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Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
The future of EU-funded research and innovation programmes: an emerging consensus….and a new name
Conference closing the consultation on the future Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation
Bruxelles, 10 June 2011
Distinguished Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you again for your active participation in today's conference.
And special thanks to all of the speakers and moderators who provided us with so many interesting insights. Your work is much appreciated. The rich discussions we have had today add to the overwhelming response that we received during the three-month consultation period.
I can assure you, however, that it was much easier to launch our discussions this morning than it is to try to summarise such rich contributions and bring this conference to a close at the end of a Friday afternoon!
We in the Commission will now reflect very carefully on all of the arguments, opinions and suggestions. But I would like to share with you some of the points that struck me, personally.
First of all, there is broad support for the Common Strategic Framework, bringing together research and innovation actions. Simplification is a key priority, as well as the focus on societal challenges and making the programme more accessible, in particular for SMEs. It is clear that not everyone agrees on all of the points. This is only natural. We put so much emphasis on an open public debate of our proposals because we wanted to hear a diversity of opinion.
And we will do our best to square the circles and strike the right balance when we make our proposal on the CSF this autumn.
While there is agreement that we need to bring research and innovation closer together, we do have to take account of the often different requirements and objectives of research and innovation actions.
There is a clear desire for a much simpler funding landscape, with fewer instruments, improved coordination and elimination of unnecessary overlap. The rules and procedures should be simpler and applied more uniformly, however we have to square this with a demand for greater flexibility.
While there is support for a strong, over-arching strategy to guide our research and innovation priorities, there are also calls for less prescription, more flexibility, for bottom-up approaches that permit a certain element of risk. Also, there should be room for smaller innovative projects alongside large-scale strategic actions with the critical mass needed to reach our objectives.
The European Research Council is doing excellent work and many want to see its funding increased. At the same time there is the call to maintain strong support for collaborative research, which must remain the backbone of the CSF.
We must continue to support blue-sky, fundamental research, but there is also demand for applied research and more actions that are closer to the market, such as demonstration activities, trials and technology transfer.
Those are just a few of the opinions we have heard. These are the finer points that will have to be further discussed and resolved in the coming months. But looking at the broader picture, I think we are reaching a consensus on the need for a Common Strategic Framework at the European level that has the appropriate means to boost research and innovation in Europe.
The Commission's goal over the last four months has been to reach out to a wide range of stakeholders and I think I can safely say that we now have a clear view on what stakeholders – with all their diverse views - are expecting from the Common Strategic Framework.
Your views and opinions constitute a vital input to the further preparation of the Commission's proposals for the CSF.
The next step in the process will be the adoption of the Commission's proposal for the future EU Budget at the end of this month. This will propose an overall budget for the Common Strategic Framework and for other important policies.
Then, before the end of the year, the Commission will adopt its proposals for the Common Strategic Framework, to be discussed in the European Parliament and with Member States in the Competitiveness Council.
With such a large and complex range of issues to address, it will not be possible to take on board every single viewpoint. There will be hard choices to make, but our ultimate goal is to have a Common Strategic Framework that will create the greatest possible impact, making a decisive contribution to the goals and ambitions of Europe 2020.
We want the CSF to mark a clear departure from business as usual. We are not simply moving from the 7th to the 8th Framework Programme. And what better way to demonstrate this shift than with a new name?
At the same time as we sought the public's views on the content of the Common Strategic Framework, we also asked for ideas for a new name. Again, the response was overwhelming – more than 1600 suggestions were received.
I am delighted to announce the shortlist that will be put to a public vote on-line. The three shortlisted names are:
The year 2020 has been added to the shortlisted names to show clearly that the Common Strategic Framework will be designed to support the research and innovation objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Voting is now open until 17 June on the same website as the CSF consultation. I hope that you will all take part!
Distinguished Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am convinced that research and innovation have a bright future in Europe. The Common Strategic Framework is one of the key elements to building this future, and I am looking forward to working with all of you to build this future together.