Research and innovation

A major prerequisite for the enhancement of European competitiveness is the continuous development of research and innovation in Europe. The Cyprus Presidency will continue the work towards the implementation of the “Innovation Union” flagship, including the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). The Presidency’s main focus will be to advance the negotiations on the legislative proposals for both the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

  • Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the Union’s new funding programme for research and innovation for the period 2014-2020, which will bring together the existing funding for European research and innovation, currently provided through the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). In addition to this, H2020 incorporates important simplification measures, which include a single set of rules for participation, simpler funding rules, fewer and more effective controls and audits with a better balance between trust and control and other, aiming to facilitate access to participants, especially the SMEs and to reduce the time to grant.

    Horizon 2020 is structured around three pillars:

    “Excellent Science”, aiming to improve the quality of research conducted in Europe, through the development of top-level research infrastructures and the attraction of top-level researchers.

    “Industrial Leadership”, aiming to create favourable environment for businesses to invest in research and innovation in Europe, with particular focus on improving the access to finance and on enhancing the growth potential of innovative SMEs.

    “Societal Challenges”, aiming to make the most of research and innovation for tackling major common concerns among EU citizens, such as: health, demographic change and wellbeing; food security, sustainable agriculture, marine research and the bio-economy; secure, clean and efficient energy; smart, green and integrated transport; climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials; and, Inclusive, innovative and secure societies.

    The Commission proposal for Horizon’s 2020 budget is €80 billion for the period 2014-2020.

    The Cyprus Presidency will continue the negotiation process for the H2020 from the point reached by the Danish Presidency, aiming to reach agreement among the Member States in the four legislative proposals of H2020 package.

  • The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was established in March 2008, with a main objective of strengthening the innovation capacity of Member States, thus contributing to the enhancement of economic growth and competitiveness in Europe.

    EIT is considered a pioneer in applying the Knowledge Triangle in such a way that it ensures the integration of Research, Higher Education and Business in all its activities, through a new concept of cross-border public-private-partnerships known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). Currently, the EIT operates three KICs in the fields of sustainable energy, climate change and information and communication technologies, whilst the Commission’s proposal includes the set up of six new KICs during the period 2014-2020.

    The Cyprus Presidency will progress the negotiations on the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda and on the amended Regulation of EIT, aiming to reach an agreement among the Member States on these two legislative proposals. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology Conference will take place on the 8 and 9 November 2012, in Larnaca.

  • The development of the European Research Area (ERA) by 2014 is one of the major initiatives included in the Innovation Union Flagship. The aim of this initiative is to increase the efficiency of the European research system through better exploiting the potential for cross-border synergies and complementarities, thus enabling the circulation of researchers and knowledge across Europe. To achieve this, it is required to overcome existing fragmentation and remaining obstacles related to mobility of researchers, cross-border operation of funding and research performing organisations, access to European research infrastructures, and cross-border knowledge transfer.

    The launch of the Commission’s communication on ERA Framework is expected to address these issues, and serve as the basis for the achievement of strategic policy coherence and coordination of actions between EU and Member States.

    The Cyprus Presidency anticipates the initiation of intense discussions on the Commission’s proposal on ERA Framework and will organise the European Research Area Framework Conference on the 14 November 2012, in Nicosia.