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Sunday, February 13, 2011


From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU
Research and Innovation funding

Brussels, 9.2.2011
COM(2011) 48

This Green Paper launches a public debate on the key issues to be taken into account for
future EU research and innovation funding programmes. These programmes will be part
of the Commission's proposals for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) to be
presented in June 2011. Specific proposals for funding programmes are due to be adopted by
the end of 2011. The research, business, government and civil society communities and
citizens are called upon to engage in this important debate.
Delivering on the widely supported Europe 20201 objectives of smart, sustainable and
inclusive growth depends on research and innovation as key drivers of social and economic
prosperity and of environmental sustainability. This is why the European Union has set itself,
in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy, the objective to increase spending on R&D to
reach 3 % GDP by 2020. The Innovation Union flagship initiative2 advocates a strategic and
integrated approach to research and innovation. This sets the framework and objectives to
which future EU research and innovation funding should contribute, based on the provisions
of the Treaties3.
The Council4 called for future EU 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.
The Budget Review5 put forward key principles which should underpin the future EU budget:
focussing on instruments with proven European added value, becoming more results-driven
and leveraging other public and private sources of funding. The Budget Review proposed that
the full range of EU instruments for research and innovation work together in a Common
Strategic Framework. At its meeting on 4 February 2011, the European Council discussed
innovation and supported the concept of the Common Strategic Framework to improve the
efficiency of research and innovation funding at national and EU levels. This Green Paper
identifies key questions on how to achieve these ambitious objectives.
While this Green Paper focuses on research and innovation, there are important links to other
EU programmes, as identified in the Budget Review, and notably with the future Cohesion
policy Funds and Education programmes.

EU research and innovation funding and initiatives in the current programming period
• The Seventh Framework Programme6 (FP7) with its budget of 53.3 billion euro supports
research, technological development and demonstration activities across the EU. Its
activities are implemented under four Specific Programmes: Cooperation, Ideas, People
and Capacities; it also supports research in nuclear energy (Euratom) and the Joint
Research Centre (JRC)7.
• The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme8 (CIP) has a budget of 3.6
billion euro and aims to encourage the competitiveness of European industry, with SMEs
as its main target. It promotes access to finance and supports the development of better
innovation support services and policies. It funds trans-national business and innovation
support services. It addresses clusters, public procurement and non-technological
barriers to innovation. It helps developing the information society by stimulating take-up
and use of ICT and promotes the increased use of renewable energies and energy
• The European Institute of Innovation and Technology9 (EIT) is an autonomous EU body
bringing together the higher education, research and business sectors to stimulate worldleading
innovation. Through its highly integrated Knowledge and Innovation
Communities (KICs) it strengthens links across the knowledge triangle. The EIT's
flexibility aims at making it attractive to the business sector. A contribution of 309 million
euro was provided to the EIT from the EU budget.
• Through the Cohesion policy10, about 86 billion euro (almost 25% of the total Structural
Funds budget) is allocated to enhancing the capacity of regional economies to change and
innovate. This investment focuses on four key elements: R&D and innovation,
entrepreneurship, ICT and human capital development.

Europe and the world are faced with unprecedented challenges requiring innovative solutions.
Returning to growth and higher levels of employment, combating climate change and moving
towards a low-carbon society require urgent and coordinated action. The impact of
demographic developments is increasing and our natural resources need to be used more
wisely. Our societies face security challenges which are growing in scale and sophistication.
Challenges such as our ageing population or our dependence on fossil fuel do, however, also
provide powerful opportunities to develop innovative products and services, creating growth
and jobs in Europe.
Europe also needs to meet the challenge of retaining and reinforcing its competitive position
in the face of globalisation. The emerging economies are moving from cost competition and imitation towards strategies based on innovation. Other countries are investing more than ever
to safeguard their future. On the other hand, rising living standards in these countries open
new markets for European products and services and their growing capabilities create new
opportunities for collaboration.
We need to grasp these opportunities, build on our strengths and act swiftly and decisively to
build our future, enhance the welfare of our citizens and secure the competitiveness of our
businesses. Research and innovation are key drivers of this process, yet Europe is often
outperformed by its competitors in these domains11.
Europe needs to make a step change in its research and innovation performance. As the
Innovation Union pointed out, this requires research and innovation to be better linked. We
should break away from traditional compartmentalised approaches and focus more on
challenges and outcomes to be achieved, linking our research and innovation funding closer to
our policy objectives. Developing a simplified set of instruments and rules is equally crucial,
while leaving room for flexibility where it is needed.
At a time of severely constrained public budgets, the most needs to be made out of every euro.
Public research and innovation funding in Europe is primarily organised at the national level.
Despite some progress, national and regional governments still largely work according to their
separate strategies. This leads to costly duplication and fragmentation. EU level actions
provide the opportunity to generate greater efficiencies and impact. This could build on the
current joint efforts between Member States, industry and the EU, as for instance in the
Strategic Energy Technologies (SET)-Plan12, the ICT Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs)13
and the upcoming Strategic Transport Technology Plan.
EU wide programmes are also critical for closing our gaps with international competitors.
Europe's underinvestment in research and innovation, particularly by the private sector, is a
major weakness. EU programmes should leverage private investment and make Europe a
more attractive investment location.
EU programmes are needed to generate a higher number of world class scientific
breakthroughs as they help generate excellence through European wide competition. An
integration of policies and EU funding from research to market (as in the European
Innovation Partnerships) will make Europe better at turning knowledge into innovation. The
provision of services to support innovation processes beyond technological innovation will
help seizing market opportunities for innovative solutions.

The landscape of EU research and innovation programmes has developed over recent decades
and now constitutes a significant share of the EU budget14.
The FP7 interim evaluation15 confirmed its vital role in building and sustaining European
networks, including the positive role played by the Marie Curie and research infrastructure
actions and the success of novel instruments such as the European Research Council (ERC)
and the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF). It also confirmed the unique contribution of
FP7 in funding cross-border collaborative research. It called for better linkage between
research and innovation and for a clearer focus on excellence, competitiveness and societal
The interim evaluation of the CIP16 confirmed its highly relevant objectives for EU-level
intervention. It highlighted the important role of the financial instruments in support of SMEs,
the Enterprise Europe Network, the eco-innovation market replication projects and the
demand-driven pilots for ICT innovation. It also pointed to the need for further interlinking
with other EU programmes, including the Cohesion policy Funds.
The EIT, through its first KICs, is addressing societal challenges (climate change, energy and
ICT) and pioneering new innovation governance models. The EIT is due to present its
Strategic Innovation Agenda by mid-2011, through which it plans to expand its activities as a
showcase for innovation in Europe and map out its future activities.
However, the various evaluations have also identified a number of shortcomings and
deficiencies, in particular the lack of a whole chain approach to research and innovation, the
complexity of instruments, over-bureaucratic rules and procedures and a lack of transparency.
Improvements for future programmes should focus on:
– Clarifying objectives and how they are translated into the supported activities, while
maintaining flexibility to respond to emerging policy needs.
– Reducing complexity. Over time, EU research and innovation programmes have expanded
the set of instruments leaving an impression of catering to too many objectives and
spreading funding too thinly. A lack of coordination between EU and Member State
funding adds to the complexity and leaves a potential for overlap and duplication, for
instance as regards State Aid measures to support SMEs or to provide risk capital.
 – Increasing added value and leverage and avoiding duplication and fragmentation. EU
research and innovation funding should provide more added value, increase its leverage
effect on other public and private resources and be used more effectively to support the
strategic alignment and pooling of national and regional funds to avoid duplication and
achieve scope and critical mass.
 – Simplifying participation by lowering administrative burdens, reducing time to grant and
time to payment and achieving a better balance between cost and trust based approaches.
The approach used in the CIP could serve as an example.
– Broadening participation in EU programmes. While there is important SME
participation in the CIP, the FP7 interim evaluation highlighted the need to further
stimulate industry and SME involvement. It also pointed at the need to boost participation
of female researchers and participants from newer Member States. A stronger involvement
of third countries would offer opportunities to capture the benefits of knowledge produced
outside the EU.
– Increasing the competitiveness and societal impact from EU support. This would
require better uptake and use of results by companies, investors, public authorities, other
researchers and policy makers. It also involves supporting broader innovations (including
non-technological and social innovation) which are not the result of research activities.
Better communication of our objectives and the relevance of our actions to a wider
audience is also needed. The ultimate users of innovations (be they citizens, businesses or
the public sector) should be involved much earlier in our actions to accelerate and broaden
the exploitation of results and to encourage greater public acceptance in sensitive fields
such as security or nanotechnology.

In line with the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and the provisions of the Treaties, the
Common Strategic Framework will focus on addressing societal challenges, encouraging the
competitiveness of Europe's industries and the excellence of its scientific and technological
4.1. Working together to deliver on Europe 2020
At EU level, various programmes support research and innovation, covering activities across
the innovation cycle, yet often operating independently of each other. The Budget Review
identified a way forward in this respect through the development of a Common Strategic
Framework. This would cover all relevant EU research and innovation funding currently
provided through FP7 and CIP and EU innovation initiatives such as the EIT on the basis of
coherent goals and shared strategic objectives.
The Common Strategic Framework offers large potential for making EU funding more
attractive and easy to access for participants. It would allow the development of a single entry
point with common IT tools17 or a one stop shop for providing advice and support to
participants. Furthermore, it would enable the development of a simpler and more efficient
structure and a streamlined set of funding instruments covering the full innovation chain in a
seamless manner.
The Common Strategic Framework also offers clear possibilities for administrative
simplification through the development of a more standardised set of rules covering all
participants in EU research and innovation programmes. These rules should seek
commonalities between the different types of activities whenever possible. This should build
on ongoing progress towards simplification18, yet consider additional measures such as a
wider use of lump sums or the general acceptance of beneficiaries' own accounting
Allowing for flexibility will be necessary to cater for the diversity of funding needed to cover
the full innovation cycle or for requirements linked to specific conditions. Flexibility and
speed of delivery are also essential to attract business stakeholders (in particular SMEs). This
may justify distinctive mechanisms and implementing rules as, for example, in the case of the
EU programmes operate in an environment in which most public funding for research and
innovation is administered by Member States. Yet still too often this fails to take proper
account of the trans-national nature of research and innovation, leaving synergies with the
programmes of other Member States or those of the EU largely unexploited.
Experiences with pooling Member State resources (through the Article 185 Initiatives, ERANets
and the first steps towards Joint Programming Initiatives) have demonstrated the
potential impact and efficiencies offered by leveraging other public sources of funding. Their
effectiveness does, however, depend on strong commitments, also in financial terms, from
national and regional public authorities.
An important role needs to be played by the future Cohesion policy, which serves to build
research and innovation capabilities at the regional level through smart specialisation
strategies, yet within the context of the EU's broader policy objectives. The Commission
Communication on the future of Cohesion policy20 points to reinforced strategic
programming, increased concentration of resources and greater use of conditionality and
incentives to enable a stronger impact on Europe 2020 priorities including research and
innovation. The Common Strategic Framework for EU research and innovation funding
should therefore build strong complementarities with the future Common Strategic
Framework for cohesion policy.
In addition, Rural Development funding currently provides for a broad range of measures
fostering innovation in agriculture. The Communication 'The CAP towards 2020: meeting
food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future'21 points to innovation as one of
the guiding themes of rural development besides environment and climate change.

The Commission believes that the issues and questions raised above are the key aspects to be
considered in further developing a common strategic framework for EU research and
innovation funding and its related instruments.
Member States, the Parliament, and other countries are invited to promote the debate with
their stakeholders. To support the debate on these questions, a variety of social media will be
used, including a public consultation website (http://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union).
The Commission asks organisations who wish to submit comments in the context of public
consultations to provide the Commission and the public at large with information about whom
and what they represent. If an organisation decides not to provide this information, it is the
Commission's stated policy to list the contribution as part of the individual contributions.
(Consultation Standards, see COM(2002) 704, and Communication on ETI Follow-up, see
COM(2007) 127 of 21.3.2007)
The consultation will close on 20 May 2011. The broad debate on this Green Paper will be
complemented by targeted consultations, such as on the ERA framework and the EIT's
strategic innovation agenda. It will also draw on the results of the public consultation on the
future of the CIP.
On 10 June 2011, an event will be organised to wrap up the public consultation and discuss
the results with the stakeholder community. The Commission plans to put forward its formal
legislative proposals for a Common Strategic Framework for EU research and innovation
funding by the end of 2011. These proposals will be accompanied by ex-ante impact
assessments, providing the necessary evidence base for the proposed options.
The Commission believes that research and innovation are central to people's future
livelihoods, and thus require better public understanding and debate. It will therefore pursue a
broad communication strategy to accompany this public consultation and the subsequent
inter-institutional debate and ultimately the implementation of the next EU funding
This should show to the public at large how EU funding matters to them, making use of
audiovisual and written media, organising public events, and exploiting to the full the
possibilities offered by new social media.


1 'Europe 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth' - COM(2010) 2020.
2 'Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union' - COM(2010) 546.
3 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Titles XVII 'Industry' and Title XIX 'Research and
Technological Development and Space'; Euratom Treaty, Title II, Chapter 1 'Promotion of research'.
4 Council conclusions on Europe 2020 flagship initiative: Innovation Union. 26.11.2010.
5 'The EU Budget Review' - COM(2010) 700.
6 http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/index_en.cfm
7 The JRC is a Commission service providing scientific and technical support for the development and
implementation of EU policies.
8 http://ec.europa.eu/cip/
9 http://eit.europa.eu/
10 http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/themes/research/index_en.htm
 11 EU-27 R&D intensity in 2009 was 2.01 % GDP, compared to 2.77 % in US (2008) and 3.44 % in JP
(2007). Further information is available in the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2010, available at
12 'A European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan)' - COM(2007) 723 - and 'Investing in the
development of low carbon technologies (SET-Plan)' - COM(2009) 519.
13 As evidenced for instance in the interim evaluation of the ENIAC and ARTEMIS JTIs - COM(2010)
14 7.41 % of the EU Budget will be devoted to research and innovation in 2013
15 FP7 interim evaluation available at http://ec.europa.eu/research/evaluations/index_en.cfm?pg=fp7
16 CIP interim evaluation available at
17 Building on the development of the FP7 Participant Portal:
18 'Simplifying the implementation of the research Framework Programmes' - COM(2010) 187 and
Commission Decision C(2011) 174 of 24 January 2011
19 The Commission has proposed a review of the Financial Regulation - COM(2010) 815 - that allows for
more radical simplification in the next financial framework, including an extended use of lumps,
reimbursement based on accounting practices of the beneficiary and an 'ideal house' for public-private
20 'Conclusions of the fifth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: the future of cohesion
policy' - COM (2010) 642.
21 COM(2010) 672

SOURCE  http://ec.europa.eu/




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