Vote sets seal on funding for UK research

21-Nov-2013 @ 12:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative MEPs today have helped deliver a keyfunding package which is expected to lead the way for millions of pounds toflow into the UK and support Britain's cutting edge laboratories, researchinstitutions as well as innovative and inventive businesses.

The so-called Horizon 2020 framework programme forresearch and innovation was approved by the European Parliament sitting inplenary session in Strasbourg. The vote follows many months of detailednegotiation in which Conservative MEP Vicky Ford was the only Britishnegotiator.

The seven year programme dedicates £70 billion toresearch and development across Europe.

It focuses funding in three separate pillars: excellencein largely academic-based blue-sky research, supporting industrial companies ininnovative areas, and finally addressing the so called "grandchallenges" such as food and energy security, climate change anddemographic trends. Twenty per cent of the funding is earmarked for small andmedium sized businesses and there will be dedicated funding for smallerinnovative companies.

Mrs Ford said: "Yesterday Conservatives delivered anhistoric cut in the EU's long-term budget. Today we are making sure that moneywill be better spent.

"A key to this has been dismantling the bureaucracywhich has weighted down previous research programmes. We have also won thebattle to make sure that funds will be allocated to the best bids. Thesechanges will direct money to the centres with the best ideas, expertise andpotential – not the ones who are best at filling in forms."

The Eastern Region MEP added: "This is one of thefew areas where the UK gets more back from the EU than it puts in. In my ownregion, 20 per cent of the research at Cambridge University is funded by EUgrants. The funding is even more important to some less well knowninstitutions.

"Since 2007, over £450 million has come fromBrussels just to the East of England's universities and businesses in forresearch projects, across the whole of the UK it is many billions.

"From curing cancer to tackling crop disease, fromenergy to industrial efficiencies, in small businesses as well as big. Researchlike this is the lifeblood of progress and enterprise, so we must keep itflowing."

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