Author: Marie Latour, Head of Office, Zabala Brussels
This week, the EU research ministers have agreed on the final details of Horizon Europe:
To begin with, they agree on a linear cut across its programmes to reflect the outcome of the July budget summit (from €94.4 billion to €80.9 billion in 2018 prices) this represents a decrease of more than 14% from the European Commission's (EC) original proposal. In current prices, this is equivalent to a budget of €90.9 billion, of which €5.4 billion comes from the Next Generation EU budget, as part of the recovery plan.
However, under pressure from Germany and Austria, the ministers decided to increase the funding for Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions by €200 million over the next seven years, with money coming from the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) budget (which sees its budget cut by 2%). Spain and Ireland were opposed to a further cut of the EIC budget or to guarantee the grant part of EIC.
The ministers gathered last Tuesday, also agreed on the possibility to use EU structural funds to finance industrial research partnerships in the future.
They agreed that Horizon Europe should follow “a very flexible approach” in spending the top-up from the recovery fund. The idea is to prioritise projects with high TRL levels that address the health and economic effects related to the coronavirus pandemic.
With regards to Europe’s technology sovereignty, the rules for non-EU countries to participate in Horizon Europe were adopted, including a new provision intended to protect Europe’s technological sovereignty. The provision will limit the participation of legal entities established in the EU, or in associated countries, if the commission and member states find “justified and exceptional reasons.” This is to balance between openness and the need for protection of strategic European interests. The EC could start negotiations with individual countries in 2021 at the earliest, and will have to consult with the Council before making any decision.
Now Horizon Europe’s budget and adoption is the hands of the European Parliament (EP) which will have the final word. While the EP was advocating for a budget of €120 billion in the initial phases of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations, the position from most active EP members is to maintain the initial budget proposed by the EC in 2018. Some EP members have proposed that Horizon Europe could be topped up with money raised by new taxes levied by the EU. The debate on EU’s own resources is not over.
Read EWGIC’s position paper on the MFF.
The European Commission (EC) is launching a survey on Horizon Europe’s first Strategic Plan, which will guide the work programmes and topics for the next four years. All stakeholders with an interest in EU research and innovation are invited to participate in this consultation, which will end on 18 September 2020.
In view of Horizon Europe's launch in 2021, this Strategic Plan is being developed through a co-design process, for which over 9000 people have contributed, making it the largest consultation ever led by the EC.
The survey’s results will be discussed in the virtual European Research and Innovation Days on 22-24 September 2020, and we look forward to hearing your feedback there.
Find out more here.
The Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 is undergoing intense negotiations within the European Institutions. Horizon Europe’s budget has been decreased by 5 billion euros, straying away from the European Commission’s initial ambitious plan. The European Council and Parliament (EP) have just a few months left to complete their negotiations.
EWGIC, the European Working Group of Innovation Consultants, welcomes the European Council’s agreement on the MFF and the Next Generation EU budgets, but regrets the treatment of European research and innovation funding especially related to Horizon Europe.
EWGIC supports Parliament’s stance that the Council’s budget deal needs to be transformed to a more future-oriented approach. We are now calling the European Parliament to ensure Horizon Europe will get back at least to the original proposal that the EC made in 2018 of 83.5 B€ (2018 prices). So that R&I can actually contribute to our continent's recovery and allow for the development of added-value products and solutions developed in Europe.
European Consultants in Innovation ask for greater recognition of Professional project management in Horizon Europe. In 35% of cases, organizations have relied on consulting companies to prepare their proposals for the current R&I funding programme - Horizon 2020.
As the R&I Days kicked-off in Brussels on 24 September, fifteen consultants in Innovation Management from six European countries gathered together to foster a discussion about common interests with a possibility of future collaborations and actions.
The representatives of Innovation Management Consulting Firms addressed the issues concerning the management of European research and innovation projects. The discussion among European consultants also covered the preparations for Horizon Europe, the upcoming Framework Programme.
Currently and as it was revealed during the Research and Innovation Days held last week by the European Commission in Brussels, organizations have relied, in 35% of cases on consulting services to prepare their proposals for Horizon2020, the largest funding and research program in the EU.