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Government publishes position paper on future EU funding for research and innovation


BIS Department for Business Innovation and Skills - Expert Author

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Issued on 20 May 2011 - BIS

‘Funding for EU research and innovation from 2014: a UK perspective’ published today looks at the future role and shape of EU funding for research and innovation and sets out the following recommendations from the Government:

  • Research and innovation must play an increasingly vital role in promoting green growth in Europe and should continue to receive a high – and ideally increased – proportion of a future EU budget which is reprioritised to focus on sustainable growth and is smaller overall
  • The UK considers that future EU funding should be focussed on funding research programmes that demonstrate excellence and added-value
  • EU funding should address global challenges as well as developing new technologies.

Commenting on the publication, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:

“Research and innovation are vital to economic growth not only in the UK but throughout Europe. The UK has one of the most productive research bases in the world and with changes to EU funding in sight it’s important that we play our full part in influencing the debate.

“We need to continue to invest in research and innovation at a European level, with a focus on programmes that demonstrate excellence and address global challenges such as climate change, food security and the ageing population. EU funding should also drive innovation and place a greater emphasis on areas such as information and communications technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology that have the potential to meet these challenges head on.”


  1. ‘Funding for EU research and innovation from 2014: a UK perspective’ can be downloaded in PDF format at
  2. The position paper comes after the publication of the European Commission’s Green Paper ‘From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding’ published in February 2011. This proposes that all EU instruments for research and innovation should work together to improve efficiency of funding at national and EU levels.
  3. The Framework Programme is the EU’s main programme for funding research, technological development and demonstration. The current iteration is FP7 (2007-2013) with a budget of €50.5 billion. The programme sets out to deliver a number of EU-wide benefits including economies of scale, the development of public goods such as low carbon technologies and the creation of cross-European networks.
  4. The EC budget currently funds around 5 per cent of overall EU investment in research and innovation (the rest coming from national governments and the private sector). Research and innovation is currently the third largest area of the EU budget after agriculture and cohesion/development funding.
  5. FP7 currently funds the following broad areas of research:
  • Cooperation: collaborative research projects involving universities and businesses from at least three countries
  • Ideas: projects driven by a single, highly-regarded “investigator” and funded through the European Research Council. These are often, but not necessarily, highly innovative “blue skies” research projects
  • People: a number of projects aimed at boosting researcher skills and mobility under the Marie Curie programme
  • Capacities: a numbers of programmes aimed at boosting the research capacity of Europe
  • The Joint Research Centre supports EU policy-making and delivery e.g. in nuclear and environmental science through a number of research centres.
  1. The UK continues to do well in relation to other member states in respect of securing FP funding. During FP6 (2003-2006) UK organisations received over 14 per cent of the budget allocated which was exceeded only by Germany. The annual average of over €500m to UK participants over the four year cycle of FP6 indicates the significant contribution EU funding makes to R&D spending in the UK.
  2. The UK remains a strong player in FP7, receiving the second largest share of funding to date, €2,699m, equivalent to 14.5 per cent of the total FP7 funding; only Germany has received more funding.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-05-23 14:02:30 in Economic Articles

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