Yesterday 21 November 2013 was a big day for Europe. The European Parliament has formally approved Horizon 2020, the European Union’s funding program for research and innovation for 2014 through 2020.
This leaves one formal step to go before the program’s actual rollout. Publication of the first calls for proposals is scheduled for 11 December, pending formal agreement from E.U. member states, the European Commission said in a statement released after the vote.
In a vote taking place in Strasbourg, France, Thursday, a wide majority of the plenary approved the program’s details, laid out in five draft regulations. The vote confirms a preliminary deal brokered earlier this year between negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
With a budget of nearly EUR 80€ billion over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the largest EU research programme yet, and one of the biggest publicly funded worldwide. It is also one of only very few programmes in the next EU budget to see a strong increase in funding – a nearly 30 per cent jump in real terms over the current Seventh Framework Programme.
Horizon 2020 for the first time brings all EU-level funding for research and innovation under one roof, provides a single set of rules and will radically slash red tape. The main goal is a more coherent, simpler programme that will make it easier to participate, especially for smaller research organisations and small businesses.