Over 70 billion for European innovation


Minister of Science and Higher Education Prof. Barbara Kudrycka with the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan- Quinn, inaugurated today in Poland the largest ever funding program for research in the EU - Horizon 2020 . Its budget is more than 70 billion euro.

- After the war, the scientific world ran far ahead, and, with the Communism and socialist economy, it was difficult for Polish researchers to participate in that global race. But now we no longer have to look back - said Prof. Barbara Kudrycka. - Thanks to the biggest ever investment in science and higher education, we have an excellent infrastructure and research equipment. Since 2007, we have invested more than 26 billion dollars. We have an extraordinary and very talented young generation. We have a society that has believed in knowledge: more than 40 percent every school year aspires to higher education. It is the employees of the R&D sector who develop fastest of all: they are 140,000 in number, about 5,000 more than last year. It is high time we consistently shifted to higher and higher positions in this global scientific race. Horizon 2020 provides such an opportunity - emphasised the Minister.

The new EU program is the largest of its type in the world. It has to improve the competitiveness of European science and strengthen its position in the global race. Its objectives include providing a new, simplified financial model, the balance between small and large projects and the introduction of instruments which meet the needs of countries and regions with lower potential for science and innovation. The program is notable in that it has a coherent system of funding innovation: from scientific concepts, through the research stage and, ultimately, to the implementation of new solutions, products and technologies. The program is based on three pillars: funding frontier research based on the principle of excellence (excellence in science), research funding to strengthen the EU's role in the industry (industrial leadership) and funding research for societal challenges (societal challenges).

- The key word for this program is to simplify . Horizon 2020 mean less bureaucracy , more efficient procedures and, above all, faster acquisition of grants - stated Commissioner Marie Geoghegan-Quinn. She also stressed that the new funding program provides a number of opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises interested in the commercialisation of innovative solutions.

- The ambition of all those who worked on Horizon  2020 was the creation of a coherent system of EU research and innovation funding from scientific concepts through laboratory research, tests, demonstrators, and finally to market implementation - emphasised Minister Barbara Kudrycka . - This is what Europe needs today in order to be able to compete with strong global economies of the U.S. , China, Japan or Brazil - she said.

Poland took an active part in the preparation of Horizon 2020. Important decisions took place during the Polish EU Presidency. Even before the publication of the draft legislation, our country, together with Germany and the Netherlands, conducted a series of international conferences on issues concerning the next framework program. We were also an active member of the group for simplification, which completed its work during the Polish Presidency. It has developed a set of specific solutions to help beneficiaries access the instruments of Horizon 2020. It is thanks to the work of this group that it will be possible use a simpler financial model, a faster path for assessing applications as well simplified control procedures.

The National Contact Point for EU Research Programmes will help Polish scientists compete effectively for Horizon 2020 funding. Work is currently under way in order to change the model of the Contact Point's operation - this includes strengthening elements such as mentoring, individual consultation and direct support for the design of applications and their settlement. It is also planned to keep up the program "grants for grants ", with experienced IT experts providing further evaluation of proposals introduced.

Today's launch of Horizon 2020 was followed by a conference devoted to the implementation of the program. The conference discussed opportunities and challenges faced by Polish scientists as well as the experience of Polish scientists and entrepreneurs from their participation in EU framework programs. Alongside the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education and the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, the conference was attended by representatives of universities, technology transfer centres, science & technology parks as well as innovation brokers and entrepreneurs.

For more information visit www.nauka.gov.pl