The negotiators from the European Parliament and the Irish Presidency of the Council have reached an agreement on key legal aspects of Horizon 2020
– the EU’s new framework programme for research and innovation (2014-2020). A major programme promoting collaborative research, development and innovation in the EU, Horizon 2020 consists of three pillars:
- Excellent Science (including the activities of the European Research Council, vital infrastructures and future and emerging technologies);
- Industrial Leadership (support for enabling industrial technologies, such as ICT, bio- and nano-technology, as well as specific SMEs support mechanisms);
- Societal challenges (research in areas of most concern to citizens, such as health, energy, climate etc.).
Specifically, an agreement between the European Parliament and Council was reached on legal aspects related to the establishment and implementation of Horizon 2020, rules for participation and the activities of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology
. Importantly, one of the stumbling blocks in the negotiations - the simplified reimbursement model (100% of direct costs + a 25% flat rate for indirect costs) objected by the supporters of the full-cost model - has finally been agreed upon.
The political agreement on Horizon 2020 enables the preparation of the first calls to be launched in January 2014. Several issues are still pending. The deal has to be formally approved by COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives of EU member states in Brussels) and Parliament. While Parliament is expected to accept the agreement, it will most likely happen only after the summer holiday break. Finally, the budget of Horizon 2020 (the cited figures range between EUR 68 and 80 billion) will largely depend on the current negotiations on the EU’s long-term budget (the Multiannual Financial Framework/MFF).