The package, the biggest ever, covers a vast range of scientific disciplines, public policy areas and commercial sectors. This funding will advance scientific boundaries, increase European competitiveness and help solve societal challenges such as climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population.
Around 16,000 participants from research organisations, universities and industry, including about 3,000 SMEs, will receive funding. Grants will be awarded through “calls for proposals” (invitations to bid) and evaluations over the next 14 months. Many calls will be formally published on 20th July.
This package is an economic stimulus expected to create more than 165.000 jobs. It is also a long-term investment in a smarter, sustainable and more inclusive Europe. It is a key element within the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy and in particular the Innovation Union Flagship, which will be launched in autumn 2010.
There will be an opportunity to bid for funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme across a wide range of policy areas. For example, health gets over €600 million. There is a €1.2 billion boost to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) research, which will help deliver the Commission’s commitment in the Digital Agenda for Europe to maintain the pace of yearly increases in ICT funding.
More than €1.3 billion are reserved for the best creative scientists selected by the European Research Council. Mobility grants for 7, 000 highly qualified researchers will be provided through “Marie Curie Actions”, worth €772 million.
This initiative is central to the Europe 2020 Strategy, and aims to boost the whole innovation chain “from research to retail”, by marrying world-class science with an innovation economy or “i-conomy”. It will remove bottlenecks which hamper a single market in innovation and which prevent Europe competing as well as it should with the US and others. It will also introduce “Innovation Partnerships” bringing together the main actors in key areas and aiming to strike the right balance between collaboration and competition.”
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