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Horizon Europe: S&Ds strengthen criteria for excellence and social impact of Research and Innovation grants

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Innovation & Enterprise
The next Horizon Europe (2021-2027) research and innovation programme will build on the success of Horizon 2020 to drive scientific excellence and include new features such as missions and the creation of a European Innovation Council (EIC).
Today the European Parliament backed a deal reached with the EU Council that includes important priorities for the S&D Group such as climate mainstreaming, the partnerships and mission areas, the increasing participation for low R&I member states and a role for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the EIC.
The EIC has been in a pilot phase until now and it will be a one-stop shop to connect lab’s achievements on disruptive and breakthrough innovations with their potential market application. It should also help start-ups and SMEs and support innovators through its funding instruments.
 
S&D MEP Dan Nica, rapporteur for the Regulation establishing the Framework Program and rules of participation and dissemination and S&D spokesperson on industry, energy and research, said:
“The world is facing big challenges and Europe needs more research and innovation to face them: from health related challenges, job losses due to new technological advances to climate change. It is clear that the EU brings an added value of knowledge sharing and joint scientific efforts.
“The goal is to raise the level of scientific excellence in the EU as a whole, and also to bridge the research and innovation gap within the Union. This has been achieved by recognising the need to reduce the remuneration gap between researchers in the EU and by increasing the budget dedicated to spreading excellence and widening participation to up to 3.3 % of the programme.
“It will be up to the next Parliament and Council to agree on the final budget of this programme. It is important that they keep the level of ambition that we have requested:  €120 billion. Only so Europe can become more competitive, address the key challenges that our world is facing and stay at the forefront of knowledge and innovation.”
 
Soledad Cabezón, S&D negotiator of the Decision on the Specific Horizon Europe Programme, said:
“Research is crucial if we want to pave the way for a just transition to a more sustainable society and economy, avoiding new inequalities and reducing existing ones in the big transformations of our time. This is why research and innovation will be strengthened in the next seven years and it will be easier for the SMEs to participate, because they are the main engine of economic growth and jobs in the EU. A European Innovation Council will be established and it will allocate 70% of its budget to SMEs.
“Another important aspect is that research on health will also focus on new challenges and issues that have become more prevalent among the population, such as different kinds of cancer, preventive medicine, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative problems.
“The social impact will be taken into consideration from now on as a criterion to stimulate research and there will be a specific support to research on gender and improved provisions to facilitate the participation of women in science.”

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