3 July, Brussels – The European Commission’s independent High Level Group (HLG) on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes has published its recommendations for European Framework Programmes, focusing on measures for improving innovation performance.
In order to support a true EU innovation policy, the HLG calls for new ecosystems for researchers, innovators, industries and governments. The proposed European Innovation Council would play a key role here, acting as a “permanent, high-level strategic body empowered to invest in entrepreneurs and businesses, irrespective of size, sector or maturity, with risky innovations that have rapid scale-up potential at the cross-roads of different technologies and disciplines.”
In calling for greater impact, the HLG also requests a clearer definition of impact, ‘beyond GDP’, looking at the impact on science, skills, competitiveness of European Industry, Member State performances and impact on policy-making. These impacts should also have clear indicators and be monitored throughout the operation of the programme, which can be clearly communicated to society.
Elsewhere, the HLG calls for greater focus on purpose and impact in defining call topics. This includes maintaining, but improving, the three-pillar structure:
- Science and Skills – with priorities set by researchers, and with heavy involvement from the European Research Council;
- Innovation and Competitiveness – with priorities set by industry, and with a key role for the European Innovation Council;
- Global Challenges – with priorities set by society, focused on clear missions, defined with reference to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In line with the European Parliament’s Own-Initiative Report, the HLG call for a minimum budget of €120 billion for FP9, whilst also offering a more ambitious option of doubling the current budget. The HLG also recommends that R&I funding be streamlined, with a reduction in the number of instruments.
The HLG, chaired by Pascal Lamy, was set up as part of the Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020, and the report should impact both the 2018-2020 Work Plans, as well as the Horizon 2020 FP9 follow-up. The European Commission will publish its proposals for FP9 in early 2018. The full list of recommendations made by the High Level Group are:
- Prioritise research and innovation in EU and national budgets;
- Build a true EU innovation policy that creates future markets;
- Educate for the future and invest in people who will make the change;
- Design the EU R&I programme for greater Impact;
- Adopt a mission-oriented, impact-focused approach to address global challenges;
- Rationalise the EU funding landscape and achieve synergy with structural funds;
- Simplify further;
- Mobilise and involve citizens;
- Better align EU and national R&I investment;
- Make international R&I cooperation a trademark of EU research and innovation;
- Capture and better communicate impact.
Click to access the full report, ‘LAB-FAB-APP: Investing in the European Future We Want’.