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The role of standardization in Horizon Europe - the European Commission’s newly proposed Framework Programme for Research and Innovation


07 Jun 2018


Innovation & Enterprise

7 June 2018 – Today, the European Commission presented the communication [COM(2018) 435)] on the next Framework Programme on Research and Innovation ‘Horizon Europe’ (FP9). CEN and CENELEC welcome this ambitious proposal, which is crucial for the global competitiveness of EU industry, and recognizes standardization (Article 2) as a key tool for the dissemination and exploitation of research and innovation activities.

Horizon Europe comes in the context of the proposed Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), i.e. the EU budget for the next 7 years that will have to deliver on EU post-2020 priorities.
The proposed Horizon Europe programme is designed to spread excellence in Europe, build a society based on knowledge and innovation, foster EU industry’s competitiveness and to enhance the delivery of EU’s strategic policy priorities through an increased collaboration across sectors. It will enter into force on 1 January 2021 for a period of 7 years, replacing the current Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020) [COM(2011) 808].

Our contribution in European research and innovation projects

European standardization is a key tool to deliver Horizon Europe objectives, ensuring the deployment and uptake of innovation by European and global markets.

The contribution of standardization to Framework Programmes (FP) for Research and Innovation of the European Union dates back to the early nineties under FP4 (the Standards, Measurement and Testing Subprogram (SMT)) and FP5. In later Framework Programmes, standardization became a horizontal support tool relevant across all research areas.

In 2008, the European Council Conclusions on ‘standardisation and innovation’ formally recognized “the essential contribution which standardisation can make towards developing innovation and competitiveness, by facilitating access to markets, enabling interoperability between new and existing products, services and processes, enhancing protection of users, giving consumers confidence in innovations and disseminating research results”.

Our experience with FP6, FP7 and more recently with Horizon2020 projects has shown that the successful integration of standardization activities in research and innovation projects leads to impactful market results, which are widely disseminated on the European as well as global markets. Under Horizon 2020, CEN and CENELEC Members took part in more than 50 research projects.

European Standardization and Horizon Europe

Standardization will play a key role in each of the three proposed pillars under the new research framework :

1. The ‘Open Science’ pillar: 
In the context of the ‘Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions’ (MSCA) component of this pillar, CEN and CENELEC can contribute to a highly-skilled and resilient human capital base in research and innovation through our ‘Education about standardization’ activities, supporting researchers in enhancing their entrepreneurial, digital and innovative skills.

2. The ‘Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness’ pillar: 
Standardization is one of the key drivers of sustainable economic growth and industrial competiveness. In order to address the global challenges ahead of us (global warming, secure societies, clean energy, etc.), CEN and CENELEC already work on all the 5 priorities (‘clusters’) identified by the European Commission in Horizon Europe,:

3. The ‘Open Innovation’ Pillar
Through this pillar, the European Commission wishes to tackle the new global wave of breakthrough innovation based on “deep-tech” technologies such as block-chain, artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies, which impact traditional sectors like manufacturing, financial services, transport or energy. European and international standardization work is already addressing these challenges such as: support to EU’s industrial priorities and environmental goals, identity management, interoperability between systems, as well as the interconnection between safety and (cyber)security.

CEN and CENELEC commitment to Horizon Europe

CEN and CENELEC are fully committed to supporting the future Horizon Europe programme. We remain determined to reinforce the links between standardization, innovation and research, and are ready to collaborate with the European Commission and other main actors in the European Research Area and the European Innovation Union to provide a long-term framework to link appropriate research results and innovation with standardization.

We also welcome the proposed creation of a ‘European Innovation’ Council (EIC) that will “bridge the ‘valley of death’ between research, commercialisation and the scaling-up of companies” and look forward to explore with the EIC how standardization can effectively contribute to these aims.

Moreover, through our partnerships with the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which promote the high-level convergence between European and International Standards, we facilitate the global uptake of European innovations, thus contributing to the Horizon Europe ambition to “making Europe a world-class leader in research and innovation” (Vice-President Jyrki KATAINEN Vice-President of the EC in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness).

We look forward to working together with Commissioner Moedas and the European Commission services to “keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation”, to build on Horizon 2020 success, and exploit the benefits of standardization to make “a real difference in the lives of citizens and society as a whole.”

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