Horizon 2020 mid-term review: let’s focus on a core EU strength – excellence in industrial research
Published: 13 January 2017
Policies & Issues: R&D and Innovation
The European engineering industry is growing – in large part thanks to innovative products and systems that are developed in the EU and sold around the world. By funding research and innovation (R&I) to the tune of €80 billion over seven years, the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme is a valuable resource to Orgalime’s industry, enhancing global competitiveness and encouraging cross-border collaboration. As we approach the halfway point of the current programming period, the European Commission is taking stock of progress. For Orgalime, this mid-term review is a chance to underline our support for EU R&I, while highlighting future priorities and where we see room to improve.
First and foremost, it is imperative that the Horizon 2020 budget be maintained at current levels. We believe that the best way to boost competitiveness is for the EU to build on its strengths – and one of Europe’s greatest strengths is its engineering excellence. Sharpening the focus of R&I support for applied industrial research will help EU companies retain their leading edge internationally. To do this, it will be vital to maintain the budget for Horizon 2020’s Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) pillar, to further develop existing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), and to publish more calls for test and demonstration facilities.
To maximise the innovation potential of Horizon 2020 funding, the programme should continue to support a broad spectrum of manufacturing companies, from SMEs to larger players. Moreover, due to the risky nature of research, funding should be in the form of grants rather than loans. Regarding open innovation, Orgalime believes that Horizon 2020 participants should not be obliged to disclose information from their projects – as companies will be reluctant to commit to R&I cooperation unless they can safeguard the intellectual property they create in the process. Plus, there is a need to improve how the impact of funding is measured to ensure a realistic, long-term view.
Read our recommendations in detail by downloading the position paper.