EU innovation initiative will deliver jobs
New EU public-private partnerships hold real opportunities for Irish businesses and researchers
Focus on Europe: in July the European Commission tabled proposals for an investment package of around €22 billion to boost innovation in potentially high growth sectors that will generate high quality jobs
Their R&D spending in 2011 made up about 1.1 per cent of EU GDP. Chinese competitors spent 1.36 per cent of GDP, US companies 1.65 per cent and South Korean firms a whopping 2.97 per cent.
So we need more research and innovation in Europe to create new jobs and deliver major benefits to society, such as real alternatives to fossil fuels or new treatments to combat the growing threat of drug-resistant infections.
That is why the European Commission has joined forces with the private sector and with EU member states in several key research areas.
The EU’s next seven-year budget, agreed during the Irish presidency (of the EU) earlier this year, is focussed on growth. The total budget envelope may be smaller, but expenditure on research and innovation will rise by a quarter to over €70 billion.
The new research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, is designed to maximise the impact of every euro. There is consensus on the importance of this investment, as forward-looking EU member states like Ireland have striven to protect their research spending as much as possible, even in times of crisis and budget cuts.
On July 10th last, the European Commission tabled proposals for an investment package of around €22 billion to boost innovation in potentially high growth sectors that will generate high quality jobs. The EU’s contribution of €8 billion to this innovation investment package will mobilise €10 billion from industry and close to €4 billion from member states. This will provide vital funding for large-scale, longer-term, risky research and innovation initiatives.
Most of the funding will go to five public-private partnerships, called Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs): innovative medicines; fuel cells and hydrogen; aeronautics; bio-based industries; and electronics.
The joint investment should ensure that the EU remains a leader in strategic sectors that already provide over four million jobs. And it is also a major opportunity for businesses large and small, universities and research organisations across the EU, including Ireland.
In some of these areas JTIs have already been established and are funded under the current EU research programme, but the innovation investment package will give them new impetus.
Funding of Irish research
In fact, Irish participants in the existing JTIs have already received around €12.5 million from the EU research budget.
A further €7.2 million has also gone to Irish organisations participating in biotechnology research activities – an area that will be further developed under the new JTI for bio-based industries. And the Irish Aviation Authority is set to receive €2 million from its participation in another existing partnership that aims to modernise air traffic management.