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7 September 2011
PE 464.836v02-00 A7-0302/2011

on the Green Paper: From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding


Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Rapporteur: Marisa Matias

 OPINION of the Committee on Budgets
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries
 OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality


on the Green Paper: From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular the articles relating to research,

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper ‘From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding’ (COM(2011)0048),

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2011 on the interim evaluation of the seventh EU programme for research, technological development and demonstration(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on innovation Union: transforming Europe for a post-crisis world(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 November 2010 on simplifying the implementation of the Research Framework Programmes(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2010 on the implementation of the synergies of research and innovation earmarked Funds in Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 concerning the European Fund of Regional Development and the Seventh Framework Programme (FP) for Research and Development in cities and regions as well as in the Member States and the Union(4),

–   having regard to the report of the Committee of Experts ‘Towards a world class Frontier Research Organisation – Review of the European Research Council’s Structures and Mechanisms’ of 23 July 2009,

–   having regard to the report of the Group of Independent Experts ‘Mid-Term Evaluation of the Risk-Sharing Financial Facility (RSFF)’ of 31 July 2010,

–   having regard to the final report of the Expert Group ‘Interim Evaluation of the 7th Framework Programme’ of 12 November 2010,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 9 February 2011 entitled ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Response to the Report of the Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of the 7th Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities and to the Report of the Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility’ (COM(2011)0052),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Interim Evaluation of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research Activities (FP7), including the risk-sharing finance facility, by the 3074th EU Council meeting on competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry, Research and Space) of 9 March 2011,

–   having regard to the Commission's Communication of 20 April 2009 entitled 'Moving the ICT frontiers: A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe' (COM(2009)0184),

–   having regard to its motion for a resolution of 9 June 2011 on marking the centenary of the award of the Nobel Prize to Marie Skłodowska-Curie(5),

–   having regard to the EU 2020 flagship initiative ‘A Resource-efficient Europe’ (COM(2011)0021),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Committee on Fisheries and the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality(A7-0302/2011),

A. whereas, on the basis of the budget review, the Commission has decided to launch a debate to improve the efficiency of research and innovation funding at regional, national and EU levels, and to handle the allocation of financial resources for EU research and innovation programmes as an EU top priority,

B.  whereas the EU has established the objective of increasing spending on R&D to 3% of EU GDP by 2020, and whereas, given that many countries are still a long way from achieving this goal, increased public and private investment in R&D is particularly important,

C. whereas the current trends show strong pressure to freeze or even reduce the European budget associated with a period of severe constraints on national public budgets, and whereas R&D&I is one of the areas where European cooperation has been shown to have real added value in contrast to certain other budget posts, showing the need to reallocate the EU's available resources,

D. whereas we are currently experiencing an economic, social and environmental crisis (which is affecting EU Member States in very different ways), and whereas research (in its fundamental and applied dimensions), education and innovation are crucial instruments for both economic recovery and job creation through the achievement of the EU 2020 flagship initiatives, as well as for the definition of a sustainable and inclusive growth model,

E.  whereas the EU and its Member States must provide themselves with the means to respond collectively to the major social, economic, environmental, demographic and ethical challenges facing the people of Europe, such as the ageing population, health, food supply, sustainable development, important ecological issues, etc, and whereas the solutions to these issues should provide an incentive to individuals to take more responsibility for their actions,

F.  whereas other regions and countries of the world are increasingly investing in R&D&I, and whereas EU investment in this domain should therefore be oriented towards a reinforcement of scientific capacity, encouragement of investment by industry and an improvement in overall EU competitive capacity; whereas the creation of a consistent set of support tools along the whole “innovation chain" is needed, ensuring proper balance between the academically oriented research, the applied scientific research and innovation,

G. whereas, although EU funding for R&D&I has been increasing, scientifically and technologically more developed EU Member States are still able to absorb the greatest slice of the available resources under the various Framework funding schemes and programmes (including large-scale projects), perpetuating the under-representativeness of some Member States and their regions in terms both of access to funding and of participation; whereas, in the interest of completing the European Research Area (ERA), the emergence of excellence in all parts of the Union needs to be aimed at, and whereas the Structural and Cohesion Funds are the prime instrument to achieve this,

H. whereas there are still significant and growing inequalities within the EU in terms of national levels of R&D funding capacities, industrial structures and higher education systems, and whereas those differences are partly mirrored in overall participation in FP7; whereas balancing mechanisms should be put in place in order to enhance the research and innovation capacities of all Member States and European regions,

I.   whereas the Common Strategic Framework (CSF) should be modelled on the same general principles as the ERA, capitalising on the enormous untapped potential for coordinating the 27 different national research strategies and programmes and reducing unnecessary fragmentation,

J.   whereas the great importance of SMEs for the EU economy and employment is not mirrored in their level of participation in EU R&D&I funds; whereas the participation of SMEs in R&D&I collaborative projects should reach a level of 15% and whereas, recognising that collaborative work with industry has encouraged significant investment in R&D&I by industry, simplification and cutting red tape are a necessary condition for reaching this aim and increasing the participation of industry as a whole,

K. whereas poverty-related and neglected diseases hamper economic development, especially in developing countries; whereas such diseases affect more than a billion people and cause millions of deaths every year,

L.  whereas over 60 % of students graduating from universities are women, but the majority of senior positions in universities (e.g. PhD posts and professorships) are still held by men,

M. whereas since the start of the European Research Council (ERC) in 2007, 1 700 projects have been selected to receive funding from the ERC, representing some EUR 2.5 billion in grants, and almost 90% of these grants went to male candidates,

N. whereas a highly problematic ‘glass ceiling’ seems to exists for female researchers, meaning that the share of female researchers decreases with seniority,

O.  whereas in the educational systems of many Member States gender stereotypes still prevail in research areas such as the natural sciences(6);

1.  Welcomes the European Commission Green Paper defining a Common Strategic Framework (CSF) for funding in research and innovation, and considers that the new CSF core should be the articulation of the EU research programmes and funding schemes, based on the Community research and innovation policies and the Member States’ research programmes; believes that the CSF should follow an integrated approach, which aims to become more attractive and easy to access for all participants;

2.  Takes the view that EU research funds and programmes and the Structural and Cohesion Funds have different aims and, as such, should be kept separate;

3.  Acknowledges the relatively low participation in FP7 of certain Member States, as well as the persistence of a research and innovation performance gap between European regions, despite the efforts made via the Structural Funds to enhance their R&D capacity; is convinced that the potential for excellence of all regions needs to be harnessed; is therefore of the opinion that new approaches are necessary to assist underperforming regions and Member States to achieve excellence and smart regional specialisation;

4.  Calls on the Commission to maximise all relevant synergies between the CSF, the Structural Funds, the European Fund for Agriculture and Rural Development and the European Fisheries Fund and to develop a multi-fund approach, while respecting their different objectives; is convinced that cohesion instruments could strengthen the development of excellence and capacity building by a better compatibility with research and innovation policies at regional level; believes that this will allow a stairway of excellence to be developed, leading these regions to fully participate in the CSF, based on quality and excellence;

5.  Suggests that this new approach could include funding of activities aimed at: modernising universities, purchase of scientific equipment, local technology transfer, support to start-ups and spin-offs, dissemination of the results of R&D&I projects, increased programme capacity for trans-national researcher training, the foundation of cutting-edge research centres, the building up of networks of excellence and clusters, or peer-reviewed trans-regional collaborative R&D and innovation activities; believes that certain Support Actions of FP7 have proved successful as bridging activities and should be preserved in the CSF;

6.  Calls on the Member States to consider funding ERC, Marie Curie or collaborative projects proposals that have met the criteria of excellence but cannot be funded owing to lack of European funds;

7.  Highlights the importance of maintaining appropriate instruments with which to support the development of the institutional capacity of the regions with regard to research and innovation policy, since the regional level is a strategic link for effectively integrating FP funding with that of the Structural Funds and also in view of their strong links to local businesses, services and research and training centres;

8.  In the light of the future gearing of cohesion policy to the Europe 2020 Strategy, calls for the ‘innovation’ priority to be binding on both Objective 1 and Objective 2 regions, and for that priority to be reflected in the funding allocated at all levels;

9.  Believes that local and regional authorities should be encouraged to innovate, notably via the continuation and strengthening of initiatives of the type ‘Regions of Knowledge’, ‘Living Labs’ and ‘Smart Cities’, in which the territorial dimension of Research and Development is fostered;

10. Draws attention to the importance of maintaining convergence policies, and asks the Commission to build stairways to excellence for those Member States and regions that are economically and socially more vulnerable and are underrepresented in the FP, on the basis of their respective strengths and according to effective and clear criteria, aiming at substantially increasing their human capital and research capacity;

11. Takes the view that announcing a competition for the foundation of cutting-edge research centres in disadvantaged regions is a suitable instrument for developing the European Research Area; considers that the award of aid in the form of a competition boosts dynamism and creativity, which can lead even in structurally weak regions to the successful creation of research and technology sites providing future-oriented jobs; considers that the candidates for the competition should be teams comprising one internationally recognised research institute and one disadvantaged region each, and that the scientific approaches underlying the proposals for foundations should be assessed on the principle of excellence; considers that, at the same time, the region should be required to come up with a viable overall approach constructing, for example with the help of structural funds and by creating an appropriate framework, an infrastructure amenable to research and innovation;

12. Recommends that the Commission analyse the possibility of setting up an all-European common fund financed by the Structural Funds to promote collaborative European research;

13. Is convinced that the credibility of the Framework Programme is based on scientific quality, and therefore considers excellence the main criterion for research funding; recalls that the nature of excellence differs with the type of participant or the very nature of the research and innovation project (the excellence criterion for a research institution is not the same as for an individual researcher or for an SME, and also differs between fundamental and applied projects); stresses that technical improvement, innovation, pilot projects and market creation should be considered important criteria for industrial and applied research, where relevant;

14. Calls for better coordination and synergy between local and regional, national and European cross-border research and innovation strategies, respecting the specificities of the different contexts and, at the same time, reinforcing the possibilities for complementarities and cooperation between them; believes that access to and sharing of information and best practices, enhanced joint programming efforts, simple, flexible rules and instruments and, where appropriate, convergence of the latter is of key importance to increasing the effectiveness of funding, and possibly of co-funding;

15. Is convinced that Europe has an obligation to make use of its great potential in research, technology and innovation and to contribute to solutions to the global societal challenges, namely:

§ the demographic changes as an ageing society in Europe, including age related diseases and family policies, a growing world population, neglected diseases, nutrition/food security, urbanisation, mobility, social cohesion and migration,

§ the transition to sustainable management of scarce resources, including water, land use and soil management, mitigation of climate change, preservation of biodiversity, marine ecosystems and forestry, renewable energies, energy efficiency and energy security, critical raw materials and other biological and physical natural resources,

§ a strong, stable and equitable economic base, including economic recovery, the enhancement of education and training and of fundamental and applied knowledge in all disciplines from social sciences and humanities, through other domains such as biological and medical sciences and research for the civil security of citizens and infrastructures, to key technologies in order to boost the EU's economy and employment;

Believes that the CSF should focus on addressing those societal challenges in a comprehensive way through a balanced set of instruments covering the whole spectrum of education and training, research and innovation activities;

16. Recalls the importance of ensuring the continuity of successful instruments between the FP and the CSF, in particular in the collaborative programmes; invites the Commission to assess in due course the effectiveness of existing instruments towards the achievement of specific policy goals and to adapt those of which the effectiveness or distinctive contribution is not clearly demonstrated;

17. Calls for an independent audit to be carried out, for example by the European Court of Auditors together with national courts of auditors, on the effectiveness of public expenditure on research undertaken by the Member States, the EU and local authorities;

18. Calls on the Commission to strengthen the visibility of the EU added value in research and innovation;

19. Calls for a concerted public and private effort at European and national level to reach the European target of 3 % of GDP on R&D expenditure; calls on the EU Institutions and the Member States to agree without further delay on a specific roadmap for achieving this target;

20. Stresses that efforts should be made to align spending within the CSF as far as possible with the overarching policy objectives under the Europe 2020 Strategy; calls for clear coordination with the new initiatives, such as the Innovation Union and other relevant Flagship Projects;

21. Recalls that the future funding of research and innovation should serve the goal of completing the ERA by creating more synergies and better cooperation between different R&D&I policies and funding programmes among the EU, Member States, and local authorities;

Towards a new Common Strategic Framework (CSF)

22. Underlines the fact that at the core of the CSF should be the idea that the differing nature and scale of R&D&I projects, together with the multiplicity of funding schemes, must be organised in such a way that coherence, broad representativeness, articulation, simplification and complementarity are ensured, building stairways to excellence;

23. Notes that, in order to allow all researchers to take part in CSF projects, administrative rules covering contracting procedures should take into account the different national rules on universities and research centres; stresses in particular that the co-financing mechanism should not operate to the detriment of universities and research institutes, and that under no circumstances should universities be placed at a disadvantage compared with other actors;

24. Calls on the Commission to set up a simple and accessible system to accelerate innovation, to invest in R&D&I projects on fighting the grand societal challenges and to have a truly holistic approach, focusing attention on the various crucial stages of the innovation and value chain (from material provider to end-user product);

25. Is convinced that different tasks within the CSF should be tackled separately but in close articulation and partnership with each other: the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to operate mainly as a network of Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs); the innovation-related parts of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) to concentrate on its strength in supporting innovative SMEs; the next FP to embrace research as a whole; and the structural/cohesion funds to be used in closer cooperation and in a more targeted way, but kept separate; takes the view that collaborative projects should remain the backbone of the CSF;

26. Stresses the need to enhance the flexibility of the common strategic framework, not only so that appropriations can be moved between the individual chapters and calls, but also so that the CSF is flexible enough to allow appropriations to be allocated to meet major societal challenges that arise during the budget period;

27. Calls for a clear definition of the overall funding system and for a tighter integration of research, education and innovation; since European R&D&I policy creates European added value, and in order to reach the Europe 2020 objectives, calls for the EU research and innovation programmes’ budget for the next financial period to be doubled as of 2014 (excluding the budget devoted to R&D&I within the Structural Funds and the EIB) as the appropriate response to the current economic crisis and to the great shared challenges; believes that an increased public research budget should aim at delivering wider societal benefits and improved competitiveness; reiterates the need to strengthen and develop the R&D&I-friendly role of all EU instruments, including by means of closer cooperation with the EIB and by simplifying procedures for access to funding; suggests, therefore, a new organisational model based on three different layers of funding aimed at stability and convergence:

1st Layer: Capacity building and infrastructure

28. This layer should cover the EU funds associated with infrastructure (in the wider sense, including the institutional one) and capacity building;

29. The funding scheme within this layer includes the part of the FP concerned with the Capacities Programme and Marie Curie initiatives, the European funding components of research infrastructures and projects, access to loans by the EIB (covering projects over EUR 50 million and RSFF), grants associated with the abovementioned components of the FP, and cooperation with Structural Funds associated with infrastructure;

30. Calls for the role of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) as an internal supplier of scientific and economic analyses for development policy in line with the Europe 2020 strategy to be strengthened;

31. Stresses that in the future large-scale European investment projects (ITER, Galileo, Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) should be funded outside the FP, creating autonomous budget lines for them, in order to guarantee a transparent and reliable financing structure whilst controlling and limiting their potential for cost over-runs; suggests that they should be partially funded through the issuing of project bonds by the EIB;

32. Highlights the pivotal role of large-scale research infrastructures for the development of the ERA and calls for the overall EU funding available for research infrastructures to be raised, especially where there is the greatest scope for European added value, for the funding to be extended after the preparatory phase and for open and excellence-based access to them to be guaranteed;

2nd Layer: Research, Potential, Collaboration and Consolidation

33. This layer should be the space for overall research, both fundamental and applied, including the social sciences and humanities; coordination participants are mainly universities and research centres/institutes; the industrial sector, in particular SMEs, and innovative non-profit organisations should be encouraged to participate and cooperate with academia and public research centres and to act as coordinators, if appropriate; this layer represents the largest share of the FP and should be aimed at developing the strong scientific basis in both basic and applied research that is needed for innovation to spur;

34. The key words here are originality and relevance of the idea, quality and potential for scientific excellence and added-value of projects, including high-risk research and projects concerning “non-technological innovation and social innovation”; the business plan and market potential are positive factors to be considered but not necessary conditions for approval;

35. The funding scheme within this layer is covered by the EU FP grants system and cooperation with Structural Funds associated with R&D&I; synergy of these two funding sources and simplification of interactions between projects financed by the EU and external funding bodies would be beneficial; grants should primarily be aimed at public and private research institutes and innovative SMEs;

36. Calls for a more flexible funding scheme in order to make the Cooperation theme more attractive for SMEs, whereby SMEs would be able to join collaborative projects during the projects implementation where possible, and an open budget line for this should be available for the project; believes that in this way the SME can see the opportunities more clearly since the timeframe from entering the project to market results is shortened;

37. Recalls that the European Research Council (ERC) has proved to be successful in promoting scientific excellence and a strengthening element of the ERA; calls for further improvements to the ERA’s structures and mechanisms and a boost to its instruments; stresses the need to substantially increase the proportion of the budget dedicated to grants both to young and female researchers, and to researchers from innovative SMEs (both research groups and individuals), as well to strengthen Marie Curie actions and initiatives, thus reinforcing mobility (by introducing a “fifth freedom” of knowledge), career progression and collaboration between academia, public research institutes and industry, as well as access to major research infrastructures; calls on industry to become more involved in doctoral and postdoctoral research programmes; calls for the implementation of the necessary measures to guarantee decent working conditions for scientific workers in the EU, making Europe more internationally attractive to researchers, counteracting the exodus of specialists and achieving excellence in Europe;

38. Underlines that the mobility of researchers in Europe should be given priority and calls for a strengthening of measures (such as pension portability and social security provisions, mutual recognition of professional qualifications, measures to reconcile family and work life, and research vouchers following researchers moving to another Member State) that will contribute to the mobility of European researchers, help stem the 'brain drain' and make the prospect of a research career in the EU more attractive; calls for the introduction of a mobility component in the ERC grants where appropriate; calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their effort to facilitate rapid mutual recognition of academic curricula;

39.Believes there is further potential for extending the scope of the ERC concept to collaborative and multidisciplinary research projects, provided they maintain a bottom-up nature and scientific excellence is kept as the major selection criterion;

40. Welcomes the steady progress towards a balanced participation of men and women in the Framework Programme; agrees that measures to boost female participation should be reinforced throughout project lifecycles and that the Commission should reinvigorate its approach to promoting female scientists and should aim to galvanise Member States into addressing gender gaps, with particular attention to overcoming gender-specific obstacles; underlines that the 40 % target for female participation in the Programme and Advisory Committees should be implemented; calls on the Commission to establish, together with the European Institute for Gender Equality, a Gender Action Plan with gender indicators and targets and to monitor its implementation;

41. In line with gender mainstreaming, stresses the need for researchers at all levels to be given the opportunity to postpone the start of a grant or to suspend work on it, for reasons of maternity leave, paternity leave or parental leave, in respect of projects where this is possible, and to have the option of extending the validity of a grant agreement, for the same reasons, in respect of projects where time is not of the essence; calls on the Member States to grant researchers these options;

42. Stresses that full implementation of the European Research Area necessitates legislative measures that enable all EU players to participate in the national programmes, with individual states’ calls for tenders being opened to all and steps being taken to harmonise rules, procedures, contracts and assessment criteria;

3rd Layer: Market and innovation towards common goals

43. This layer should be the space for developing and fostering market uptake of innovative products and services and generation of public benefits; industry, especially innovative SMEs, plays a pivotal role here in developing novel products, services and processes;

44. In view of the need to encourage young people to participate in research and innovation activities and support young entrepreneurs who contribute to R&D&I activities and make use of the results for their local or regional communities' economic and social development, calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue with the Erasmus programme for young entrepreneurs, also in the context of the future multiannual financing framework, and to increase the funding allocated to that programme;

45. Recognises that particular attention should be devoted to SMEs’ involvement, in order to enable the exploitation of new ideas and opportunities in a flexible and effective way as they emerge, opening new avenues for innovation; stresses that a sector-specific definition of SMEs is a prerequisite for their successful participation in the CSF; notes that the success of innovation activities depends also on the skills and experience of management staff;

46. Underlines the need to improve SMEs' local and European access to research and innovation services; is of the opinion that successful programmes, such as Eurostars, have gained important experience in responding to the needs of innovative companies and should therefore be reinforced; calls on efforts at all levels aiming at bringing innovative solutions to specific public sector needs, by engaging small businesses in competitions for ideas that result in short-term development contracts;

47. The funding scheme within this layer is covered by EU funding provided through the EIT, funding associated with CIP, access to credit enhancement by the EIF, specific loans from the EIB (mainly covering projects under EUR 50 million), and cooperation with the Structural Funds associated with entrepreneurship; funding of the EU's innovation policy has, however, a missing link: appropriate funding instruments that respond to the specificities of SMEs; believes that the ERA would greatly benefit from the creation, after due consideration of an impact assessment, of an EU SME Programme, conceived as a specialised branch of the EIB entirely devoted to SME innovation projects;

48. Recalls that the European Institute of Innovation and Technology has proved to be successful and a strengthening element of the European Research Area; (Ex AM 165)stresses the need for KICs with a more narrow focus and consequently a more concentrated network with a smaller sized budget, which also enables more SME participation due to lower annual contribution costs; believes that these smaller KICs can create a single focal point in the EU as a meeting place for scientists from all over the EU in order to better compete on the global market;

49. In order further to increase the participation of SMEs in the programmes, believes that some funding instruments and actions should be considered:

· soft loans, which are reimbursed in the event of success, excluding administrative costs;

· efforts to provide comprehensive funding for SMEs (particularly in the seed and start-up phase) that will cover the full innovation cycle, including for accessing R&D services and advice;

· the RSFF to be applied in such a way that granting of smaller funds is possible via national intermediates;

· easier access to risk and venture capital;

· greater participation of SMEs in the setting of the research agendas;

50. Calls for new and innovative methods of financing to be tested, such as EU project bonds and vouchers for EU innovation, which would allow businesses to spend those resources directly at accredited research centres; such vouchers should not be subject to cost reporting because their use would be certified by the centres where the vouchers are spent; the accreditation centres could be set up on a national or regional basis and validated by a European body such as, for example, the JRC; takes the view that the JRC’s contribution to innovation under the Framework Programme should include enhanced cooperation with industry;

51. Welcomes the EU Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme whose purpose is to identify technology-oriented public sector challenges and fund R&D projects in order to develop new solutions to both old and emerging problems;


52. Takes the view that not all innovation is research-based and that not all research has innovation as its goal; believes in consequence that the proposed reorganisation should cover the full spectrum of activities related to innovation, from concept to market, including non-technological, eco- and social innovation; believes that this should include the promotion of innovative practices (such as innovative and pre-commercial public procurement, inducement prizes, IPR policies and lead market initiatives) and the facilitation of their widespread dissemination; recalls that standardisation should be taken into account in addressing grand challenges and shaping priority areas of CSF, but should not be a new separate instrument or activity;

53. Notes the success of the CIP so far and highlights the vital importance of continuing and further expanding the programme, particularly in order to strengthen innovative SMEs as the driver of the European economy;

54. Stresses, however, that some of the CIP instruments could become the natural extension of the future framework programme, providing continuity for European research and innovation projects; takes the view that the technology developed under framework programme projects could be extended to innovative projects:

– disseminating their use in various industrial and service sectors,

– launching further additional applications in related or complementary fields;

55. Recalls that the very competitive nature of research, scientific, technological and innovation work and the maintenance of local scientific and innovative capacity building depend on the existence of some level of duplication and fragmentation, without which collaborative research would be undermined;

56. Underlines that in order to more effectively attract private investment and to ensure that research and development most effectively contribute to enhancing European competitiveness, appropriate measures should be taken in the Framework programme to establish a strong, efficient regulatory framework for the protection of intellectual property rights at an early stage in the research process;

57. Strongly encourages the implementation of training programmes for all potential participants, particularly on the application of management rules, and calls on the Commission to develop criteria for the selection, evaluation and assessment of training projects, bearing in mind inter alia the stairways to excellence; urges the Commission to take a proactive approach to help public bodies, especially those established in under-represented Member States, to improve their management system by carrying out assessments and to issue recommendations for these bodies to improve their funding applications and project management;

58. Reiterates that simplification of the management of European research funding requires a quantum leap; believes that a key element in simplification is to shift from the current control-based to a more trust-based and risk-tolerant approach, which is of particular benefit for SMEs; calls for the implementation of all identified simplification measures in the new CSF, including an increased margin of tolerable risk of error, a broad acceptance of usual accounting practices, the use of lump sums and flat rates (on a voluntary basis), simplification of the application and contractual procedures and of the rules on pre-financing and the eligibility of costs, a significant reduction of the financial and scientific reporting requirements, shortening of the time-to-contract to maximum 6 months and a significant reduction of the time-to-grant and time-to-pay, and more flexibility for participants in how they organise and manage their projects and choose their partners;

59. Is convinced that simplification should lead to a reduction in the combination of funding rates and indirect costs calculation methods across financing schemes without, however, abolishing the differentiation applying for universities, research organisations and industry;

60. Recommends defining a limited set of common (administrative, financial and organisational) rules and principles that are easy to interpret and that would apply to all EU R&D&I programmes and instruments;

61. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make access to European research programmes easier, for example by setting up a single contact point, establishing a principle of ‘one project, one document’ and setting up a forum for exchange of good practice; in this respect, reiterates the need for an easily accessible single entry point to advice and financial support for potential participants; criticises the current lack of transparency and information on upcoming calls for proposals for research projects, which results in researchers and institutes being unable to properly prepare themselves and therefore impedes their participation;

62. Points out that a coherent policy towards creating a European knowledge-based society implies strengthening the links between education, research and innovation; emphasises that the CSF should address and integrate the entire knowledge chain via, for example, infrastructure development, standardisation, training programmes and measures to support key technologies; encourages all collaboration between universities, businesses and research institutes and believes that skills and technology transfer is a vital component; asks for practical instruments to be provided to foster the transfer of technology from research to industrial application, both in services and in the manufacturing sectors;

63. Calls for stronger intergovernmental participation under the Joint Programming Measures, which would strengthen cooperation in research, development and innovation throughout Europe;

64. Pointing out the importance of Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) and European Technology Platforms (ETPs), recommends offering a specific common framework for all PPPs with clear, simplified common conditions, clearly separating the role of the private sector and the public sector; stresses the need to take effective measures to improve transparency and open access to such instruments by SMEs and the public research sector; invites the Commission to carry out an in-depth analysis of the state of the art, impact and relevance of the currently running different formats of PPPs before consolidating or supporting the establishment of additional ones, in order to improve their governance to ensure better involvement of a greater variety of stakeholders both in setting the research agenda and ensuring access to newcomers; is also convinced that those instruments should be clearly driven by public priority objectives (valuing societal and sustainability results) and be leveraging real private investments;

65. Stresses that the CSF should be an attractive funding mechanism for both private and public sector actors (including also NGOs and CSOs); believes that all participants in high impact R&D&I projects and ETPs should play a role in the priority-setting discussion and have access to research infrastructures;

Some guidelines for the next Framework Programme

66. Favours moving towards a ’science-based’ approach and calls for a trust-based attitude towards researchers and a more risk-tolerant attitude towards participants at all stages of the funding system, including science valorisation and innovation; asks for an appropriate funding model for academic research in the next FP;

67. Believes that the CSF should not be limited to focusing on research-driven or technology-based innovation alone, but that it should support different sources of innovation; points out that many companies – especially SMEs – use other sources of innovation such as clients, markets, users and, not least, employees, and that this form of innovation is often of a more practical nature and is focused on solving specific problematic issues related to processes, services or products, since the proposed solutions are often found by the employees that are closest to the production process, markets and clients; believes, therefore, that the EU should strengthen practice-oriented, employee-driven innovation;

68. Urges the Commission to ensure that overhead costs under HORIZON 2020 are revised; asks the Commission, therefore, to analyse what percentage the overhead costs represent in FP7 and to come forward with proposals to keep it as low as possible;

69. Calls for collaborative research (the current Cooperation Programme) to be kept at the heart of the FP, reinforcing synergies to increase and accelerate the impact and dissemination of research projects performed in cooperation with partners of excellent global standing, both from within and from outside the EU; believes that funding of collaborative research should have greater thematic flexibility (broader calls) and user-friendly funding arrangements in order to attract outstanding scientists and to respond to the needs of both large consortia and smaller groups; believes that the whole innovation chain from exploratory research to large scale pilot projects and demonstrations should be covered, with dedicated ring-fenced budgets to sectors which have developed a strategic vision in order to address societal challenges with long-term investment cycles, where appropriate;

70. Voices its scepticism about the effectiveness of utilising the funds for creating research networks of excellence and organising conferences and events and calls for a strengthening of electronic networking measures for research and innovation and the dissemination of research results via the Internet;

71. Expresses its scepticism about whether it is often possible to finance a single proposal per call, resulting in a waste of the resources invested in their preparation and evaluation and the non-funding of excellent ideas; calls on the Commission to investigate the possibility of funding excellent, non-selected proposals, through an additional research budget (matching research funds) which will also involve Member States and regional and structural funds;

72. Calls for consolidation of multi- and transdisciplinary research and recognition of the social dimension of research; in this context, recalls that grand societal challenges should be dealt with – apart from technological responses – by means of European research in social sciences and humanities and social innovation, which remain a pivotal asset in successfully addressing those challenges; believes therefore that both an independent subject area covering ‘social and economic sciences and the humanities’, and inclusion of it as an increased component in all agenda-driven actions should be secured in the CSF;

73. In order further to attract the interest and involvement of citizens and civil society in research, calls for the continuation of the Science in Society theme as a stand-alone and for its horizontal expansion to cover the great societal challenges; in addition, believes that the Commission should support further development and wider dissemination of guidelines on ethics, and the further development of instruments designed for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs);

74. Calls for research priorities and objectives to be set in a more transparent and participatory way, through the balanced involvement of players, including the scientific community, researchers (also from smaller research organisations), the public sector, CSO organisations and SMEs; calls for the creation of a specific platform for dialogue between CSOs and researchers for discussing research priorities areas in specific sectors; believes that specific platforms for closer interaction of SMEs and researchers should also be promoted;

75. Believes that not only economic, but also societal, ethical and sustainability assessment and evaluation of the specific research programmes is an important process that must be improved and more widely promoted, at both European and Member State level; supports the Commission's initiatives in this field, such as the development of Responsible Research and Innovation principles, and encourages their further promotion and uptake;

76. Calls for a balance to be kept between bottom-up (such as the current FET-open scheme) and top-down projects (‘grand societal challenges’), as well as for smaller bottom-up projects and bottom-up collaborative research to be facilitated; takes the view that lower entry barriers for collaborative projects would lead to a reinforcement of scientific capacity; believes that strategic priorities must be combined with emerging problems; asks the Commission to study the balance between bottom-up and top-down projects and to consider it both from a social and a financial point of view; stresses the need to consult and work together with researchers, industry and civil society actors, in order to set the research agendas;

77. Is in favour of small and medium-sized projects forming the focus of future research funding; believes that small and medium-sized projects are easier and less costly for universities and SMEs to manage; and that they will also enable to increase the hitherto unsatisfactory success rates of applications;

78. Believes that, when certain societal needs are not being met by our present innovation models, new public licensing schemes and innovation inducement prizes can be used to focus research in these areas and to assure the efficacy of public expenditure; calls on the Commission to launch as soon as possible a pilot initiative for inducement prizes in the medical sector;

79. Calls for coherent coverage of the full R&D&I chain though the implementation of transparency rules and clear coordination between the different Commission DGs dealing with research and innovation funding;

80. Calls for an intensification of international cooperation, where appropriate, with the strategic partners of the European Union, including fast growing countries such as the BRICS countries, on a reciprocal basis, in order to better tackle global challenges; recalls that participation of third-country researchers would be encouraged by more simplified procedures and significantly shorter lead times for applications; stresses the need for a stronger scientific capacity building in neighbouring countries, based on a better coordination of the Common Strategic Framework with EU neighbourhood policy instruments; believes that effective reinforcement of capacity building and the establishment of fair and comprehensive partnerships with developing countries is crucial to boosting their sustainable development;

81. Considers that cooperation with third countries in the domain of research with possible dual use should be avoided with any country that does not respect human rights, UN resolutions and international law;

82. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0256.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0236.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0401.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0189.




See European Parliament resolution on women and science, paragraph 2. Texts adopted: P6_TA(2008)0221.


1. Context

The Commission has taken the initiative of publishing a Green Paper that seeks to lay down a common strategic framework for research and innovation funding after 2013, combining the European programmes – namely the Research Framework Programme (FP), the European Institute of Technology (EIT), and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) – with the structural/cohesion funding allocated for research and innovation.

Proposing a common framework encompassing all of the funding schemes and programmes, notwithstanding the inequalities in terms of financing and the firmness of their position within the European context, offers, to my mind, an opportunity to strengthen the European Research Area and devise an approach enabling this consolidation to be effectively dovetailed into a clear-cut convergence strategy.

In this report I am proposing that the existing schemes and programmes be reorganised with a view to tackling the challenges that Europe has to face. In addition, to deal with specific cases, I believe that a new agency should be set up – a European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Investment Bank – and project bonds used to complement the framework put forward by the Commission.

The approach set out here aims first and foremost at stability and convergence. No joint strategy will stand a chance of succeeding if we keep on ‘moving the goalposts’ at every turn. Whatever strategy we adopt in response to our current economic and social situation, investment in research, development, and innovation cannot be considered a certainty for as long as access to the European funding available remains beset by inequalities and intrinsically skewed.

2. The structure and its supports

Europe’s aggregate investment in research, development, and innovation has not been commensurate with its status as the richest region in the world. The United States, Japan, and, for that matter, the BRIC countries have been investing on a larger scale. The total volume of European investment has admittedly risen in recent years, but that fact has not made Europe more cohesive. The very substantial inequalities among the Member States make themselves felt in two main ways. Firstly, scientifically and technologically more advanced countries are continuing to derive greatest benefit from the Europe-wide programmes. The evidence can be seen in, for example, the ‘top 50’ lists of recipients of FP7 funding, which show that, where both academic institutions and industry are concerned, the new Member States and outlying economies continue to be severely underrepresented, not to say completely excluded. Secondly, investment varies enormously from one country to the next. Although Europe’s declared target is to increase overall investment to 3% of GDP by 2020, only 6 countries at present invest more than 2% of their GDP in research and innovation (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, and Sweden); in 10 countries investment is less than 1% of GDP and in 11 others it ranges between 1% and 2%. When the criterion applied is investment per capita, the highest ranked countries are those with the highest rates of investment. Measured against this yardstick, some countries – Luxembourg, for example – rise to the top of the rankings even though their investment, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of GDP, is more modest. The new Member States and outlying economies area again rank near the bottom.

Given the present state of Europe, in which inequalities are mounting, the aim must be to move closer to those in a stronger position and intensify cooperation. To that end, cohesion funding must play a complementary role within the common framework while still being treated as a separate entity.

The approach being put forward in this report seeks to ensure that the common framework allows for the fact that knowledge should not be viewed so narrowly, that is to say, purely as a potentially marketable asset, as to neglect its importance to the public good. The premiss should be that innovation does not result entirely from research, any more than research has to translate invariably into innovation. What is needed is to provide a basis on which to link together the resources available with a view to producing a framework making for coherence in the relationships established between the sources of financing and the nature and scale of projects. The social dimension and impacts of research and innovation also need to be taken into account, and studied, given that we cannot bring effective action to bear when we are not familiar with the societies at which it is aimed.

No matter what we might think of the industrial project as such, Airbus is a case in which Europe has emerged manifestly stronger in the fields under discussion here. What is involved is a highly innovative long-term project pooling a variety of resources that has managed to establish itself in the global context as a success story. The success of the Commission’s proposed reworking will depend on the ability to dovetail projects of the kind described above with projects of other types conceived on another scale, maximising cooperation without ignoring or erasing distinctive local or regional and national features.

3. The Post-it effect

In 1968 Spencer Silver developed a special kind of reusable adhesive that stuck without leaving marks. Precisely because of those characteristics the product flopped. For five years Silver attempted to demonstrate the advantages of his invention, but to no avail. It was only in 1974 that Art Fry, a member of a church choir, decided to start using his friend’s ‘dud’ adhesive because he was fed up with dropping his bookmarks whenever he wanted to open his hymn book on the desired page. Spencer Silver’s invention was not launched as a product until 1977 and it penetrated the market just a year later. Today we know what Post-it notes are and are aware of their success. But all this took ten years to happen. It is plain to see from the Post-it example that funding must not be confined to innovations or projects offering a guarantee of immediate success.

That is why it is so vital to have the ability to draw clear distinctions in terms of the nature of support and projects, whether support is to be channelled towards networks or projects whose object is to strengthen infrastructure in need of consolidation, and for which established support systems are already in place, or towards capacity-building or research projects. The ability to make distinctions is what enables us to combine individual parts into a strategically coherent whole. The example above also demonstrates the need to conceive of a joint effort extending beyond the short and medium term.

Progress towards excellence in every sense of the word – the criteria depend on the actors under consideration – will be impossible unless the necessary resources are earmarked (that is why the volume of investment needs to be increased substantially) and resolute steps are taken to simplify the procedures and cut the cost of red tape and administrative overheads. Because of the continuing problems, it often happens that what is rewarded is the excellent wording of proposals rather than the excellence of the proposals per se. The two conditions set out above consequently have to be fulfilled in order to widen the geographical diversity and the range of participants in European programmes. Furthermore, no progress can be made in this direction without taking into account the great number of scientific disciplines, the varied nature of innovation, the scope for originality and, if need be, the possibility of failure, the social role of science and innovation, and the time to be allowed for the necessary consolidation, depending on the types and scale of the projects involved.

Finally, it is essential to provide the means of striking a balance between projects to meet great societal challenges and bottom-up projects so as to afford scope for curiosity, which has a crucial part to play in consolidating scientific activity. The Post-it example also serves to remind us that even though the market might not be the ultimate goal of knowledge production, excellent market opportunities can sometimes arise out of the blue.

4. The Europe that we have

This report is attempting to reorganise the existing schemes and programmes and provide for new schemes with a view to producing a strategy to benefit stakeholders in overall terms. Research and innovation should be considered a sine qua non for consolidating any growth strategy seeking to be sustainable and inclusive. A commitment along those lines is particularly important in view of the present economic and social crisis.

Strengthening convergence and consolidating the EU’s global competitiveness – which should be based on a cooperation model – are among the ways to achieve economic recovery and bring about a development model based on sustainable growth and job creation.

Within the Europe that we have there are many differences in terms of scientific and technological capacity and the industrial fabric of individual countries. There is, however, one common element: the largest portion of European industry and the one that contributes most to employability consists of small and medium-sized enterprises. More and more arrangements have accordingly been devised in recent years with a view to securing their wider involvement. However, the increase in number has not had the desired effect, and this is one of the weaknesses of the present framework. The lack of involvement is due to some extent to the fact that the existing schemes are better suited to academic institutions and large companies. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the existing schemes and programmes to not apply the same treatment to things which are by definition unlike. With that end in view I have proposed a triple-tiered model, illustrated in the diagram below.

To give an example, as far as an academic institution is concerned, the results of a project are measured by the number of publications or quotations or by the recognition of peers, whereas for a small or medium-sized enterprise, the concept of ‘result’ is more likely to translate into the ability to put a product or service on the market.

The object of the above model is, in short, to enable existing programmes and schemes to work more efficiently in conjunction with new schemes, and to remedy the present unevenness in terms of access and participation.

Coherence and comprehensiveness of the European research and innovation system, covering every sphere from universities to the market while making for the more effective involvement of citizens and those who have traditionally remained outside the process, transparency, and defining clear rules: those are the words that could sum up the proposals contained in this report.

OPINION of the Committee on Budgets (13.7.2011)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the Green Paper: From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding


Rapporteur: Carl Haglund


The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Emphasises that the aim of the Common Strategic Framework is to cover all relevant EU research and innovation funding currently provided through the FP7, the CIP and EU initiatives such as the EIT, on the basis of coherent goals and shared strategic objectives;

2.  Considers that the Structural and Cohesion Funds should complement EU research and innovation funds but cannot replace them, and that, because the principal aims of the respective funds differ, they should continue to be separate during the next multiannual financial framework (MFF); considers, further, that creating greater synergies between these funds is a vital way of ensuring European added value;

3.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposals on extending the use of innovative financial instruments to strengthen the leverage of the EU budget while fully respecting the rights of the budgetary and discharge authorities; asks the Commission to improve framework conditions and access to finance for primary target groups such as SMEs (and particularly seed and early-stage companies), universities and research centres; stipulates that any SME-specific activities should function under the umbrella of the EIB group, providing this does not divert funds from FP7 funding; calls for further evaluation of the concept of so-called ‘soft loans’; expresses its doubts about any such loan arrangements which envisage the possibility of transforming loans into grants; asks the Commission and the EIB to implement the Risk Sharing Financial Facility (RSFF) as a key instrument to finance research and innovation projects and improve competitiveness ensuring long-term economic growth and employment in Europe;

4.  Stresses that a risk-averse culture of EU research funding would prevent financing of high-risk research ideas with the greatest potential for breakthroughs, and advocates therefore a trust-based approach with higher tolerance for risk and failure – involving the use of prizes without substituting properly structured funding – in preference to a purely results-based approach, which is at odds with the very nature of innovative scientific research;

5.  Is convinced that horizontal simplification activities throughout all research and innovation programmes should be one of the highest priorities for the new programme period, together with measures to ensure flexibility, and draws attention to the important decisions on simplification to be taken in the ongoing revision of the Financial Regulation, on matters such as simplifying the rules on pre-financing and eligibility of costs and increasing the scope for awarding research prizes; emphasises the need for further simplification of application procedures and control mechanisms, for the benefit of applicants for European research and innovation programmes;

6.  Asks the Commission to build ‘stairways to excellence’ for all potential research and innovation players in those Member States with a low rate of participation in the FP7, inter alia by encouraging more effective and flexible use of the Structural and Cohesion Funds in this respect, including ways of maximising synergies between funds; underlines the importance of transnational cooperation through collaborative projects and stresses the need to develop dedicated actions to foster excellence across Europe;

7.  Reiterates its position that, with regard to the MFF post-2013, the financial resources dedicated to large-scale projects such as ITER and Galileo should be fixed for the whole programming period and ring-fenced, in order to ensure their planning continuity and organisation stability; believes that any cost overrun must be financed through employing budgetary flexibility, as opposed to the redeployment of funds at the expense of other programmes such as research and innovation;

8.  Strongly supports a further substantial increase in the EU’s annual budgets for research and innovation, as these have been proven to deliver excellent European added value, to support recovery from the economic crisis and to increase competitiveness; emphasises that the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, adopted by the Council, clearly states the need for additional funds for research and innovation;

9.  Stresses the importance of further promoting the complementarity between EU and national R&D funding; calls, in this regard, for greater coordination at EU and national level, through enhanced joint programming efforts, agreed common standards and faster, more flexible and simpler instruments to allow co-funding;

10. Calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to agree without further delay on a specific roadmap for achieving the Europe 2020 target of 3 % of gross domestic product (GDP) expenditure on R&D; calls, in this sense, for a yearly evaluation of the implementation of the 3 % target in the context of the European Semester and points to the massive economic commitment that this target would entail, amounting to around EUR 130 billion annually for both the EU and national budgets and twice as much for the private sector; emphasises, in this respect, the importance of public and private partnerships in achieving the successful creation of the European Research Area and an ‘Innovation Union’;


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Damien Abad, Alexander Alvaro, Andrea Cozzolino, Göran Färm, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazábal Rubial, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Jens Geier, Ivars Godmanis, Estelle Grelier, Carl Haglund, Lucas Hartong, Jutta Haug, Monika Hohlmeier, Anne E. Jensen, Jan Kozłowski, Alain Lamassoure, Giovanni La Via, Barbara Matera, Claudio Morganti, Miguel Portas, Dominique Riquet, László Surján, Angelika Werthmann

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

François Alfonsi, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Frédéric Daerden, Roberto Gualtieri, María Muñiz De Urquiza

OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (14.7.2011)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the Green Paper: From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding


Rapporteur: Lara Comi


The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Calls for the Common Strategic Framework to be coherent with the industrial policy and to promote coordination between research and innovation programmes and the cohesion funds, though not to the detriment of the resources allocated to the funds;

2.  Is of the opinion that, on research and innovation, the European Union is falling behind larger economies like the USA and Japan, as well as huge emerging ones like China; therefore encourages the Commission to propose a Common Strategic Framework which should ensure that EU funds on research and innovation are utilised in an effective manner; considers that a more integrated approach is needed in order further to develop education, research and innovation and to achieve the objective of investing 3 % of GDP in research and development;

3.  Calls for the Common Strategic Framework to effect administrative simplification through the development of a more standardised set of rules covering all participants in EU research and innovation programmes; agrees with the Commission that European standards are an important step towards bringing research results to the market and for the validation of technologies and that they can play this key role only if they keep pace with the development of technologies and ever-faster product-development cycles;

4.  Underlines the role which standardisation might play in the promotion of research and innovation by contributing to competitiveness and offering consumers greater security; therefore calls for the importance given to standardisation to be one of the project assessment criteria;

5.  Believes that innovation and creativity are essential to economic recovery and that the importance of converting the Union’s scientific and technological breakthroughs into new goods and services cannot be underestimated; expects sufficient funds and new investments to be allocated in order to create a genuine single market for knowledge, attracting more innovation-friendly businesses and entrepreneurs, creating new high-added-value jobs and addressing major societal challenges;

6.  Stresses the importance of establishing networks of excellence and of integrating EU policies and the strategies launched by the Member States by strengthening the role of regional and local governments; takes the view that pooling of Member States’ financial resources allocated to research and innovation would bring more added value in terms of results, by opening new opportunities for financing large strategic projects;

7.  Recommends that the European Institute of Technology should be fully integrated into the Common Strategic Framework, with the objective of building a European centre of excellence for enterprise and industry which can compete with global academic players in nurturing and promoting EU innovation skills and competitiveness while addressing the brain drain question, attracting international talent and investing in the knowledge growth economy;

8.  Stresses the importance of promoting the establishment of public-private partnerships; calls for JTIs to be simplified in order to avoid channelling a large amount of financial resources into just a few projects, and calls for the state aid rules to be simplified with complete transparency and by means of effective, unbureaucratic monitoring procedures, so that innovation is not hampered by lengthy processes;

9.  Calls for the public sector’s purchasing power to be unleashed in order to stimulate innovation through public procurement, including pre-commercial procurement, which may enable public authorities to share the risks and benefits with suppliers, without involving state aid; stresses the importance of ensuring that contracting authorities respect the confidentiality of innovative solutions – especially in terms of know-how – presented by tendering companies; proposes the relevant state aid and public procurement rules be simplified and made more flexible; calls for a proactive policy, through support and training, on legal certainty for public authorities and suppliers who choose innovative solutions;

10. Urges the Commission to conduct a financial audit of the EU’s budget priorities for the next financial framework and to prioritise European added-value projects capable of enhancing EU competitiveness and integration in the areas of research, knowledge and innovation;

11. Welcomes the Commission’s intention of improving the framework conditions for business to innovate, in particular with respect to intellectual property rights and the adoption of the EU patent and European standardisation legislation; underlines the need for intellectual property rights to guarantee a balance between exploitation and technology transfer and access to, and rapid dissemination of, scientific results; believes that assistance with patenting should be given to innovative young enterprises, particularly with the establishment of the Community Patent;

12. Is convinced that public spending allocated to research must be subject to qualitative assessment as part of the calculation of public expenditure when the mid-term budgetary objectives are evaluated;

13. Is of the opinion, therefore, that the European Commission and the Member States should recognise the importance of SMEs in boosting innovation in Europe; highlights the fact that further measures are needed in order to support SMEs’ research activities and to facilitate their participation in EU research and innovation programmes with proper information; takes the view that the Commission should improve access to finance and allocate part of the research budget to small players, small research institutions, small and micro research companies and SMEs run by young people and businesswomen, rewarding the establishment of networks or clusters;

14. Calls for new and innovative methods of financing to be tested, such as EU project bonds and vouchers for EU innovation, which would allow businesses to spend those resources directly at accredited research centres; such vouchers should not be subject to cost reporting because their use would be certified by the centres where the vouchers are spent; the accreditation centres could be set up on a national or regional basis and validated by a European body such as, for example, the JRC;

15. Recommends that participation in the projects by venture capital funds and non-EU entities be rewarded;

16. Underlines the need to simplify procedures and to ensure that the scheme features flexible mechanisms in order to keep up with the speed of global change and to enable policy priorities to be updated;

17. Regards synergies between national and regional administrations, universities and research institutes, companies and SMEs and civil society as essential to the successful alignment of research and society’s needs; stresses the need to develop a system which actively encourages the mobility of researchers and scientists between European universities and academic centres, also by facilitating mutual recognition of their professional qualifications and guaranteeing pension portability; underlines that this would stimulate knowledge-sharing and would be highly beneficial to innovation and to the emergence of a European knowledge-based economy;

18. Calls for the role of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) as an internal supplier of scientific and economic analyses for development policy in line with the Europe 2020 strategy to be strengthened; takes the view that the JRC’s contribution to innovation under the Framework Programme should include enhanced cooperation with industry;

19. Takes the view, bearing in mind the fact that the EU is the largest market in the world and that the world economy is becoming more and more knowledge-intensive, that the different EU instruments for research and innovation should constantly adapt and respond to market developments, taking into account the consumer perspective;

20. Proposes that the Commission should find concrete benchmarks to measure innovation performance and progress for all the different EU instruments of research and innovation; believes that there is a need to enhance the dissemination of information and the results achieved from different funding programmes and projects in order to improve understanding of the innovation process and to reduce the gap between European citizens and scientific and technological development;

21. Calls for the simplification and streamlining of rules and procedures in the ERA landscape, given the existence of numerous instruments;

22. Recalls that the 3 % of GDP R&D target is composed of a 2 % (private) and 1 % (public expenditure) share; notes that there are still particular shortcomings in the field of private research spending which can only be overcome by adapting the regulatory environment for companies, including SMEs; supports in particular the Commission’s work on developing a new headline indicator based on the service delivery of innovation as this would be more informative than measuring performance against numerical targets;

23. Welcomes the EU Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme whose purpose is to identify technology-oriented public sector challenges and fund R&D projects in order to develop new solutions to both old and emerging problems;


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Pablo Arias Echeverría, Adam Bielan, Lara Comi, António Fernando Correia De Campos, Jürgen Creutzmann, Christian Engström, Evelyne Gebhardt, Louis Grech, Małgorzata Handzlik, Iliana Ivanova, Philippe Juvin, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Edvard Kožušník, Kurt Lechner, Hans-Peter Mayer, Phil Prendergast, Robert Rochefort, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Catherine Stihler, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Emilie Turunen, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

María Irigoyen Pérez, Morten Løkkegaard, Emma McClarkin, Konstantinos Poupakis, Sylvana Rapti, Olle Schmidt, Wim van de Camp

OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (12.7.2011)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the Green Paper ‘From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding’


Rapporteur: Hermann Winkler


The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that research and innovation are motors vital to the EU in order for it to maintain and strengthen its competitive position, and stresses the considerable contribution of cohesion policy in developing research and innovation in regions; emphasises, in this respect, that regional aid for innovation, research and entrepreneurship has, rightly, grown in significance over the decades; notes that some EUR 86 billion in cohesion policy funds – around 25% of the whole cohesion policy budget – has been earmarked for these purposes, and asks the Commission to analyse whether innovation projects funded under the structural funds could be ensured the same level of visibility as those funded under the Framework Programmes; considers that, in line with the principles and objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the ‘Innovation Union’ flagship initiative, this trend should in any case be maintained, with sustainable (including environmentally and socially sustainable) development being reflected in the allocation of funds – a strong and well resourced regional policy being a precondition in that regard; calls for clear coordination between existing and new initiatives under the Europe 2020 Strategy, encouraging, inter alia, innovations in society based on ‘public-private-people’ partnerships;

2.  Stresses that greater coordination and synergies need to be encouraged between the future common strategic framework for regional policy and the future common strategic framework for research and innovation programmes in order to strengthen European innovation cycles; calls on the Commission to ensure complementarities, setting out how they are to be achieved in practice; highlights, in this respect, the possibilities for creating synergies between the two policies, ensuring each other’s enforcement; stresses that a major challenge for Member States and regions is to create synergies between different funding instruments for research and innovation, in both the public and private sectors, and for financing follow-up to disseminate the results of such projects and make them visible; invites Member States to pay attention to the implementation of these policies at national and regional level, especially where responsibility for different EU funds rests with different national authorities, in order to improve the complementarities between the relevant programmes;

3.  Points out that, at times when financial resources are scarce, it is crucial that funding is allocated to intelligently selected priorities in the regions so as to reach a critical mass;

4.  In the light of the future gearing of cohesion policy to the Europe 2020 Strategy, calls for the ‘innovation’ priority to be binding on both Objective 1 and Objective 2 regions, and for that priority to be reflected in the funding allocated at all levels; points out, however, that setting targets for increased research, development and innovation spending will not in itself lead to results, unless such measures go hand in hand with overall structural development in societies;

5.  Calls on the Commission to propose, alternatively, further incentives for the use of Structural Fund subsidies in the field of innovation;

6.  Advocates a ‘bottom-up’ approach to innovation and stresses the need for the active participation and involvement of all local and regional stakeholders in the design and execution of their regional innovation strategies;

7.  Calls on the regions, in line with the ‘smart specialisation’ approach, to develop tailored innovation strategies that are based on regional competences, current strengths and assets; recommends that regions specify how potential synergies between Structural Funds assistance and the future research and innovation programmes can be put to practical use with a view to establishing strong, competitive international clusters and regional poles of excellence and to catching up with other regions, thus strengthening the regional economy;

8.  Points out, however, that in addition to the individual regions’ interest in economic growth, the EU as a whole should be seen as an innovation area with a view to greater complementarity between regions, the aim being to boost international competitiveness; calls in this regard for better articulation and coordination not only between regional stakeholders and authorities, but also between Member States and European authorities; welcomes, in this regard, the assistance of the Commission, which can provide the regions with valuable support and can ensure that the strategies are of a high quality, without calling into question the principle of subsidiarity; stresses in this context that territorial cooperation and funding for it must be further developed;

9.  Calls for stronger intergovernmental participation in Joint Programming measures and under Interreg III B with a view to strengthening cooperation in research, development and innovation throughout Europe and increasing and enhancing new Member States’ participation in all European research programmes;

10. Believes that local and regional authorities should be encouraged to innovate, notably via the continuation and strengthening of initiatives of the type ‘Regions of Knowledge’, ‘Living Labs’ and ‘Smart Cities’, in which the territorial dimension of Research and Development is fostered;

11. Stresses that a fundamental requirement for such a synergy-generating, integrated strategy is for all authorities involved to be aware of all the funding possibilities; points out that awareness-raising in this regard is also financed from the Structural Funds;

12. Points out that innovation is a broad concept which, above all, is demand and user based as it originates from interaction with the market; is aware of the gap between new knowledge in the research field and the act of putting it into practice; recommends, therefore, as the necessary complement to excellence in technological research, that regional support is focused not only on developing regional excellence, principally at universities and research centres, but also on support for applications, in order to encourage companies to develop innovative methods, to make innovations marketable, and to foster transfers of technology and exchanges of know-how, for the benefit of the community;

13. Stresses the need to establish the concept of the ‘stairway to excellence’, which must entail improving regional networks linking research institutes, universities, SMEs and other relevant stakeholders, so as to create clusters, regional technology platforms and centres of excellence, with a view to helping such networks take part in EU cooperation projects and programmes for research and innovation;

14. Calls for an action plan for the ‘stairway to excellence’ for the establishment of research infrastructure, under the Cohesion Fund and the ERDF, so as to boost participation in the countries concerned in the next Common Framework Programme on Research and Innovation;

15. Stresses that SMEs are important to local and regional development and economies in the EU and to the industrial competitiveness of the Union as a whole, and that they are its main providers of employment; given the need to ensure that SMEs benefit to a greater extent from support for research and innovation, considers that regional support for innovation should focus on SMEs, that the burden of bureaucracy on beneficiaries should be reduced and that the funding programmes should be made more flexible; stresses, in this regard, the added value of the cohesion policy in making regionally oriented SMEs in traditional business fields more innovative by offering greater access to research focused on practical application, transfer of technology and innovation, development of skills, encouragement of an innovation culture and, especially, internationalisation or promotion of entrepreneurship of various types, by means of wider-ranging advisory services and easily accessible support, including in the form of ‘one-stop shop’ initiatives to encourage SMEs to consider new opportunities and make better use of the regional resources available to them; stresses too, in this regard, the potential added value of enhanced SME participation in knowledge and innovation communities (KICs);

16. Stresses that, in the interests of cohesion and of making Europe’s economy more competitive, measures – inter alia to simplify participation procedures and raise awareness – should be taken to improve access to research and innovation for SMEs, including those located in underdeveloped, remote and rural regions;

17. Acknowledges the validity of both the centrally managed approach of FP7 and CIP and the decentralised approach of the Structural Funds; emphasises, however, the need to harmonise rules processes and methods insofar as possible, while ensuring the necessary flexibility, despite the differences in systems of governance; stresses that funding for research and innovation at national and EU levels needs to be more efficient and effective and that there should be a commitment to optimising it, with a view to developing a strategic European research and innovation agenda; considers excessive administrative requirements to be a serious impediment to achieving cohesion policy objectives, and therefore calls for effective action to simplify the processing of grants and the monitoring systems;

18. Welcomes the Commission’s and the EIB’s ambitions to make further use of modern financing instruments such as revolving funds – in addition to risk-sharing facilities – with a view to attracting more private investors and using available public funding more efficiently; expressly recommends that regional stakeholders make use of these possibilities;

19. Calls on the Commission to strengthen synergies between different instruments and funds, to encourage a multi-funds approach, to examine new possibilities for mixed financing and to extend cross-financing from the Structural Funds;


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

François Alfonsi, Charalampos Angourakis, Catherine Bearder, Victor Boştinaru, Zuzana Brzobohatá, John Bufton, Alain Cadec, Francesco De Angelis, Tamás Deutsch, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Elie Hoarau, Brice Hortefeux, Danuta Maria Hübner, María Irigoyen Pérez, Seán Kelly, Mojca Kleva, Petru Constantin Luhan, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Riikka Manner, Iosif Matula, Erminia Mazzoni, Miroslav Mikolášik, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Franz Obermayr, Jan Olbrycht, Markus Pieper, Monika Smolková, Georgios Stavrakakis, Nuno Teixeira, Michael Theurer, Michail Tremopoulos, Oldřich Vlasák, Kerstin Westphal, Hermann Winkler, Joachim Zeller

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Andrea Cozzolino, Karima Delli, Ivars Godmanis, Karin Kadenbach, Marek Henryk Migalski, Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, Elisabeth Schroedter, Derek Vaughan

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Norica Nicolai

OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (15.07.2011)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on Green Paper: From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding


Rapporteur: Giovanni La Via


The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution.

1.  Emphasises the role of research and development as a key factor for social and economic prosperity in Europe, with a view to strengthening territorial cohesion; considers that the financing of research and technological development should be made more effective at national and EU level particularly in the farming sector, which is of strategic importance in socio-economic, environmental and food security terms;

2.  Shares, in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy, belief in the need to fulfil its objectives of intelligent and sustainable growth in this connection, as well as the objective of increasing spending on R&D to reach 3 % GDP by 2020;

3.  Believes that agriculture will need to respond to specific challenges in the coming decades: catering for the food needs of a growing population, with more resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable practices in response to growing scarcities (water, energy, soil depletion, etc.), taking into account the need to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change (drought, flooding, higher salinity); considers that these challenges mean that in the future agriculture will be ever more affected by developments such as significantly falling numbers of farmers and reduced diversity of crops; points out that the local and regional level is the appropriate one for developing synergy between research and technological development policies and cohesion policy, which will have an impact on economic and industrial activities and social practices; stresses the importance of research and eco-innovation in order to make agriculture more sustainable, eco-friendly and competitive on a worldwide scale;

4.  Calls for more research to enhance the smart use of biological (animal and plant production and health and their inputs, biomass availability, forestry management, waste) and physical (land use, soil integrity, water availability, climate change) resources; and the development of economically and environmentally sustainable economic activities; believes that the European Fund for Agriculture and Rural Development can play a key role in developing research and training in the agricultural field; insists on maintaining this fund at no less than its present level of financing;

5.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to step up financial investments in independent biotechnical and biotechnological research in order to meet the challenge of global food security;

6.  Believes that the research and innovation in the field of plant and animal health should consider the possible proliferation of diseases and other growth-inhibiting factors including those stemming from the changing climate; the advancement of knowledge in the sustainable management, production and use of biological resources (microbial, plant and animal) will provide the basis for safer, more eco-efficient and competitive products and services for agriculture and related industries; points out that the EU needs to take advantage of all available innovations to remain competitive on the world market;

7.  Notes with concern the falling growth rhythm of agricultural production, against a backdrop of slower progress in research and innovation in agriculture;

8.  Recognises the crucial role of research and innovation, both for the objective of reducing CO2 emissions in agriculture and for developing renewable energies and increasing the efficiency of bioenergy production with a view to reducing the effects on the agri-food sector;

9.  Considers it crucial that the investment in science should be coupled with investment in the skills of people, with a view to promoting modern farming and the diversification of rural activities; education, training and advisory services are essential components driving knowledge-based growth of rural businesses; it is therefore necessary to focus advisory and training services on the drive for innovation at every level (product innovation, process innovation and management innovation); stresses, above all, the need to support young farmers in developing the skills needed for the administration and management of agricultural enterprises;

10. Notes that agriculture is a cross-disciplinary activity and is best served by multidisciplinary research. Agricultural activity combines the research achievements of several research fields, e.g. technology and life sciences, and depends largely on public policies; believes, further, that it is essential to prioritise transfers of knowledge and experience among European farmers by financing study visit programmes for young farmers;

11. Recommends, in order to improve agri-sector competitiveness, identifying and removing obstacles to transferring research outcomes from the laboratory through to the development, commercialisation and application phases in agri-food and agro-industrial chains;

12. Believes that research and technological innovation need to aim at achieving balanced forms of supporting all participants in the agri-food production chain;

13. Recalls that existing and prospective public policies should contribute to innovation. A bolder approach with emphasis on critical goals and a considerable simplification of administration should be adopted. Possible changes in the administrative and financial system should support multidisciplinary cross-policy and fund financing of innovation;


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Richard Ashworth, Liam Aylward, José Bové, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă, Paolo De Castro, Albert Deß, Herbert Dorfmann, Lorenzo Fontana, Iratxe García Pérez, Béla Glattfelder, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Martin Häusling, Esther Herranz García, Peter Jahr, Elisabeth Jeggle, Jarosław Kalinowski, Elisabeth Köstinger, Agnès Le Brun, George Lyon, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Mairead McGuinness, Mariya Nedelcheva, James Nicholson, Georgios Papastamkos, Marit Paulsen, Britta Reimers, Ulrike Rodust, Alfreds Rubiks, Giancarlo Scottà, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris, Alyn Smith, Marc Tarabella

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Luís Paulo Alves, Salvatore Caronna, Spyros Danellis, Giovanni La Via, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Oreste Rossi

OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries (13.07.2011)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the Green Paper : From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding


Rapporteur: Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa


The Committee on Fisheries calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Emphasises that 70 million members of the EU’s population are dependent on the fisheries sector; in that connection, calls on the Member States to encourage research and development activities with the aim of developing a more competitive, sustainable and up-to-date fisheries sector; points out that consolidated community policies such as agriculture and fisheries, which form the basis of the EU’s economy, notably on the periphery of the Union, require appropriate and targeted scientific support. Stresses that traditional ways of solving sector-specific problems such as environmental impact, provision of feed, health control and integration in coastal zones have long since ceased to be the primary and most important sources of solutions; recommends that the financial framework enable the funding, under the European Fisheries Fund, of facilities and scientific research equipment in the field of fisheries;

2.  Considers it vital that one of the Green Paper's objectives should be achieved, i.e. the future EU budget must focus on instruments with 'added value' and become 'more results-driven'; takes the view that, even though excellence is a fundamental criterion in science, there are some sectors such as fisheries in which applied research is unavoidable in order to define and apply management measures; points out that the objectives of the new CFP, based on the ecosystem approach and maximum sustainable yield, require multidisciplinary and on-the-spot knowledge and assessments which make it possible to draw speedy conclusions on which innumerable business decisions, jobs and marine ecosystem measures depend;

3.  Hopes, in this context, that the Green Paper will mark a change in current scientific policy in relation to fisheries, since the pure pursuit of excellence in this sector has resulted in the abandonment of key chapters such as knowledge of species and their behaviour from the perspective of their utilisation by fleets and their relationship with management measures, and has led many scientists to move away from applied fisheries research and young researchers to reject this field, causing serious shortages of specialised staff at a time when they were most needed, given the state of stocks;

4.  Takes the view that specific budget allocations for calls for proposals within the new Framework Programme and actions deriving from it would help to combat many of the sector’s weaknesses and shortcomings and would also help build a stronger position for fisheries and aquaculture researchers; stresses also that building a strong research and innovation base, both at a European level and in Member States would help to further develop and stimulate a sustainable fisheries and aquaculture sector and make it more competitive, stable and better equipped to meet environmental challenges, in order to ensure the independence of the European fisheries sector vis-à-vis the rest of the world as well as guarantee viability of marine ecosystems and the welfare of the fisheries sector;

5.  Stresses that serious gaps remain in our knowledge of the state of marine ecosystems, fishery resources and reliable scientific data on both target and non target species including deep-sea species, making it necessary to intensify multi-dimensional, cross-sectoral, research efforts in this field in order to properly regulate fisheries, in particular in applying the ecosystem approach; emphasises that, in order to achieve this, cooperation and coordination between EU scientific teams and institutes as well as cooperation between EU scientific teams and their counterparts outside the Community is essential; also considers it necessary to promote cooperation between fishing areas to share best practice and knowledge; calls on the related business sector to implement the research results correctly and effectively; considers that both the stakeholders directly involved and the public at large should be better informed about the research programmes launched and the results they produce;

6.   Welcomes the fact that the Green Paper stresses the need for research that will improve innovation capacity and competitiveness, which, in coordination with the measures envisaged in the EFF, may open up new possibilities for fishing businesses to invest in the development of new, more sustainable fishing techniques, such as new gear, vessels which are less polluting, safer and more comfortable, and measures designed to upgrade the use and value of fish products;

7.   Considers that there is a need for more effective coordination between the research framework programmes and the European Fisheries Fund instruments and with other European programmes;

8.  Believes it will be crucial to EU competitiveness to increase the participation of enterprises in the next Framework Programme; is of the opinion that entrepreneurs, especially owners of micro- and small enterprises such as small-scale coastal fishing enterprises, might be encouraged to participate in European programmes by the establishment of a greater simplified, less bureaucratic, more transparent and easily accessible system; believes that various stakeholders, such as non-governmental organisations, fishermen’s organisations and Regional Advisory Councils, should also be able to apply for small, practically oriented projects;

9.  Notes that framework investigation programmes are primarily focused on fundamental investigation, which requires research programmes provided with specific, sufficient funds for fisheries and aquaculture research in order to sustain the sector and the environmental and sanitation conditions of the fisheries products introduced into the food chain;

10. Points out that the purpose of reforming the Common Fisheries Policy is to ensure the sustainability of fishing practices, so there is a need to fund research into the development of new technologies aimed, for example, at making fishing vessels more selective or reducing fuel consumption by their engines;

11. Takes the view that current financing instruments for research and innovation in the EU are not satisfactorily tailored to research needs in the fisheries and aquaculture sector; stresses that a complete response to the challenges and needs facing the sector requires adapting these instruments in such a way as to take account of its specific features, notably in the field of applied research;

12. Considers that the development of the fleet also needs to be encouraged, in order to establish sustainable fisheries and favourable conditions for small-scale fishing, which is why the new financial framework must focus on research and innovation in this area;

13. Notes that the use of structural funds to invest in research infrastructures contributes to bridging the scientific capacity gap between Member States and improving the participation of some Member States and regions in Community research programmes;

14. Notes that the sustainability of primary food production and other marine activities in shared seas depends on concerted approaches with neighbouring countries; stresses the need for a stronger scientific capacity building in neighbouring countries, based on a better coordination of the Common Strategic Framework with EU neighbourhood policy instruments.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Josefa Andrés Barea, Antonello Antinoro, Kriton Arsenis, Alain Cadec, João Ferreira, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Carl Haglund, Iliana Malinova Iotova, Werner Kuhn, Isabella Lövin, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Guido Milana, Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, Crescenzio Rivellini, Ulrike Rodust, Struan Stevenson, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Chris Davies, Estelle Grelier, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Nikolaos Salavrakos, Antolín Sánchez Presedo, Ioannis A. Tsoukalas

OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (18.7.2011)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the Green Paper: ‘From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding’


Rapporteur: Britta Thomsen


The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas over 60 % of students graduating from universities are women, but the majority of senior positions in universities (e.g. PhD posts and professorships) are still held by men,

B.  whereas since the start of the European Research Council (ERC) in 2007, 1700 projects have been selected to receive funding from the ERC, representing some EUR 2.5 billion in grants, and whereas almost 90% of these grants went to male candidates,

C. whereas a highly problematic ‘glass ceiling’ seems to exists for female researchers, meaning that the share of female researchers decreases with seniority,

D. whereas female entrepreneurship is a key source of increasing the female employment rate, which is one of the aims of the Europe 2020 Strategy, whereas female entrepreneurship ensures business dynamism and innovation, offering a potential which is far from being harnessed in the European Union,

E.  whereas the target rate for participation by women in research was 40 % in FP7 and the figure in the mid-term evaluation was only a disappointing 25.5 %; whereas, however, this is a slight improvement compared to the participation rate of female researchers under the FP6,

F.  whereas the public consultation on the Green Paper on a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding found that gender balance should be fully integrated in all aspects of the Common Strategic Framework,

1.  Reminds the Commission that the FP6 ex post evaluation recommended a Gender Action Plan; calls for a Gender Action Plan to be established as part of the Common Strategic Framework (CSF);

2.  Criticises the fact that the Green Paper ‘From challenges to opportunities: towards a common strategic framework for EU research and innovation funding’ is gender-blind, and the fact that gender mainstreaming is not taken adequately into account;

3.  Calls on the Commission to implement gender mainstreaming in the CSF – including all programmes forming part of the CSF – by setting gender indicators concerning the participation of women in EU-funded research and collecting gender-disaggregated data on the representation of women and men and on the allocation of funding;

4.  Calls on the Commission to step up international cooperation and to promote the role of women in this connection;

5.  Calls on universities and research institutions to implement equality strategies and to enable women’s participation in scientific disciplines;

6.  Calls on the Commission to promote merit-based criteria that help women to pursue a successful career in the R&D&I field on an equal footing with men and to devise methods of positive discrimination for research projects, where female researchers make up 40 % of the total, which should also be the target for female representation in the CSF;

7.  Calls on the Commission to establish a cross-cutting committee to monitor and advise on the representation of female researchers as part of the CSF;

8.  Notes that in the educational systems of many Member States gender stereotypes are still prevailing in research areas such as the natural sciences(1);

9.  Considers it necessary to review the criteria for promotion to senior research positions (e.g. professorships) in order to include a strong gender perspective and address the lack of women in these posts;

10. Calls on the Commission to establish clear links between the CSF and the Gender Equality Institute in Vilnius in order to create a knowledge base for gender mainstreaming and ensure strong participation by female researchers in the CSF; calls on the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to analyse the so called ‘leaking pipeline’, as many young female researchers give up at some point their scientific careers(2);

11. Calls for intangible assets and social accounting to be promoted with a view to fostering a business culture;

12. Calls on the Commission to make a special effort to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and to support their access to adequate finance; welcomes the Commission’s plans to facilitate female entrepreneurship by setting up networks for female employers, but underlines that adequate financial resources and a number of ambitious measures need to be assigned for this purpose;

13. Stresses that mobility of women researchers is an important precondition for their professional advancement and recommends that the next framework programme consist of appropriate measures to enable female scientists to move across the EU while reconciling family and work life;

14. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to improve the situation for female researchers and entrepreneurs through improved childcare facilities, social security provisions and maternity leave; stresses that the reconciliation of work and family life is the responsibility of both men and women;

15. In line with gender mainstreaming, stresses the need for researchers at all levels to be given the opportunity to postpone the start of a grant or to suspend work on it, for reasons of maternity leave, paternity leave or parental leave, in respect of projects where this is possible, and to have the option of extending the validity of a grant agreement, for the same reasons, in respect of projects where time is not of the essence; calls on the Member States to grant researchers these options;

16. Insists that the structural funds and cohesion policies be used in synergy with the Common Strategic Framework to finance initiatives aimed at guaranteeing equal opportunities and increasing female employment in technology and innovation and educating female researchers;

17. Emphasises the importance of promoting non-gender-segregated research areas; calls on universities, EU institutions and Member States to promote science as a field of interest to both sexes from the early stages of education by promoting female researchers as role models and by conducting information campaigns about the possibility of becoming a researcher and about opportunities available in the research field;

18. Stresses the importance of having women represented in leading positions in research institutes as well as in specific and concrete research projects;

19. Calls on universities to appoint at least one female professor to their decision-making bodies, especially the staff appointments committees;

20. Welcomes and supports the activities of platforms which enable female scientists to obtain and exchange information about involvement with programmes, grants and international projects and which give women access to scientific networks and help them to make contacts; therefore requests the Commission to collaborate with social networks and support them in their activities;


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Regina Bastos, Edit Bauer, Marije Cornelissen, Silvia Costa, Edite Estrela, Ilda Figueiredo, Zita Gurmai, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Astrid Lulling, Barbara Matera, Angelika Niebler, Siiri Oviir, Antonyia Parvanova, Nicole Sinclaire, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Eva-Britt Svensson, Britta Thomsen, Marina Yannakoudakis, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Christa Klaß, Mojca Kleva, Mariya Nedelcheva, Norica Nicolai, Chrysoula Paliadeli, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Angelika Werthmann

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Jacek Włosowicz


See European Parliament resolution on women and science, paragraph 2. Texts adopted: P6_TA(2008)0221.


See report on equality between women and men 2010 (COM(2009) 694).


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Jan Březina, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Giles Chichester, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Christian Ehler, Lena Ek, Ioan Enciu, Vicky Ford, Gaston Franco, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, Jacky Hénin, Edit Herczog, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Krišjānis Kariņš, Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, Philippe Lamberts, Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Marisa Matias, Judith A. Merkies, Angelika Niebler, Jaroslav Paška, Aldo Patriciello, Miloslav Ransdorf, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Michèle Rivasi, Paul Rübig, Konrad Szymański, Michael Theurer, Britta Thomsen, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Claude Turmes, Niki Tzavela, Vladimir Urutchev, Kathleen Van Brempt, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Henri Weber

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Francesco De Angelis, Satu Hassi, Jiří Havel, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Alajos Mészáros, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Mario Pirillo, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Hermann Winkler

Last updated: 15 September 2011Legal notice