Horizon 2020: Biotechnology to play a major role in meeting European ‘Grand Challenges’

02-Dec-2011 - Belgium

The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 launch named biotechnology as one of the six enabling technologies that can boost the European economy, ensuring that the EU remains sustainable, globally competitive and a centre for excellence in science. Horizon 2020 - the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation- also outlines the most prevalent Grand Challenges that EU research and Innovation policy should tackle.

Under Horizon 2020, funding will focus on the EU’s grand challenges including sustainable agriculture, food security, resource efficiency and the bio-economy, as well as health and well-being for an aging population. Biotechnology is central to tackling these challenges through its many applications for industry, agriculture and healthcare. The Commission’s identification of research and innovation funding for biotechnology is also central to achieving the objectives of a new economic model for Europe of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, in line with the Commission EU 2020 Flagship initiatives on the Innovation Union, Resource Efficiency and Industrial Policy for the Global Era. Key to achieving these objectives is that an effective research and innovation funding policy such as Horizon 2020 be matched by a coherent and workable regulatory framework that ensures that the ideas and products invented in Europe are also put on the market in Europe to the benefit of our citizens and of our economy.

EuropaBio also welcomes the emphasis under Horizon 2020 on the significant role played by industry driven research, both as co-sponsor of public-private partnerships and participant in programmes as evaluators and contributors. The Commission has also made progress in addressing the issue of SME involvement by simplifying administrative procedures and establishing specific SME incentives with a view to increasing participation of SMEs, which constitute a significant source of growth, job creation and innovation in the European economy.  Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn stated at the launch today that she expects €8 billion euro to be invested in SMEs under Horizon 2020.

Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio welcomed the new Framework Programme launched stating: “We are delighted to see that the Commission’s proposal includes many of the recommendations that EuropaBio outlined earlier this year during the stakeholder consultations for a Consolidated Strategic Framework Programme. To stay at the forefront of global competition and to meet the societal challenges of healthy ageing, sustainable agriculture and the bio-based economy, the Commission has listed biotechnology as one of the six key areas that research and innovation funding should focus on.  Research and innovation coupled with coherent and workable legislation will ensure Europe and its innovative industries such as biotechnology   strive for the enhancement of quality of life, knowledge, innovation, job creation and productivity that we so clearly need.  We hope that the European Parliament and the European Council will back the Commission’s proposal so as to help Europe’s realise its potential as a world leader in excellence in science and innovation.”

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