plan – provided it is properly funded– may serve as a model.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom