Considerations on COM(2011)809 - Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

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table>(1)It is the Union's objective to strengthen its scientific and technological bases by achieving a European Research Area ("ERA") in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and by encouraging the Union to advance towards a knowledge society and to become a more competitive and sustainable economy in respect of its industry. To pursue that objective the Union should carry out activities to implement research, technological development, demonstration and innovation, promote international cooperation, disseminate and optimise results and stimulate training and mobility.
(2)It is also the Union's objective to ensure that the conditions necessary for the competitiveness of Union industry exist. For this purpose, action should be aimed at fostering better exploitation of the industrial potential of policies of innovation, research and technological development.

(3)The Union is committed to achieving the Europe 2020 strategy which set the objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, highlighting the role of research and innovation as key drivers of social and economic prosperity and of environmental sustainability and setting itself the goal of increasing spending on research and development in order to attract private investment of up to two thirds of total investments, thereby reaching an accumulative total of 3 % of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020 while developing an innovation intensity indicator. The general budget of the Union should mirror this ambitious goal by making a shift towards funding future-oriented investments, such as research, development and innovation. In this context, the flagship initiative Innovation Union of the Europe 2020 strategy sets out a strategic and integrated approach to research and innovation, setting the framework and objectives to which future Union research and innovation funding should contribute. Research and innovation are also key factors for other flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, notably Resource-efficient Europe, An industrial policy for the globalisation era, and Digital Agenda for Europe, and other policy objectives, such as climate and energy policy. Moreover, for achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy relating to research and innovation, cohesion policy has a key role to play through capacity-building and providing a stairway to excellence.

(4)The Commission Communication of 19 October 2010 entitled 'The EU Budget Review' put forward key principles which should underpin the future general budget of the Union, namely focusing on instruments with proven Union added value, becoming more results-driven and leveraging other public and private sources of funding. It also proposed to bring the full range of Union instruments for research and innovation together in a common strategic framework.

(5)The European Parliament called for the radical simplification of Union research and innovation funding in its resolution of 11 November 2010 (4), highlighted the importance of the Innovation Union to transform Europe for the post-crisis world in its resolution of12 May 2011 (5), drew attention to important lessons to be learned following the interim evaluation of the Seventh Framework Programme in its resolution of 8 June 2011 (6) and supported the concept of a common strategic framework for research and innovation funding in its resolution of 27 September 2011 (7).

(6)On 26 November 2010, the Council called for future Union funding programmes to focus more on Europe 2020 priorities, address societal challenges and key technologies, facilitate collaborative and industry-driven research, streamline the instruments, radically simplify access, reduce time to market and further strengthen excellence.

(7)At its meeting of 4 February 2011, the European Council supported the concept of the common strategic framework for Union research and innovation funding to improve the efficiency of such funding at national and Union level and called on the Union to rapidly address remaining obstacles to attracting talent and investment in order to complete the ERA by 2014 and to achieve a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.

(8)The Commission Green Paper of 9 February 2011 entitled From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding identified key questions on how to achieve the ambitious objectives set in the Commission Communication of 19 October 2010 and launched a broad consultation, in the course of which stakeholders and Union institutions largely agreed with the ideas presented therein.

(9)The importance of a coherent strategic approach was also underlined in opinions delivered by the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) on 3 June 2011, the Committee of the Regions on 30 June 2011 (8), and the European Economic and Social Committee on 13 July 2011 (9).

(10)In its Communication of 29 June 2011 entitled A Budget for Europe 2020, the Commission proposed to address with a single common strategic framework for research and innovation the areas covered by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013) ('the Seventh Framework Programme') adopted by Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (10), and the innovation part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007 to 2013) established by Decision No 1639/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (11), as well as the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (the EIT) established by Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council (12), in order to contribute to attaining the Europe 2020 strategy target of raising spending on research and development to 3 % of GDP by 2020. In that Communication, the Commission also committed to mainstream climate change into Union spending programmes and to direct at least 20 % of the general budget of the Union to climate-related objectives.

Climate action and resource efficiency are mutually reinforcing objectives for achieving sustainable development. The specific objectives relating to both should be complemented through the other specific objectives of Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2014-2020 ('Horizon 2020'), established by this Regulation. As a result it is expected that at least 60 % of the overall Horizon 2020 budget should be related to sustainable development. It is also expected that climate-related expenditure should exceed 35 % of the overall Horizon 2020 budget, including mutually compatible measures improving resource efficiency. The Commission should provide information on the scale and results of support to climate change objectives. Climate-related expenditure under Horizon 2020 should be tracked in accordance with the methodology stated in that Communication.

(11)Horizon 2020 focuses on three priorities, namely generating excellent science in order to strengthen the Union's world-class excellence in science, fostering industrial leadership to support business, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation, and tackling societal challenges, in order to respond directly to the challenges identified in the Europe 2020 strategy by supporting activities covering the entire spectrum from research to market. Horizon 2020 should support all stages in the research and innovation chain, including non-technological and social innovation and activities that are closer to the market, with innovation and research actions having a different funding rate based on the principle that the closer to the market the supported activity is, the larger the additional funding from other sources should be. Activities closer to the market include innovative financial instruments, and they aim to satisfy the needs of a broad spectrum of Union policies by placing emphasis on the widest possible use of knowledge generated by the supported activities up to the commercial exploitation of that knowledge. The priorities of Horizon 2020 should also be supported through a programme on nuclear research and training established by Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1314/2013 (13).

(12)Horizon 2020 should be open to new participants with a view to ensuring extensive and excellent cooperation with partners throughout the Union and with a view to ensuring an integrated ERA.

(13)The Joint Research Centre (JRC) should provide customer-driven scientific and technical support to Union policies while flexibly responding to new policy demands.

(14)In the context of the knowledge triangle of research, innovation and education, the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) under the EIT should strongly contribute to addressing the objectives of Horizon 2020, including the societal challenges, notably by integrating research, innovation and education. The EIT should foster entrepreneurship in its higher education, research and innovation activities. In particular, it should promote excellent entrepreneurial education and support the creation of start-ups and spin-offs.

(15)In accordance with Article 182(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Horizon 2020 fixes the maximum overall amount and lays down the detailed rules for Union financial participation therein and the respective shares in each of the activities provided for.

(16)This Regulation lays down a financial envelope for the entire duration of Horizon 2020 which is to constitute the prime reference amount, within the meaning of point 17 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (14), for the European Parliament and the Council during the annual budgetary procedure.

(17)An appropriate proportion of the budget for research infrastructures should be devoted to e-infrastructures.

(18)Activities within the specific objective Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) should be complementary to the activities within the other parts of Horizon 2020 and, where possible, synergies should be sought.

(19)It is appropriate to ensure a correct closure of Horizon 2020 and its predecessor programmes, in particular regarding the continuation of multi-annual arrangements for their management, such as the financing of technical and administrative assistance.

(20)Simplification is a central aim of Horizon 2020 which should be fully reflected in its design, rules, financial management and implementation. Horizon 2020 should aim to attract the strong participation of universities, research centres, industry and specifically SMEs and be open to new participants, as it brings together the full range of research and innovation support in one common strategic framework, including a streamlined set of forms of support, and uses rules for participation with principles applicable to all actions under Horizon 2020. Simpler funding rules should reduce the administrative costs for participation and contribute to the prevention and reduction of financial errors.

(21)Horizon 2020 should contribute to the aims of the European Innovation Partnerships in line with the flagship initiative Innovation Union, bringing together all relevant actors across the whole research and innovation chain with a view to streamlining, simplifying and better coordinating instruments and initiatives.

(22)With the aim of deepening the relationship between science and society and reinforcing public confidence in science, Horizon 2020 should foster the informed engagement of citizens and civil society in research and innovation matters by promoting science education, by making scientific knowledge more accessible, by developing responsible research and innovation agendas that meet citizens' and civil society's concerns and expectations and by facilitating their participation in Horizon 2020 activities. The engagement of citizens and civil society should be coupled with public outreach activities to generate and sustain public support for Horizon 2020.

(23)There should be an appropriate balance between small and large projects within the priority Societal challenges and the specific objective Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies.

(24)The implementation of Horizon 2020 should respond to the evolving opportunities and needs of science and technology, industry, policies and society. As such, the agendas should be set in close liaison with stakeholders from all sectors concerned, and sufficient flexibility should be allowed for new developments. External advice should be sought on a continuous basis for the duration of Horizon 2020, also making use of relevant structures such as European Technology Platforms, Joint Programming Initiatives, the European Innovation Partnerships as well as advice from scientific panels, such as the Scientific Panel for Health.

(25)The activities developed under Horizon 2020 should promote equality between women and men in research and innovation, by addressing in particular the underlying causes of gender imbalance, by exploiting the full potential of both female and male researchers, and by integrating the gender dimension into the research and innovation content as well as by paying particular attention to ensuring gender balance, subject to the situation in the field of research and innovation concerned, in evaluation panels and in other relevant advisory and expert bodies in order to improve the quality of research and to stimulate innovation. Activities should also aim at implementation of principles relating to equality between women and men as laid down in Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union and in Article 8 TFEU.

(26)Horizon 2020 should contribute to the attractiveness of the research profession in the Union. Adequate attention should be paid to the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, as set out in the Commission Recommendation of 11 March 2005 (15), together with other relevant reference frameworks defined in the context of the ERA, while respecting their voluntary nature.

(27)In order to be able to compete globally, to effectively address major societal challenges, and to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, the Union should make full use of its human resources. In that context, Horizon 2020 should contribute to achieving the ERA, encouraging the development of framework conditions to help European researchers to remain in or to return to Europe, attract researchers from around the world and make Europe a more attractive destination for the best researchers.

(28)To increase the circulation and exploitation of knowledge, open access to scientific publications should be ensured. Furthermore, open access to research data resulting from publicly funded research under Horizon 2020 should be promoted, taking into account constraints pertaining to privacy, national security and intellectual property rights.

(29)Research and innovation activities supported by Horizon 2020 should respect fundamental ethical principles. The opinions of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies should be taken into account. Article 13 TFEU should also be taken into account in research activities, and the use of animals in research and testing should be reduced, with a view ultimately to replacing their use. All activities should be carried out ensuring a high level of human health protection in accordance with Article 168 TFEU.

(30)Horizon 2020 should have due consideration for equal treatment and non-discrimination in research and innovation content throughout all stages of the research cycle.

(31)The Commission does not explicitly solicit the use of human embryonic stem cells. The use, if any, of human stem cells, be they adult or embryonic, depends on the judgment of the scientists in view of the objectives they want to achieve and is subject to stringent ethics review. No project involving the use of human embryonic stem cells should be funded that does not obtain the necessary approvals from the Member States. No activity should be funded that is forbidden in all Member States. No activity should be funded in a Member State where such activity is forbidden.

(32)To achieve maximum impact, Horizon 2020 should develop close synergies with other Union programmes in areas such as education, space, environment, energy, agriculture and fisheries, competitiveness and SMEs, internal security, culture and media.

(33)Both Horizon 2020 and the cohesion policy seek a more comprehensive alignment with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. This approach calls for increased synergies between Horizon 2020 and the cohesion policy. Therefore Horizon 2020 should also develop close interactions with the European Structural and Investment Funds, which can specifically help to strengthen local, regional and national research and innovation capabilities, particularly in the context of smart specialisation strategies.

(34)SMEs constitute a significant source of innovation, growth and jobs in Europe. Therefore the strong participation of SMEs, as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC (16), is needed in Horizon 2020. This should support the aims of the Small Business Act, as set out in the Commission Communication of 25 June 2008 entitled ''Think Small First" - A 'Small Business Act' for Europe". Horizon 2020 should provide a range of means to support the research and innovation activities and capacities of SMEs throughout the different stages of the innovation cycle.

(35)The Commission should carry out evaluations and record the rate of participation by SMEs in Horizon 2020. If the target of 20 % of the total combined budget for the specific objective 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies' and the priority 'Societal challenges' going to SMEs is not achieved, the Commission should examine the reasons for this situation and should propose, without delay, adequate new measures for allowing SMEs to increase their participation.

(36)The implementation of Horizon 2020 may give rise to supplementary programmes involving the participation of certain Member States only, the participation of the Union in programmes undertaken by several Member States, or the setting up of joint undertakings or other arrangements within the meaning of Articles 184, 185 and 187 TFEU. Such supplementary programmes should be identified and implemented in an open, transparent and efficient way.

(37)In order to reduce the time from idea to market, using a bottom-up approach, and to increase the participation of industry, SMEs and first-time applicants in Horizon 2020, the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot should be implemented within the specific objective 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies' and within the priority 'Societal challenges'. It should stimulate private sector investment in research and innovation, promote research and innovation with a focus on value creation and accelerate the development of technologies into innovative products, processes and services.

(38)The implementation of Horizon 2020 should recognise the unique role that universities play within the scientific and technological base of the Union as institutions of excellence in higher education, research and innovation, with an essential role in linking the European Higher Education Area and the ERA.

(39)With the aim of achieving the greatest possible impact of Union funding, Horizon 2020 should develop closer synergies, which may also take the form of public-public partnerships, with international, national and regional programmes that support research and innovation. In this context, Horizon 2020 should encourage the optimal use of resources and avoid unnecessary duplication.

(40)A greater impact should also be achieved by combining Horizon 2020 and private sector funds within public-private partnerships in key areas where research and innovation could contribute to Europe's wider competitiveness goals, leverage private investment and help tackle societal challenges. Those partnerships should be based on a long-term commitment, including a balanced contribution from all partners, be accountable for the achievement of their targets and be aligned with the Union's strategic goals relating to research, development and innovation. The governance and functioning of those partnerships should be open, transparent, effective and efficient and give the opportunity to a wide range of stakeholders active in their specific areas to participate. The public-private partnerships in the form of Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) launched under the Seventh Framework Programme may be continued using structures better suited to their purpose.

(41)Horizon 2020 should promote cooperation with third countries based on common interest and mutual benefit. International cooperation in science, technology and innovation should be targeted to contribute to achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy to strengthen competitiveness, contribute to tackling societal challenges and support Union external and development policies, including by developing synergies with external programmes and contributing to the Union's international commitments, such as the achievement of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. International cooperation activities should be maintained at least at the level of the Seventh Framework Programme.

(42)In order to maintain a level playing field for all undertakings active in the internal market, funding from Horizon 2020 should be designed in accordance with State aid rules so as to ensure the effectiveness of public spending and to prevent market distortions, such as crowding-out of private funding, creating ineffective market structures or preserving inefficient businesses.

(43)The European Council of 4 February 2011 recognised the need for a new approach to control and risk management in Union research funding, calling for a new balance between trust and control and between risk-taking and risk avoidance. The European Parliament, in its resolution of 11 November 2010 on simplifying the implementation of the Research Framework Programmes, called for a pragmatic shift towards administrative and financial simplification and stated that the management of European research funding should be more trust-based and risk-tolerant towards participants. The interim evaluation report of the Seventh Framework Programme concludes that a more radical approach is needed to attain a quantum leap in simplification and that the risk-trust balance needs to be redressed.

(44)The financial interests of the Union should be protected through proportionate measures throughout the expenditure cycle, including the prevention, detection and investigation of irregularities, the recovery of funds lost, wrongly paid or incorrectly used and, where appropriate, the imposition of penalties. A revised control strategy, shifting focus from minimisation of error rates towards risk-based control and fraud detection, should reduce the control burden for participants.

(45)It is important to ensure sound financial management of Horizon 2020 and its implementation in the most effective and user-friendly manner possible, while also ensuring legal certainty and the accessibility of Horizon 2020 to all participants. It is necessary to ensure compliance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (17) and with the requirements of simplification and better regulation.

(46)Effective performance management, including evaluation and monitoring, requires development of specific performance indicators which can be measured over time, which are realistic and reflect the logic of the intervention, and which are relevant to the appropriate hierarchy of objectives and activities. Appropriate coordination mechanisms should be put in place between the implementation and monitoring of Horizon 2020 and the monitoring of progress, achievements and functioning of the ERA.

(47)By the end of 2017, as part of the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation, both existing and new public-private partnerships, including the JTIs, should be subject to an in-depth assessment, which should include, inter alia, an analysis of their openness, transparency and effectiveness. That assessment should take into consideration the evaluation of the EIT as outlined in Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 so as to allow for an assessment based on common principles.

(48)Since the objectives of this Regulation, namely strengthening the overall research and innovation framework and coordinating efforts across the Union, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of avoiding duplication, retaining critical mass in key areas and ensuring that public financing is used in an optimal way, be better achieved at the level of the Union, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives.

(49)For reasons of legal certainty and clarity, Decision No 1982/2006/EC should be repealed,