Unanimous vote upholds seven-year research budget

26-Sep-2013 @ 18:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

MEPs today voted through an agreement on the EU's next seven-year funding programme for science and research, giving the Horizon 2020 package a budget of around £60bn to take European innovation into the next decade.

The unanimous vote by the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee, was supported by Vicky Ford MEP, Conservative negotiator on the package.

Horizon 2020 will focus funding in three separate pillars: excellence in largely academic-based blue-sky research, supporting industrial companies in innovative areas, and finally addressing the so called "grand challenges" such as food and energy security, climate change and demographic trends. Twenty per cent of the funding should go towards small and medium sized businesses and there will dedicated funding for smaller innovative companies.

Mrs Ford said: "Historically, these EU research programmes have been bound by bureaucracy. I gathered evidence from UK universities and organisations over the past three years and we have agreed on a range of changes to reduce red tape. We want our scientists to be at work in the lab, not filling out lengthy forms.

"I have been determined that grants should be awarded on the basis of excellence so that funding goes to those who put forward the best case

"This is one of the few areas where the UK gets back the cash it sends to the EU. To name an example, Cambridge University estimates that 20 per cent of the work undertaken by its researchers is funded by EU grants. Since 2007, over £450 million has come from Brussels into universities and companies in my region the East of England for research projects.

"Recent studies show that collaborative research often has a bigger impact than individual researchers working alone. From curing cancer to tackling crop disease, from energy to industrial efficiencies, in small businesses as well as big. Research like this is the lifeblood of progress and enterprise, so we must keep it flowing."

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