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CB off The EU steps up job-creating innovation with new funding, cutting red tape and speeding the process with a program called Horizon 2020.
CB on Hello and welcome to People First, the EPP Group's monthly program on issues with impact on people like you. Joining us to answer some of your questions is one of the authors of Horizon 2020, Maria Da Graca Carvalho. Welcome to the show. You´re a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, and you´re also a member of the EPP Group. How does it feel to at least finally get at least committee approval of this and how confident are you that you´ll get full parliamentary approval of Horizon 2020?
Maria Da Graca Carvalho, Portuguese MEP, on Thank you very much. We had unanimously approval in the committee of my report on Horizon 2020. And that is very good. It shows that we had the support of all the political groups, of members from different member states.
CB on So that´s a good indication that you´ll get final passage.
Carvalho on That´s a good indication that we´ll get a good result in plenary. This shows that the European Parliament supports research and innovation as one of the main policies for Europe to go out of the crisis and for the future of our young researchers and the competitiveness of our industry and enterprises. So it was a very good result.
CB on Let´s find out a little more about this with our report about the details of how Horizon 2020 works.
R&D pix CB off
It's called the Framework Program for Research and Innovation, or Horizon 2020 for short. In a time of austerity and overall spending cuts, the European Union decided R&D and the innovation they create, are worth investing more money as a springboard to growth.
CB off Horizon 2020 puts the EU's money where its mouth is toward achieving the goals of the so-called Europe 2020 Strategy of boosting the EU28's competitiveness, growth and job-creation. Over the next seven years under a new budget framework, the EU will spend 70 billion euros on Horizon 2020, making it the third-largest EU programme.
CB off It includes a Fast Track to innovation scheme, cutting red tape and speeding funding to promising projects. Innovation vouchers and return grants will help young scientists return to the EU, fighting what's been a brain drain in the past.
EU internal market, trucks shipping across borders CB off Horizon 2020 is an umbrella bringing together all of Europe's R&D projects, with the main objective to stimulate innovation and bring it to market faster. Benefiting from the EU's internal market – the largest in the world.
R&D, new products, shoppers at electronics store CB off To do that, Horizon 2020 couples research and innovation by turning scientific breakthroughs into new products. It encourages new ideas to deal with climate change, energy security and an ageing population. What members of parliament decided is well worth the money, especially now, to speed Europe's recovery.
CB on Let's go to our first vox pop question it really has to do with the impact of Horizon 2020, especially in this time of crisis.
Vox pop Hi my name's Dave O'Brien from Manchester, England. I'm wondering where all this money's going, and will it help the unemployed?
CB on So at the end of the day it really is all about jobs, isn't it?
Carvalho on Yes, and Horizon 2020 will have a direct effect positive effect on jobs and an indirect effect. The direct is the researchers who will be employed in the research projects, in Marie Curie, they will have fellowships. The program has a budget of 70 billion. And to give you an idea each billion can finance for example 4,000 SMEs, innovative SMEs. Or 2,500 Marie Curie fellowships.
CB on So we go now from people struggling to find employment to countries trying to recover. Here´s a question on that.
Vox pop Hello my name is Sogra Zilopolous and I'm from Greece. What I would like to know and what I would like to ask from the European Parliament is how do they think could this money help young researchers in Greece, thank you.
CB on That's a big question about brain drain. And how do you stop that brain drain, especially in countries like Greece. Because people want to leave, a lot of people want to leave.
Carvalho on Yes, there is a big phenomenon of brain drain in many countries, Greece is one of them. My home country Portugal. You have Horizon 2020 is designed to go against the brain drain, in different ways. One of the ways we have included in the European Parliament we call widening participation. This is a way to participation that makes easy countries that do not have so good results in the previous framework programs, they will be able to participate in an easier way. So we have a kind of schemes of twinning, where institutions that do not have a lot of practice to participate in international programs can join,
CB on You twin them with...
Carvalho on We twin them with international recognized that have a lot of practice.
CB on So they show them how to do it.
Carvalho on They learn how to do it, and they can participate more.
CB on What about the people who have actually left? And how to you try to get them to come home? Here´s a question on it. Let´s watch it.
Vox pop My name is Philippe Levy, I am Belgian by birth. And I would like to ask a question, how to keep or encourage the return of our researchers and our scientists on the European continent.
CB on So how do you do that?
Carvalho on We also included in the parliament what we call return grants. So in the Marie Curie we have added a category which is return grants for researchers that are outside and want to come back to Europe. Or they are in Europe outside of their home country and they want to go to their home country.
CB on Is this the voucher system? That was your idea, wasn´t it?
Carvalho on The voucher system is another idea that I also, the return grants, that you give vouchers to young researchers that want to make a start-up to have a simple but innovative way to get a project. All the program is simpler.
CB on Horizon 2020 you say is also is aimed at speeding up the process. In getting this money to the right people at the right time. Here's somebody with a question, who wants to know a little bit more on that.
Vox pop Hi my name is Robert and we're from Ireland, and I'd like to know how you're going to cut the red tape for this research and development plan?
CB on OK, well how do you do that, concretely? Speeding up the process. Can you give like one example?
Carvalho on One of the complaints of the researchers is that the European programs are very complex.
CB on Like months and months of paperwork. ... Triplicate.
Carvalho on Yes, a lot of time to submit to grant is a long complex one.
CB on You need a lawyer to fill it out.
Carvalho on Yes. And only large institutions very well equipped can get the money. So we made, I made a report before Horizon 2020, it was called the simplification report, where I present about 60 measures where to simplify. And the Commission has gone through this and Horizon 2020 is much simpler.
CB on OK give me an example.
Carvalho on For example, you have the whole rules the same rules all over the program. You have a much simpler funding model. You just have reimbursement of your direct costs of 100% plus the overhead. You have lump sums for smaller programs, against delivery you receive the funds.
CB on We ran into someone from the other side of the world who wants to know a little bit more about what Horizon 2020 is about. Let´s see what they have to say.
Vox pop Hello, my name is Catherine Scott , I'm from Perth, Western Australia. So what sectors is Horizon 2020 going to help with?
CB on That´s a really good question. Is it really going to help the whole economy, or are there certain sectors that it´s going to help and others not?
Carvalho on There are certain sectors. There is one part that there are no priorities, only for the excellence of the idea. Called the excellence in science. There is the second part, that is the competitiveness of European industry. And there is a third part that are for the societal challenges, the big challenges that Europe has to face.
CB on So what kind of sectors is that?
Carvalho on And there you find, there is health and aging, there is food security, clean energy, clean transport, environment and climate change, security and social science and humanities, for an innovative and a more inclusive Europe. These are the main guidelines of Horizon 2020.
CB on And then I guess there are knock off effects on other sectors, as you´re helping those SMEs, they´re stimulating business with other sectors.
Carvalho on Yes, there is inside the pillar for industrial competitiveness, a dedicated instrument for SMEs that the European Parliament has proposed a substantial increase. It was one of our flagships inside the EPP to include the budget for SMES, so this is happening. This is a very substantial part of the budget dedicated to SMEs. 20% of Horizon 2020 should be devoted to SMEs. And that is very important for jobs, and for growth of the European economy.
CB on Now 70 billion euros sounds like a lot of money, and it is, it´s over 10 billion euros a year from the European Union . But there is one taxpayer we talked to and asked how can you be sure this money is well-spent? Here's the question.
Vox pop My name is Joso Monaco Soja, I come from Italy, I live in Belgium since 30 years. And I've been reading about the new research program of the European Union. Apparently quite a huge amount, of billions of euros. And I'd like to know how this money's spent, and what are the evaluation criteria for judging the efficacity of this program. I think this is a question that taxpayers should put to the European authorities.
CB on How do you measure effectiveness?
Carvalho on There is evaluation, scientific and technical evaluation of the project and also financial evaluation of the project. Through the officers, through external evaluation and the financial, also the audits, there are several audits.
CB on So there is a watchdog aspect here.
CB on Maria da Graca Carvalho, thank you so much for fielding these questions, some of them not quite easy.
Carvalho on Thank you so much.
CB on Of course the public is going to be watching to see how effective Horizon 2020 really is, as we all will.
Stand-up CB on That's all for now on People First.
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