In Advocacy, EaSI, Policy

In a series of articles, Euclid Network explains why the EU budgets matters to you! This week, we zoom into the future of Horizon 2020 (H2020), EU’s programme for research and innovation. The European Commission proposes to allocate €100 billion for H2020’s successor called Horizon Europe.

The EU budget: a short recap

Every 5 to 7 years, the European Union approves its long-term budget referred to as ‘Multiannual Financial Framework’ (MFF). The current MFF is coming to an end in 2020. The European Parliament, European Commission and European Council are now renegotiating a new budget, for a period of seven years (2021 to 2027).

What is H2020?

H2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever, with nearly €80 billions of funding available for 2014-2020. It aims to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to innovate together.

The current programme has three focus areas:

  • Excellent science: This area focuses on raising the level of excellence in Europe’s science base;
  • Industrial leadership: This area stimulates the growth potential of European companies;
  • Societal challenges: This area aims to tackle the biggest challenges facing modern society. It reflects the policy priorities of the European Commission and covers all stages of research and innovation, from concept to market.

What will change?

The new programme, Horizon Europe, will have the following focus areas:

  • Strengthen EU science and technology thanks to increased investment in highly skilled people and cutting-edge research;
  • Foster the EU’s industrial competitiveness and its innovation performance, notably supporting market-creating innovation via the European Innovation Council and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology;
  • Deliver on the EU’s strategic priorities, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change, and tackle global challenges that affect the quality of our daily lives.

Horizon Europe will introduce some new features. Amongst the good news for you, the European Commission proposes to establish a European Innovation Council which would (financially) support innovative start-ups and companies to scale-up their ideas. The European Innovation Council will have a dedicated budget of €10 billion. Euclid Network welcomes the establishment of the EIC and its potential to increase the emergence of innovative ventures and help existing ones to sustain and have a greater impact. We encourage the EIC to focus on social innovations that have a clear positive impact on the future of societies in terms of e.g. sustainability and inclusion. The EIC should particularly support SME’s and start-ups.

The European Commission also proposes to make application rules simpler to reduce the administrative burden for the beneficiaries. As highlighted in every article of this series, Euclid Network is very happy with the intention of the European Commission to make European funding more easily accessible.

In addition, Euclid Network would like to stress the importance of integrating social sciences and humanities (SSH)- like economics, political science, sociology and history- in Horizon Europe. The participation of these sciences has been very low in previous research programmes of the European Union. Yet, it is research from these sciences that can help address current challenges like distrust in political institutions, integration of migrants and inequality. A good example is the H2020 funded research project INNOSI, which involved SSH researchers, that helped present a case to policy-makers for investment in social welfare.

To build a strong case for the social enterprise model we need more EU funded, evidence-based research on social entrepreneurship, that involves the SSH sciences.

Euclid Network has been involved in a few EU-funded research projects along the years. Amongst the most recent projects we took part in is the InnoSI project:

The InnoSI project identified innovative approaches to social investment (the word being here understood as public investment in welfare) at national and regional levels across the 28 Member States. An in-depth case study evaluation of 10 Member States allowed the researchers to map best practices. Special attention was paid to the legal and regulatory frameworks required for innovation in social welfare policy. Through evidence-based research and tested practices, InnoSI has presented a case to policy-makers at all levels for investment in social welfare.

Click here for more info.

Want to know more about how you can access European funding for your research or innovation?

We have developed an interactive EU funding toolkit to help you navigate your way through Brussels’s bureaucracy. Don’t miss its E-launch on March 21st, 12.30-14.00 CET. Register now (This is a members-only webinar).

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