Archive pour la catégorie ‘Local development’

Green light for the EU Patent

Mardi 20 décembre 2011

The Legal Affairs Committee has approved today the single European patent system.

In three separate voting sessions, Legal Affairs Committee MEPs backed a political deal struck last 1 December between Parliament and Council negotiators on the so-called “EU patent package” (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court). If Parliament as a whole and the Council confirm the deal, a new EU patent will be created.

The negotiations were led, for Parliament, by committee chair Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE), Bernhard Rapkay (S&D, DE) and Raffaele Baldassarre (EPP, IT). MEPs inserted some provisions, among others, to tailor the proposed regime to the needs of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs).

Cheaper and more effective protection

The new patent will be less expensive and more effective than current systems in protecting the inventions of individuals and firms. The new system would provide automatic unitary patent protection and substantially cut costs for EU firms and help boost their competitiveness. The European Commission says that when the new system is up to speed, an EU patent may cost just €680, compared to an average of €1,850 for an American one.

To obtain EU-wide protection today, a European inventor has to validate a patent in each EU Member State, through the European Patent Office (EPO), a non-EU body. This procedure entails costs, especially for translation, that can make a European patent 10 times more expensive than a US one.

A unified patent court, to be set up through an international agreement currently being negotiated by Member States, will also cut costs and reduce current legal uncertainty due to differing national interpretations.

How to apply for the new patent?

Any inventor would be able to apply for an EU patent ensuring protection in all the 25 EU Member States concerned. Patents will be made available in English, French and German, but applications may be submitted in any EU language. Translation costs from a language other than the three official ones would be compensated.

MEPs for SMEs

Thanks to Parliament, specific measures were agreed to facilitate SMEs’ access to the European patent market. These range from stronger legal protection to full compensation of translation costs. Parliament’s also obtained an improvement in the rules on how patent offices share renewal fees, upon which the economic sustainability of the whole system lies.

Next steps

Before the new regulation can enter into force, it must be endorsed by the full Parliament, possibly at the February plenary session, and the Council.

The legislation is being dealt under the so-called “enhanced cooperation procedure”, which allows groups of Member States to integrate policies further, even where others do not agree. Spain and Italy have so far opted out of work on the patent proposal, but could join the decision-making process at any time. This procedure was adopted to unblock the file, long stalled over language issues.

The European Union is funding two new projects for the study of greenhouse gas emissions

Lundi 19 décembre 2011

Both projects AMITRAN and INGOS are designed to study concretely the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the projects, titled AMITRAN (’Assessment methodologies for ICT in multimodal transport from user behaviour to CO2 reduction’) aims to scientifically underpin carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions estimations by developing a methodology to assess the impact of ICT (information and communication technologies) and ITS (intelligent transport systems) on transport sector CO2 emissions.

Bringing together partners from Belgium, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Romania, AMITRAN received EUR 1 900 000 of funding as part of the ‘ICT’ Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

ICT measures can help transport become less carbon intensive and more efficient as well as increase safety, manage transport demand, ensure transit reliability and improve traffic flow. ICT use in the transport sector includes its application in navigation and travel information systems, route advice to supporting drivers in adopting eco-driving behaviour, logistics and fleet management systems and optimised traffic light phasing at junctions, reserving parking spaces and paying road tolls.

The final result of the project will be a publicly available checklist and handbook that can be used for future projects. They will serve as a reference in assessing the ITS benefits in terms of CO2 emission reductions for passenger transport and road, rail, and ship freight transport.

But while CO2 attracts the most media attention, the harmful effects of other greenhouse gases must also be dealt with as a matter of urgency. That is why another new EU-funded initiative is working towards finding accurate measurements of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.

INGOS (’Integrated non-CO2 greenhouse gas observation system’) is funded in part by almost EUR 8 million under FP7’s ‘Infrastructures’ Theme and brings together partner institutions from 14 participating countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

So far, the figures for these greenhouse gases have to a large extent been calculated based on estimations. INGOS aims to provide actual measurements of emissions in the participating countries.

Measurements from towers, peaks, masts and other relevant points around Europe are going to be carried out, and the network will also work with computer models to provide an accurate picture of where and how much is being emitted.

The launch of these two new projects shows that whether on or off Europe’s transport thoroughfares, accurate measurements of all greenhouse gases are essential for meeting the EU’s climate action targets. Both AMITRAN and INGOS aim to move forward research into one of the most important and pressing challenges the EU faces today.

The European Commission has proposed the ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector by 60% for the period from 1990 to 2050. But with present transport emissions levels currently 27% above 1990 levels, there remains a lot of work to be done.

The European Commission promotes public lighting with LED

Jeudi 15 décembre 2011

The European Commission adopted a Green Paper on the subject and opens a public consultation.

LED lighting is one of the most energy-efficient and versatile forms of lighting - saving up to 70% energy and money compared to other lighting technologies. Faster LED deployment will ensure the success of Europe’s lighting industry and help reduce energy use from lighting by 20% by 2020. But Europe also faces a number of challenges and more input is needed from citizens and businesses to refine the policy. To this end a consultation will run until 29 February 2012 to collect feedback on the Commission’s ideas.

LED lighting faces a number of challenges in the market: high purchase prices because it is a more sophisticated technology compared to the alternatives, lack of familiarity among potential users and a lack of common standards.

Key questions for the public consultation include:

Which actions would help to overcome existing barriers and accelerate LED deployment in Europe?
How to ensure good quality and safe LED products on the European market that meet consumer expectations
How to reinforce cooperation of the lighting sector with architects, lighting designers, electrical installers and the construction and buildings sectors
How can the EU best support entrepreneurship and competitiveness in the lighting sector?
Boosting energy saving LED-based lighting is a key objective of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).

Background

With the phasing out of the sale of traditional light bulbs in the EU by September 2012, in the next few years about 8 billion incandescent lamps in European homes, offices and streets will need to be replaced by more energy efficient lighting solutions. These include LED and organic LED (or OLED) lighting technologies also known as Solid State Lighting (SSL).

SSL offers both high quality light and visual performance and increasingly good design options.

SSL can drive innovation in the lighting and construction sectors and offers tremendous opportunities for our businesses – many of them SMEs – leading to jobs and growth in Europe.

The European Commission promotes eco innovation business

Jeudi 15 décembre 2011

Eco innovation is a priority of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The new Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) will boost innovation that reduces pressure on the environment, and bridge the gap between innovation and the market. Eco-friendly technologies are good for business and help create new jobs, so eco-innovation is crucial to the economic competitiveness of Europe.

The EcoAP is one of the commitments of the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative, building on the 2004 Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). It expands the focus from green technologies to the broader concept of eco-innovation, targeting specific bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities for achieving environmental objectives through innovation. The EcoAP includes actions both on the demand and supply side, on research and industry and on policy and financial instruments. The Plan recognizes the key role of environmental regulation as a driver of eco-innovation and foresees a review of environmental legislation. It also stresses the importance of research and innovation to produce more innovative technologies and bring them to the market. The Plan also puts emphasis on the international aspect of eco-innovation, and on better coordination of policies with international partners.

The Action Plan will accelerate eco-innovation across all sectors of the economy with well targeted actions. To help create stronger and more stable market demand for eco-innovation, it will take measures in the areas of regulatory incentives, private and public procurement and standards and it will mobilise support for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve investment readiness and networking opportunities.

Key aspects of the new Action Plan include:

- Using environmental policy and legislation to promote eco-innovation;
- Supporting demonstration projects and partnering to bring promising, smart and ambitious operational technologies to market;
- Developing new standards to boost eco-innovation;
- Mobilising financial instruments and support services for SMEs;
- Promoting international co-operation;
- Supporting the development of emerging skills and jobs and related training programmes to match labour market needs; and
- Promoting eco-innovation through European Innovation Partnerships

Next Steps
Implementation of the plan will be via partnership between stakeholders, private and public sector, and the Commission. The upcoming mid-term financial review will provide a good opportunity to assess the achievement of the goals set in this Action Plan. New efforts will focus on product development and demonstration activities to fill the gap between technology and market uptake.

Background
Eco-Innovation is any form of innovation resulting in or aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development, through reducing impacts on the environment, enhancing resilience to environmental pressures, or achieving a more efficient and responsible use of natural resources.

European eco-industries are a significant economic sector with an annual turnover estimated at EUR 319 billion, or about 2.5 % of EU GDP.

The European Commission proposes a roadmap for energy by 2050

Jeudi 15 décembre 2011

The objective of the EU is to reduce 80% CO2 emissions by 2050.

How to achieve this without disrupting energy supplies and competitiveness is the question answered by the Energy Roadmap 2050 the Commission is presenting today. Based on the analysis of a set of scenarios, the document describes the consequences of a carbon free energy system and the policy framework needed. This should allow member states to make the required energy choices and create a stable business climate for private investment, especially until 2030.

The analysis is based on illustrative scenarios, created by combining in different ways the four main decarbonisation routes (energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear and CCS). None is likely to materialise but all scenarios clearly show a set of “no regrets” options for the coming years.

The Energy Roadmap 2050 identifies a number of elements which have positive impacts in all circumstances, and thus define some key outcomes such as:

- Decarbonisation of the energy system is technically and economically feasible. All decarbonisation scenarios allow achieving the emission reduction target and can be less costly than current policies in the long-run.

- Energy Efficiency and renewable energy are critical. Irrespective of the particular energy mix chosen, higher energy efficiency and important rising shares of renewables are necessary to meet the CO2 targets in 2050. The scenarios also show that electricity will play a greater role than now. Gas, oil, coal and nuclear also figure in all scenarios in different proportions, allowing Member States to keep flexible options in their energy mix provided a well connected internal market is achieved quickly.

- Early Investments cost less. Investment decisions for the necessary infrastructure up to 2030 must be taken now, as infrastructure built 30-40 years ago needs to be replaced. Acting immediately can avoid more costly changes in twenty years. The EU’s energy evolution requires anyway modernisation and much more flexible infrastructure such as cross border interconnections, “intelligent” electricity grids and modern low-carbon technologies to produce, transmit and store energy.

- Contain the increase of prices. The investments made now will pave the way for the best prices in the future. Electricity prices are bound to raise until 2030, but can fall thereafter thanks to lower cost of supply, saving policies and improved technologies. The costs will be outweighed by the high level of sustainable investment brought into the European economy, the related local jobs, and the decreased import dependency. All scenarios get to decarbonisation with no major differences in terms of overall costs or security of supply implications.

- Economies of scale are needed. A European approach will result in lower costs and secure supply compared to national parallel schemes. This includes a common energy market which should be completed by 2014.

Background

The aim of the roadmap is to achieve the low-carbon 2050 objectives while improving Europe’s competitiveness and security of supply. Member States are already planning national energy policies for the future, but it is necessary to join forces in coordinating their efforts within a broader framework. The Roadmap will be followed by further policy initiatives on specific energy policy areas in the coming years, starting with proposals on the internal market, renewable energy and nuclear safety next year.

The EC published in March 2011 the overall decarbonisation roadmap covering the whole economy. All sectors – power generation, transport, residential, industry and agriculture –were analysed. The Commission has also been preparing sectoral roadmaps, among which the Energy Roadmap 2050 is the last one, focusing on the whole energy sector.

The European Commission defends freedom of expression on the Web.

Lundi 12 décembre 2011

The new strategy “No Disconnect” is to ensure that ICT remains a factor in democratic and economic development in the world.

VP/HR Catherine Ashton and Vice President Neelie Kroes want to ensure that the European Union and its Member States cooperate closely towards these goals, supporting bottom-up approaches to building and strengthening Internet freedom and democracy in countries where Europe perceives that a vibrant and open Internet is not the norm or where grave human rights abuses take place. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg will liaise with Member States, third countries and NGOs which are committed to work in this area and advise on how to advance the strategy in a co-ordinated and effective manner.

The “No Disconnect strategy” will assist people in four ways:

- Developing and providing technological tools to enhance privacy and security of people living in non-democratic regimes when using ICT.
- Educating and raising awareness of activists about the opportunities and risks of ICT. In particular assisting activists to make best use of tools such as social networks and blogs while raising awareness of surveillance risks when communicating via ICT.
- Gathering high quality intelligence about what is happening “on the ground” in order to monitor the level of surveillance and censorship at a given time, in a given place.
- Cooperation. Developing a practical way to ensure that all stakeholders can share information on their activity and promote multilateral action and building cross-regional cooperation to protect human rights.

Background
The Joint Communication, “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean” (COM(2011) 200) committed the Commission to develop tools to allow the EU, in appropriate cases, to assist civil society organisations or individual citizens to circumvent arbitrary disruptions to access to electronic communications technologies, including the internet. This followed evidence of such disruption or attempted disruption by authoritarian governments during the Arab Spring uprising, for example in Egypt.

Enabling citizens of authoritarian countries to bypass such surveillance and censorship measures depends on two basic conditions: availability of appropriate technologies (in particular software programs that can be installed on one’s desktop computer, laptop, smart-phone or other device) and awareness / knowledge, both of the techniques used by authoritarian regimes to spy on citizens and censor their communications, and of the appropriate counter-measures to use.

The European Commission proposes to enhance public administrations’ computer data

Lundi 12 décembre 2011

The European Commission proposes a new digital strategy to support the economy of the Union

Europe’s public administrations are sitting on a goldmine of unrealised economic potential: the large volumes of information collected by numerous public authorities and services. Member States such as the United Kingdom and France are already demonstrating this value. The strategy to lift performance EU-wide is three-fold: firstly the Commission will lead by example, opening its vaults of information to the public for free through a new data portal. Secondly, a level playing field for open data across the EU will be established. Finally, these new measures are backed by the €100 million which will be granted in 2011-2013 to fund research into improved data-handling technologies.

These actions position the EU as the global leader in the re-use of public sector information. They will boost the thriving industry that turns raw data into the material that hundreds of millions of ICT users depend on, for example smart phone apps, such as maps, real-time traffic and weather information, price comparison tools and more. Other leading beneficiaries will include journalists and academics.

The Commission proposes to update the 2003 Directive on the re-use of public sector information by:

- Making it a general rule that all documents made accessible by public sector bodies can be re-used for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, unless protected by third party copyright;
- Establishing the principle that public bodies should not be allowed to charge more than costs triggered by the individual request for data (marginal costs); in practice this means most data will be offered for free or virtually for free, unless duly justified.
- Making it compulsory to provide data in commonly-used, machine-readable formats, to ensure data can be effectively re-used.
Introducing regulatory oversight to enforce these principles;
- Massively expanding the reach of the Directive to include libraries, museums and archives for the first time; the existing 2003 rules will apply to data from such institutions.

In addition, the Commission will make its own data public through a new “data portal”, for which the Commission has already agreed the contract. This portal is currently in ‘beta version’ (development and testing phase) with an expected launch in spring 2012. In time this will serve as a single-access point for re-usable data from all EU institutions, bodies and agencies and national authorities.

Background
Open Data is general information that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - either free or at marginal cost.

The Commission’s proposal today would operate in full respect of rules on the treatment of personal data.

Studies conducted on behalf of the European Commission show that industry and citizens still face difficulties in finding and re-using public sector information. That is to say, open data is largely undeveloped in Europe.

In the important sector of geographical information, almost 80% of the respondents to Commission surveys say that they are prevented from making full use of information held by public bodies. Reasons include high fees, non-transparent rules and practices regarding re-use, a lack of transparency on what type of data is held and by whom, and exclusive licensing agreements which may have the effect of undermining competition.

In its ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’ the Commission identified the re-use of public sector information, alongside fast and ultra fast internet access, as key to delivering a Digital Single Market.

Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information introduced a first set of measures to make it easier for businesses to obtain access and permission to re-use government-held information. It also brought about a process whereby governmental agencies lowered the fees charged for obtaining the information. Today’s proposal extends access and widens the coverage of the Directive.

FP7 supports a marine renewable energy

Vendredi 9 décembre 2011

The MARINET initiative (”Marine renewables infrastructure network”) has a budget of 9 million euro.

Led by researchers at the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC) at University College Cork in Ireland, the project, funded as part of the ‘Infrastructures’ Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), will allow companies to carry out renewable energy testing at these centres at no extra cost.

The MARINET project, which launches its call for proposals this month and will run until 2015, will help remove some of the financial barriers that sometimes stand in the way of access to world-class European testing facilities. Under MARINET, companies and research groups will have access to facilities outside their own country. Testing will focus on checking concepts and devices in areas such as wave energy, tidal energy, offshore-wind energy and the environment. It is hoped that this project will play a part in accelerating widespread development of marine renewable energy.

Offshore renewable conversion systems are mostly at the pre-commercial stage of development. They comprise wave energy and tidal stream converters as well as offshore wind turbines for electrical generation. These devices require research to be undertaken at a series of scales along the path to commercialisation.

Each technology type is currently at a different stage of development, but each one also needs specific research infrastructures to facilitate and catalyse commercialisation. The aim of this project is to coordinate research and development at all scales (from small models through to prototype scales, from laboratory through to open sea tests), and to allow access for researchers and developers to facilities that are not universally available in Europe.

The MARINET network is made up of 42 testing facilities at 28 research centres in 11 European countries as well as in Brazil. By linking these marine renewable-energy testing facilities and using an agreed testing framework, this initiative now provides a clear path to commercialisation: it allows allowing users to seamlessly progress their device through each phase of testing. All participating centres will use common standards, conduct research to improve their own testing capability and provide training to enhance expertise in the field.

This focus on commercialisation is in line with the Commission’s objective to speed up the rate of research outcomes reaching the marketplace.

Over the course of the project, at least four calls for applications will be made. Potential users, who must work in an EU Member State or an associated Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) country, can now apply to access the facilities as part of this first call.

The Irish facilities, for example, will be based at HMRC, part of the new Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC) which was launched recently by the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. There will be wave tank and electrical testing facilities located in Cork, and through the Galway Bay and Belmullet energy test sites of the Ocean Energy Development Unit (OEDU) of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), County Mayo will form part of the facilities on offer too.

Professor Tony Lewis from the HMRC warns companies not to miss out on this opportunity, and urges them to apply for the funding to access these facilities.
‘MARINET offers a unique opportunity to access these world-class European test facilities in order to validate and progress concepts at any stage of development, and to ultimately harness the untapped renewable energy resources that are abundant around the European coastline. This is a great opportunity to advance marine renewable research testing and commercial development.’

The other countries participating in the project are Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The European Commission requires citizens to choose the best system of electric journey planning

Lundi 5 décembre 2011

As part of a competition, European citizens are asked to choose the electronic journey planner they prefer.

The idea behind the challenge was to raise awareness about and stimulate development of all-in-one journey planners, going beyond national borders and offering alternative transport modes. Now it is time for the public to have their say on the submitted planners.

The challenge for a truly European travel planner was open to everyone, companies and organisations or anyone with an interest in travelling. 28 examples of journey planners were submitted and 22 new innovative ideas. Unfortunately not all submitted planners – innovative and easy to use as they may be – could satisfy the strict cross-border and multimodal requirements.

Now it is time for the public to cast its vote, between 5 December 2011 and 13 January 2012, on the 12 short-listed planners. In parallel, an expert jury will meet to deliberate on the submitted ideas. The best entries in each category will be announced by Vice-President Kallas at an event in Brussels in February 2012. As a prize, the winners in each category will be invited to next year’s ITS World Congress in Vienna (22-26 October 2012) to present their ideas and solutions at the Commission’s stand.

The big challenges faced by the transport sector today, such as increasing congestion, fuel costs and climate change require that we look for and find smarter ways to travel. More multimodal travel – using different types of transport as part of one door-to-door journey – is part of the answer. It is not only better for the environment, but it is also likely to be easier on our wallets and offer personalised travel solutions. Although more than 100 journey planners already exist, there is not even one yet that would allow European citizens to find information or book a ticket for the entire journey within Europe regardless of the number of countries or transport modes involved.

The European Commission presents its new Horizon 2020 programme

Mercredi 30 novembre 2011

The Commission today presented a financial instrument of 80 billion euros for research and innovation

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has announced Horizon 2020, an €80 billion1 programme for investment in research and innovation. Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has put forward a Strategic Innovation Agenda for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which will receive €2.8 billion of funding under Horizon 2020. In parallel, Vice-President Antonio Tajani has announced a complementary new programme to boost competitiveness and innovation in SMEs, with an additional budget of €2.5 billion. The funding programmes run from 2014 to 2020.

For the first time, Horizon 2020 brings together all EU research and innovation funding under a single programme. It focuses more than ever on turning scientific breakthroughs into innovative products and services that provide business opportunities and change people’s lives for the better. At the same time it drastically cuts red tape, with simplification of rules and procedures to attract more top researchers and a broader range of innovative businesses.

Horizon 2020 will focus funds on three key objectives. It will support the EU’s position as a world leader in science with a dedicated budget of €24.6 billion, including an increase in funding of 77% for the very successful European Research Council (ERC). It will help secure industrial leadership in innovation with a budget of €17.9 billion. This includes a major investment of €13.7 billion in key technologies, as well as greater access to capital and support for SMEs. Finally, €31.7 billion will go towards addressing major concerns shared by all Europeans, across six key themes: Health, demographic change and well-being; Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy; Secure, clean and efficient energy; Smart, green and integrated transport; Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials; and Inclusive, innovative and secure societies.

Background
Horizon 2020 is a key pillar of Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at enhancing Europe’s global competitiveness. The European Union is a global leader in many technologies, but it faces increasing competition from traditional powers and emerging economies alike. The Commission proposal will now be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament, with a view to adoption before the end of 2013.

Funding provided by Horizon 2020 will be easier to access thanks to this simpler programme architecture, a single set of rules and less red tape. Horizon 2020 will mean: drastically simplified reimbursement by introducing a single flat rate for indirect costs and only two funding rates - for research and for close to market activities respectively; a single point of access for participants; less paperwork in preparing proposals; and no unnecessary controls and audits. One key goal is to reduce the time until funding is received following a grant application by 100 days on average, meaning projects can start more quickly.

The Commission will make major efforts to open up the programme to more participants from across Europe by exploring synergies with funds under the EU’s Cohesion policy. Horizon 2020 will identify potential centres of excellence in underperforming regions and offer them policy advice and support, while EU Structural Funds can be used to upgrade infrastructure and equipment.

€3.5 billion will be devoted to a scaled up and expanded use of financial instruments that leverage lending from private sector financial institutions. These have been shown to be extremely effective at stimulating private investment in innovation that leads directly to growth and jobs. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from around €8.6 billion, recognising their critical role in innovation.

Horizon 2020 will invest nearly €6 billion in developing European industrial capabilities in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). These include: Photonics and micro- and nanoelectronics, nanotechnologies, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing and processing, and biotechnology. Development of these technologies requires a multi-disciplinary, knowledge- and capital-intensive approach.

Under the Commission proposal, €5.75 billion (+21%) will be allocated to the Marie Curie Actions, which has supported the training, mobility and skills development of more than 50 000 researchers since its launch in 1996.

As an integral part of Horizon 2020, the EIT will play an important role by bringing together excellent higher education institutions, research centres and businesses to create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and to ensure that the European ‘knowledge triangle’ is a match for the world’s best. The Commission has decided to significantly step up its support for the EIT by proposing a budget of €2.8 billion for 2014-2020 (up from €309 million since its launch in 2008). The EIT is based on a pioneering concept of cross-border public-private-partnership hubs known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). Its three existing KICs, focused on sustainable energy (KIC InnoEnergy), climate change (Climate KIC) and information and communication society (EIT ICT Labs), will be expanded with six new ones in 2014-2020 (see IP/11/1479 and MEMO/11/851).

Funding for the European Research Council (ERC) will increase by 77% to €13.2 billion. The ERC supports the most talented and creative scientists to carry out frontier research of the highest quality in Europe, in a programme that is internationally recognised and respected.

International cooperation will also be further promoted in Horizon 2020, in order to strengthen the EU’s excellence and attractiveness in research, to tackle global challenges jointly and to support EU external policies.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house science service of the European Commission, will continue providing scientific and technical support to EU policy making on everything from environment, agriculture and fisheries through to nanotechnology and nuclear safety.

Horizon 2020 will be complemented by further measures to complete the European Research Area, a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation by 2014.