Ford urges businesses and scientists to bid for money from Brussels

31-Jan-2014 @ 13:0

No items found.

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative MEP Vicky Ford was once again standing up for British science and research when she delivered a speech at the Royal Society in London today.

The East of England MEP has spent the past two years negotiating a £70 billion investment in science and research. She has been the only one of the MEP lead negotiators to come from the UK. The Horizon 2020 program is intended to help scientists and innovative businesses collaborate across Europe and further afield. The next generation of research requires unprecedented levels of co-operation and investment. This fund will be a significant step towards delivering the future medicines, communications and food that the world will need.

Universities in the East of England secured over £50 million in funding from EU research bids last year alone and Horizon 2020 is expected to result in over £500 million of investment in the region. London and the South East do even better.

Mrs Ford said: "This is one of the few areas of spending where the UK gets back more than it puts into the EU budget and there are already more British scientists and researchers taking part in projects than from any other country. Cambridge University already tops the European league table and other British Universities are also particularly well placed to receive Horizon 2020 investment. I am encouraging them as well as businesses to increase their applications for funding over the next 6 years."

Mrs Ford said that in the past, UK organisations have missed out on funding due to EU bureaucracy. She has driven through many changes including cutting paperwork, speeding up times for grant decisions to be made, increasing transparency of decision making and introducing a better complaints system to deal with problems.

Seven per cent of investment has been ring fenced for a 'small business fund'. This means that smaller companies will not necessarily need to join huge consortia in order to access Horizon funding.

Mrs Ford said: "Science and innovation is key to driving economic growth, creating jobs and to solving the world's biggest problems. The UK has some of the best scientists and ideas in the world. Working with experts in other countries can help harness excellence and lead to even greater discoveries. International collaborative research like this is not for everyone, it can be very competitive - but if you think it might work for you then do look at what is on offer.

"I hope these changes to reduce red tape and help smaller companies will mean scientists and researchers can spend more time in the lab and less time filling out papers and that this will help bring even more investment thus helping jobs and economic growth."

« Back