Innovation has been placed at the heart of the EU's strategy to create growth and jobs.
EU countries are encouraged to invest 3% of their GDP in R&D by 2020 (1% public funding, 2% private-sector investment) - this is expected to create 3.7 million jobs and increase the EU's annual GDP by nearly €800 billion.
The EU initiative Innovation Union focuses Europe's efforts – and its cooperation with non EU countries – on the big challenges of our time: energy, food security, climate change and our ageing population. It uses public sector intervention to stimulate the private sector and remove bottlenecks which prevent ideas from reaching the market – including lack of finance, fragmented research systems and markets, under-use of public procurement for innovation and slow standard-setting.
The EU is also working to create a single European Research Area, where researchers will be able to work anywhere in the EU and cooperation across borders will be supported and encouraged.
In January 2014, the EU launched its latest 7-year research programme - Horizon 2020 - Almost €80-bn of EU funding is available up to 2020 – in addition to the private and national public investment this money will attract. It combines all research and innovation funding in one integrated programme.
Its goals are:
Horizon 2020 will seek to: