The European Union recently approved the regulation and development of a new innovation and research program called Horizon 2020, which will last between 2014 through 2020. To date Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation initiative aimed at pushing the EU to the top of a global competitive market in various research and innovation fields. With over €80 billion (US$108,867,000,000) in funding available of the course of the next seven years the EU will move to attract private investment through research and technological discoveries that go from the lab to the market.
The Horizon program is centered around three pillars, which will help it’s funding board decided exactly who gets funding and who doesn’t. The pillars are:
- Support for “Excellent Science” – including grants for individual researchers from the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships (formerly known as Marie Curie fellowships);
- Support for “Industrial Leadership” – including grants for small and medium-sized enterprises and indirect finance for companies through the European Investment Bank and other financial intermediaries;
- Support for research to tackle “societal challenges”. During negotiations between the European Parliament and Council it was decided to support research towards meeting seven broad challenges:
- Health, demographic change and wellbeing
- Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy
- Secure, clean and efficient energy
- Smart, green and integrated transport
- Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
- Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
- Secure & innovative societies
By combining research and innovation as a primary objective, the Horizon 2020 program will hopefully position the EU into a competitive position in market development considering the rise globalization and interdependent economies.