Attracting new participants, strengthening support for small firms and better controlling EU spending are the key aims achieved by Industry and Research Committee MEPs on Thursday when they approved the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 and the SMEs programme COSME.
Reaching new groups of researchers
Parliament's negotiators ensured that a part (€740 million) of the Horizon 2020 budget will go to measures to widen the group of researchers participating in the programme, e.g. by attracting new applicants or promoting networking of research institutions. Public-private partnerships also be opened up to new members, so as to avoid building "closed clubs". Parliament's negotiators also ensured that €420 million will go to measures strengthening science's role in society.
Support for small firms
MEPs made it a target that at least 11% of the Horizon 2020 budget should go to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Moreover, there will be a specialised SMEs department to ensure the programme's calls for tenders are SMEs-friendly.
COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises), the other approved programme, is entirely dedicated to these firms. For this programme, MEPs managed to reduce bureaucracy and earmark 60% of its budget for risk-capital or loan guarantees, which are the programme's main tools to help SMEs with financing.
Energy research, transparency, EU technology institute
To further EU climate goals, MEPs earmarked 85% of the Horizon 2020 energy budget (€5.4bn) for non-fossil fuel energy research. Of this, 15% should go to energy efficiency research.
MEPs also stepped up controls on EU funding for public-private-partnerships (PPPs) and made sure that all EU-funded scientific publications will be accessible to the public. Finally, they ensured that the European Institute of Technology (EIT) will have a budget of its own (€2.5bn).
The final votes in Parliament's plenary session and the Council of Ministers will take place once the EU's long-term budget has been finally approved. The budgets for the new programmes are expected to be €77bn for Horizon 2020 and €2bn for COSME for 2014-2020.
Five MEPs negotiated the various parts of the Horizon 2020 package and one COSME, see details to the right.
There will be a press conference in room ASP 5G2 at 12.30. For web streaming, see link to the right.