Thursday, 28 July 2016

European Commission further strengthens senior management by appointing four Deputy Directors-General

Brussels, 27 July 2016

Today, the European Commission further strengthened its top management by appointing four Deputy Directors-General as of 1 September 2016: Ms Charlina Vitcheva to its Joint Research Centre (DG JRC), Ms Ruxandra Draghia-Akli to its department for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), Mr Mario Campolargo to the Informatics department (DG DIGIT) and Mr Carlos Alegria to its department for Interpretation (DG SCIC).
Ms Charlina Vitcheva, a Bulgarian national, joined the European Commission as a Director in its Regional and Urban Policy department in 2009. Before that, she spent 15 years in the Bulgarian public administration, dealing mainly with agricultural issues. During that period, she was actively involved in the accession negotiations of Bulgaria and headed, between 2000 and 2004, the negotiations team in the area of agriculture and rural development, food safety and fisheries. Ms Vitcheva is currently a Director for Smart and Sustainable Growth and Southern Europe and is supervising the management of EU funds in a number of EU Member States.
Ms Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, a Romanian national, joined the European Commission in 2009 to work in its department for Research and Innovation. Prior to that, she spent nearly 20 years as a medical doctor and a researcher in Romania, France and the US. Her last position was a Vice-President of research of a biotechnology research company. In the Commission, she is currently Director Health in DG Research and Innovation, where she is in charge of a team of some 150 people and a budget of some €1.3 billion annually.
Mr Mario Campolargo, a Portuguese national, joined the European Commission in 1990 after 12 years in telecommunications research. He has spent his entire career in the Commission in the area of information and communication technologies' research and policies. He is currently a Director for Future Networks in the Commission's department for information and communications technologies (DG CONNECT), managing a staff of 110 people and a portfolio of 250 active projects with a €950 million budget.
Mr Carlos Alegria, a Portuguese national, has worked in the European Commission since 1985. He worked as an interpreter for eight and a half years before he switched to management in the area of interpretation. He has been a Director in DG SCIC since 2004, in charge of resources and support since 2011 and was acting Director-General from 2015 until the appointment of Ms Florika Fink-Hooijer as Director-General in June 2016.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility - Peer Review of the Moldovan Research and Innovation system

The Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility (PSF) has been set up by the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD) of the European Commission under the EU Framework Programme for Research & Innovation ‘Horizon 2020’.
It supports Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020 in reforming their national science, technology and innovation systems.
The Peer Review of the Moldovan Research and Innovation system at the basis of this report was carried out between November 2015 and May 2016 by a dedicated PSF panel, consisting of seven independent experts and national peers. The Moldovan national authorities expressed strong political commitment to this exercise.
The PSF panel arrived at a compact set of Policy Messages highlighted upfront in the report, which contains the rationale supporting each of those policy statements and discusses the 24 specific recommendations proposed by the panel, clustered into thematic areas.
Case studies from other countries supplement the narrative by presenting good practice that could facilitate the operational implementation of the panel recommendations.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A new strategy to put culture at the heart of EU international relations

Brussels, 8 June 2016
Questions and answers

Why has the Commission adopted an EU Strategy for international cultural relations?
In a fast-changing, inter-connected world, cultural relations offer a unique opportunity for improving relations with EU partner countries. Culture is a valuable resource to tackle many of the challenges Europe and the world are currently facing – such as the integration of refugees and migrants, countering violent radicalisation and the protection of cultural heritage.
The potential of the cultural and creative sectors and the economic benefits of cultural exchanges also need to be tapped into to contribute to inclusive growth and job creation in the EU and its partner countries.
Several parties - Member States, the European Parliament and civil society – have called on the High Representative and the European Commission to develop a strategic vision to advance international cultural relations. The call to draw up such a strategy is also underpinned by the Preparatory Action on Culture in EU External Relations, which highlighted the need to implement a new model of cultural cooperation, based on co-operation and peer-to-peer learning.
The global context makes the call for the development of an EU strategy only stronger. Increased cultural cooperation and direct contacts and exchanges between people will contribute to making the EU a stronger global actor, in line with the ninth priority outlined by President Jean-Claude Juncker, reflecting the ambition of the EU's forthcoming Global Strategy.
What are the main objectives of the new strategy?
The EU strategy for international cultural relations will focus on three main objectives:
  • Supporting culture as an engine for social and economic development (p.7)
The economic benefits of cultural exchanges are too often overlooked. Global trade in creative products has more than doubled between 2004 and 2013, despite the global recession. Culture is a central element in the new economy driven by creativity, innovation, digital dimension and access to knowledge. Cultural and creative industries represent around 3% of global GDP and 30 million jobs. In the EU alone these industries account for more than 7 million jobs. In developing countries, UNESCO's Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) show that culture contributes 1.5% to 5.7% of GDP in low and middle-income countries.
The available data both in developing and developed countries indicate that the cultural sectors may account, depending on the country and scope, for 2% and 7% of GDP respectively, which is more than many other traditional industrial sectors.
The EU strategy for international cultural relations should therefore also become a strategy for inclusive growth and job creation.
  • Promoting intercultural dialogue and the role of culture for peaceful inter-community relations (p.10)
Inter-cultural dialogue, including inter-religious dialogue, is a key tool in promoting the building of fair, peaceful and inclusive societies as well as the value of cultural diversity and respect for human rights. It establishes common ground and a favourable environment for further exchanges.
Inter-cultural dialogue will be promoted through cooperation between cultural operators; peace-building cultural activities; exchanges between young people, students, researchers, scientists and alumni; as well as through cooperation on the protection of cultural heritage.
  • Reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage (p.11)
Cultural heritage is an important manifestation of cultural diversity that needs to be protected. Rehabilitating and promoting cultural heritage attracts tourism and boosts economic growth. There are many opportunities for joint action with partner countries to develop sustainable strategies for heritage protection through training, skills development and knowledge transfer.
The EU supports research and innovation for cultural heritage. The Commission will contribute to international efforts for the protection of cultural heritage sites and will consider a legislative proposal to regulate the import into the EU of cultural goods. It will also propose to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to organise a European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018.

How will the strategy be implemented and what will the Member States' role be?

The success of the new approach relies on the principle that all stakeholders join forces. Complementarity and synergies between all main players – governments from partner countries at all levels, local cultural organisations and civil society, the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS), EU Member States, and their cultural institutes - are essential.
For the implementation of the Strategy for international cultural relations, the EU can count on its 139 Delegations and Offices operating around the world, which already carry out an enormous number of cultural activities in their host countries. The EU (delegations) will act as an enabler and encourage synergies and cooperation between national cultural institutes and foundations, and private and public enterprises worldwide.
It is therefore important to establish effective partnerships between all these bodies. That is why an EU Cultural Diplomacy Platform was set up in February 2016, focusing on strategic partners. Operated by a consortium of Member States' Cultural Institutes and other partners, the Platform will advise the European Commission and the EEAS on external cultural policy, facilitate networking, carry out activities with cultural stakeholders and develop training programmes for cultural leadership.

Could you give concrete examples of projects to be carried out under the new Strategy?

A pilot project has just been launched to create a global platform (p.13) gathering networks of young cultural entrepreneurs from Europe and partner countries to facilitate exchanges between them. The Creative Europe programme, the main EU financial instrument for culture, is open to neighbourhood and enlargement countries, and the Commission encourages them to join.
The 11th EDF Intra-ACP programme (p.6&7) will support the contribution of cultural industries to the socio-economic development of ACP countries. Another initiative will be launched on intercultural dialogue including local authorities, funded under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI).
In the South Mediterranean, the EU will continue to support the Anna Lindh Foundation (p.11), including the second phase of the Young Arab Voices programme (now enlarged to the EuroMediterranean region) to deepen the dialogue between young leaders and civil society representatives and develop counter-narratives to extremism and violent radicalisation.
In the Eastern Partnership (EaP), the "EaP Culture Programme Phase II" is supporting the cultural and creative sectors’ contribution to sustainable humanitarian, social and economic development. At the same time, the "Community-Led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns" project seeks to stimulate social and economic development by enhancing cultural heritage in 9 historic towns in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The new Strategy will allow the targeting of specific regions or countries with appropriate actions. For example, the EU Cultural Diplomacy Platform is now exploring possibilities of cultural cooperation with Iran, in particular in the field of cultural heritage. Other ideas are being explored, such as the opening of a House of European Culture in Tehran. Similar projects are being considered for Ukraine.


Friday, 8 April 2016

Speech by Commissioner Carlos Moedas in Amsterdam, NL: "Open science: share and succeed"

Amsterdam, 4 April 2016

Carlos Moedas - Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

Last week, The Washington Post published an article about Alexandra Elbakyan, a 27 year old student from Kazakhstan and Founder of Sci-Hub, an online database of nearly 50 million pirated academic journal articles. To some, she is "The Robin Hood of Science." To others, she is a notorious cyber-criminal.
Elbakyan's case raises many questions. To me the most important one is: is this a sign that academic journals will face the same fate as the music and media industries? If so – and there are strong parallels to be drawn − then scientific publishing is about to be transformed.
So, either we open up to a new publishing culture, with new business models, and lead the market... Or we keep things as they are, and let the opportunity pass us by. As I see it, European success now lies in sharing as soon as possible, because the days of "publish or die" are disappearing. The days of open science have arrived.
So today I want to talk to you about:
1. Why open science is a good thing
2. A common vision for open science
3. And what we plan to do next.
In my view, there is a strong economic, scientific and moral case for embracing open science. Which brings me to my first point: why open science is a good thing and one of the 3 core priorities of my mandate.
Let's take the example of open access first of all.
A recent study analysed the economic impact of opening-up research data. Using the example of the European Bioinformatics Institute of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the study demonstrated that the institute generates a benefit to users and their funders of around 1.3 billion euros per year − just by making scientific information freely available to the global life science community. This is equivalent to more than 20 times the direct operational cost of the institute!
So open access increases the value of public investment in science.  But, more than that, it also contributes to scientific excellence and integrity by: opening up research results to wider analysis, allowing research results to be reused for new discoveries, and enabling the kind of multi-disciplinary research that is increasingly needed to solve global problems in the 21st century.
Then, there is the moral case for open access. I think the public have the right to see the results of the research they have invested in.
In short, open access makes complete sense. It generates income, raises excellence and integrity, and involves the public in what they pay for.  The question is rather how do we make the transition? Who pays and who benefits, and how do we do this together?
This brings me to my second point today, which is my vision for open science.
First, we need open access. Europe must transition from a pay to read to free to read culture. Free doesn't mean no revenue, it just means different revenue. I believe every scientific article from Europe should be open access, for the reasons I mentioned before.
Second, we must clarify copyright. Europe must also transition from legal uncertainty, to a clear legal framework for using data for research: so that researchers are able to reuse and recombine big data − enabling Europe to become a leader of data driven science.
Third, we must create infrastructure. Europe's final transition must be one from fragmented data sets to an integrated European Open Science Cloud. By 2020, we want all European researchers to be able to deposit, access and analyse European scientific data through a European Open Science Cloud.
So what do we need to achieve all this?
Scientific publishing needs to be financially sustainable, so who should pay? The Dutch scientific community has led the way in establishing a new funding arrangement with publishing companies.
This is the kind of new business model that we can all learn from, but one that only works if we remove other barriers to open access. For example, we need to look at how scientific success is measured, and make use of alternative methods that do not rely solely on scientific publications. In Horizon 2020, open access is already mandatory and other funders are beginning to require the same.
Of course, open access naturally leads to researchers reusing data and research results, but often the legal framework for doing so is unclear, or differs from country to country.
So, to answer this need for clarity, the Commission will propose a Copyright Directive that will include research exemptions, and we have introduced specific provisions within the EU Data Protection framework. 
On infrastructure, the Commission will set out an action plan to establish a European Open Science Cloud in the next few days. While I cannot go into details now, I can say that this action plan can only be realised in close partnership with the scientific community, because, together, we can not only generate more scientific collaboration, research and education − but innovations in the fast emerging digital economy as well.
So I welcome your ideas, on all of these ambitions and any others you may have, here today and in the future. And I am inviting you to continue to take part in the development of the European Open Science Agenda.  Help us decide how to provide incentives for open science. Help us reflect on new ways to reward open scientists.  Help us ensure citizen scientists contribute to European Science as valid knowledge producers, by 2020.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that we will soon launch the "Open Science Policy Platform" to advise the Commission on the policy actions required to implement the Open Science Agenda, as well as help with their implementation. We will announce its members at the May 2016 Competitiveness Council.
Only last year, a group of leading international linguists, wanted accessibility to their research results to be independent of expensive commercial publishers. So what did they do?  They left the editorial boards of their academic journals and embarked on a new venture.  They found an open access publisher that could make their dream of low-cost open access into a viable reality. 
So, instead of asking ourselves how to stop the unstoppable… Let's ask ourselves how we're going to make openness work for us. 


Monday, 4 April 2016

Centrul Comun de Cercetare (JRC) își deschide bazele de date

Serviciul Comun de Cercetare a făcut accesibilă o mare parte a rezultatelor cercetărilor pe care le efectuează.

La începutul lunii martie curent au fost făcute publice 490 seturi de date, pe care oamenii de știință și dezvoltatorii de aplicații le pot descărca gratuit pentru a le aplica în cercetare sau ideile de afaceri, cu condiția indicării sursei utilizate.

Printre domeniile din Catalogul de date se regăsesc clima, resursele de apă, solul,  pădurile ș.a.

Datele JRC vor fi accesibile și prin intermediul portalului de date deschise  al Comisiei Europene. Acest fapt permite accesul la informații cu privire la investițiile UE în mai mult de 500 de programe de politici în cadrul a opt diviziuni.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

RISE - Research, Innovation and Science Policy Experts

The European Commission set up the "Research, Innovation, and Science Policy Experts" (RISE) high level group (HLG) in June 2014, and renewed its mandate and membership in January 2016. The Innovation Union initiative , the Europe 2020 strategy (read also A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth PDF icon) and the Innovation Union flagship initiative (  PDF icon 202 KB ), provide the policy rationale for RISE. The Horizon 2020, 2014-2015 Work Programme PDF icon and 2016-2017 Work Programme PDF icon provide its financing base.

RISE gives direct strategic support to the European Commissioner for research, innovation, and science, Carlos Moedas, and to the European Commission. It focuses on how to best use EU research, innovation, and science policy to address the European growth model and to create the conditions for a different type of growth, a growth that is smart, sustainable, and socially inclusive for the EU and associated countries within a globalized world.

In its new setup, RISE is structured along the three policy priorities of EU Research and Innovation –Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World - with additional reflection on economic impact building on Open Knowledge Markets. This is why the group is divided into sub-groups, delivering on specific topics.

The Open Innovation advisory group of RISE is working in particular on the concept for European Innovation Council, on use of financial instruments for innovation support and on the interplay between regulation and innovation.

The Open Science advisory group works on how to create a culture for OS to flourish, by removing barriers and promoting incentives in research funding, career advancement and publishing, by embedding Open Access, Open Data and Research Integrity.

The Open to the World advisory group works on science diplomacy and international cooperation for global challenges and contributes to deepening of the international dimension across R&I policies.

Finally, the Open Knowledge Markets advisory group works on economic impact of R&I, including new concepts and measuring of innovation and the regulatory framework for research and innovation.

Improving access to finance for Romanian SMEs: EU adopts investment package worth €100 million

The European Commission adopted on March 29, 2016 the "SME Initiative" Operational Programme for Romanian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) 2014-2020, worth €100 million. The value of the investment provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the form of guarantees is expected to quadruple to €400 million, thanks to the leverage effect of private investment in SME loans.

The SME Initiative for Romania is the fifth of its kind to be adopted for 2014-2020, encouraging Member States to make use of this joint initiative, developed by the Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group to boost access to finance for Europe's cash-strapped small businesses.

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: "Today Romania joined the group of Member States that want to improve the business environment for SMEs, by pledging 100 million of EU Regional Fund to help finance the small and medium enterprises. In a country where SMEs represent over 99% of the total number of enterprises and face serious needs of external financing, this programme supports them in order to access loan products in better conditions. This Initiative will also enable SMEs to be more innovative and competitive and to grow on regional, national and international markets."

Vasile Dîncu, Romania's Minister of Regional Policy and Public Administration added:

"Targeting one of the critical difficulties for Romanian SMEs – the access to financing and providing a leverage of 4, this innovative tool that is called the SMEs Initiative is intended to be a major booster for competitiveness. This supports SMEs to succeed on the market in order to overcome the first stages of their life-cycles, allowing them to grow – both numerically, but also as dimension and value and, by doing so, to be able to compete internationally. Providing a risk-sharing approach, the SMEs Initiative creates a win-win framework both for SMEs - as loans demand financial intermediaries – and on the loans' supply side, thus supporting the whole business environment. "

The ESFRI Roadmap 2016

The ESFRI Roadmap 2016 identifies the new Research Infrastructures (RI) of pan-European interest corresponding to the long term needs of the European research communities, covering all scientific areas, regardless of possible location.
The 2016 Roadmap consists of 21 ESFRI Projects with a high degree of maturity - including 6 new Projects - and 29 ESFRI Landmarks - RIs that reached the implementation phase by the end of 2015.

The ESFRI Roadmap 2016 was launched on 10 March 2016, in Amsterdam. The event was organized under the Dutch Presidency by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in close cooperation with ESFRI, the European Commission and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Discussions focussed on strategic roadmapping, long-term sustainability and the socio-economic impact of research infrastructures.

Simpler procedures, lower costs and more legal protection: EU trade mark reforms

From today, new rules governing trade marks in the EU take effect that will improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including non-authentic goods in transit through the EU's territory.

The reforms are also aimed at making trade mark registration systems throughout the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater predictability and legal certainty.

What are trade marks?

Trade marks or 'brands' are signs used to distinguish the goods and services of one company from those of another. They take the form of words, logos, devices or other distinctive features. Trade marks not only identify the origin of goods and services, but also guarantee consistent quality, as well as being a basis for publicity and advertising.

A trade mark can become one of a company's most important assets. It is the mark through which a business can attract and retain customer loyalty, and create value and growth.

Cheaper and faster registration

Trade marks can be registered either at national level, at the industrial property offices of EU countries, or at EU level as an EU trade mark. A new framework of cooperation between the EU and national registry offices will ensure greater convergence of practices and standards.

The registration process is also being streamlined and harmonised across all EU Member States in order to remove burdensome procedures, making it both cheaper and faster.

Reduced renewal fees and increased legal certainty

Renewal fees for EU trade marks will be cut by up to 37%, and trade mark owners, with the assistance of customs authorities, will be given the authority to seize counterfeit goods transiting through the EU. This will also safeguard the public against unlawful and potentially harmful goods.

Changes to the legislation governing trade marks (for example, through harmonised rules on the designation of goods and services for which trade mark protection is granted) will increase legal certainty and clarity for businesses looking to register and enforce their trade mark rights in Europe.

The convergence of trade mark practices and processes throughout the EU will also create a more robust and streamlined system fit for the digital age.

A new EU Intellectual Property Office

The EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) will replace the former Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) located in Alicante, Spain, and the EU trade mark will be the new name for the Community Trade Mark.

The reforms will also modernize the definition of trade marks to make it easier to register special signs that cannot be represented graphically (such as sounds) since their representation will be accepted in any appropriate form using generally available technology (e.g. electronic file format).

Economic impact of trade mark-intensive industries

According to a joint study by the OHIM and the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2013, almost 21% of all jobs in the EU (around 45.5 million Europeans) during the 2008 to 2010 period were created by trade mark-intensive industries. Over the same period, trade mark industries are shown to have generated almost 34% of total economic activity (GDP) in the EU, worth €4.16 trillion.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Commission presents its evaluation of the 7th Framework Programme for Research

Brussels, 25 January 2016

The European Commission has published its ex-post evaluation of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), the EU's research funding programme between 2007 and 2013.

The evaluation is based on a report by an independent group of high level experts, as well as the Commission's response to its recommendations published in two legal documents.

The main findings are that FP7 was effective in boosting excellent science and strengthening Europe's industrial competitiveness, contributing to growth and jobs in Europe. The evaluation also identified ways to improve how the EU funds research and innovation, of which many issues are already being taken up by Horizon 2020, the successor programme to FP7. 

What are the Commission's main findings of the FP7 ex-post evaluation?

  • FP7 was particularly effective in strengthening scientific excellence. FP7 projects have so far generated 170,000 publications, with an open access rate of 54% for all scientific peer reviewed publications created during the life time of FP7. The share of publications that is in highly-ranked journals lies above the EU average. In some programmes up to 30% of publications arising from FP7-funded projects rank among the top 5% of highly-cited publications in their disciplines - well above the European and US averages. More than 1,700 patent applications and more than 7,400 commercial exploitations have so far resulted from FP7 projects. FP7 promoted ground-breaking research through the European Research Council (ERC). The numbers of publications in top-rated scientific journals that acknowledge ERC funding, as well as the number of Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals received by ERC grantees, all demonstrate that ERC grants have quickly become a hallmark of scientific excellence.

  • FP7 contributed to increasing the competitiveness of Europe's industry. Over the course of FP7, the participation of private partners increased. The Joint Technology Initiatives and other Public-Private Partnerships boosted industry participation, made it possible to realise strong leverage effects that contributed greatly to the competitiveness of Europe's industries in areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals, aeronautics and fuel cells and hydrogen. In addition, the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility improved access to loan finance for research and innovation-focused companies through loan agreements worth €11.3 billion that were signed with more than one hundred companies.

  • FP7 had a positive impact on growth and jobs. Given that FP7 only accounts for a relatively small proportion of total public RTD expenditure in Europe, its economic impacts are substantial, through the leverage effect of various instruments, impact on GDP and effects on employment. It is estimated that FP7 will increase GDP by approximately €20 billion per year over the next 25 years, or €500 billion in total through its indirect economic effects and create over 130 000 research jobs per year (over a period of 10 years) and 160,000 additional jobs indirectly per year (over a period of 25 years). There is also evidence of positive impacts in terms of micro-economic effects with participating enterprises reporting innovative product developments, increased turnover, improved productivity and competitiveness. It is however too early to make a final assessment of the market impact of FP7 projects.

  • FP7 addressed transnational societal challenges. E.g. in the area of energy, ICT, environment, health, food safety, climate change, security, employment, poverty and exclusion and facilitated the establishment of a common scientific base in these areas, which addresses societal challenges that could not have been fully resolved by single countries alone.

  • FP7 trained and involved leading international scientific and technological talent. FP7 was an open system that allowed more than 21,000 new organisations to receive EU funding. FP7 strengthened the training and long-term mobility of researchers, enhanced the quality of doctoral training and helped improve working conditions for researchers in the EU. FP7 supported 50,000 researchers, including 10,000 PhD candidates from 140 countries (of which more than a third were fellows from third countries). The programme stimulated the mobility of researchers across Europe. It also contributed to sustainable employment for researchers in Europe and helped increase the participation of women researchers and of international researchers in beneficiary research teams.

 FP7 was effective in fostering inter-disciplinary research and increased Europe-wide research and innovation collaboration and networking. Collaborative research projects brought together players from different disciplines and the share of researchers participating in projects from different priorities almost doubled over the course of the Programme, leading to durable inter-sectoral collaborations.

  • FP7 made substantial progress as regards the gender dimension. Under FP7, a target of 40% of the under-represented sex was set for experts' panels and other groups. The overall proportion of women evaluators was slightly higher than the target (40.4%). In total 38% of the workforce of FP7 were women. At the same time, the High Level Expert Group report found that in FP7 the share of female project coordinators was 19.2%, showing that whilst progress has been made, 'glass ceiling effects' persist.

  • FP7 contributed effectively to increasing the level of research investment. It did so notwithstanding the difficult economic situation in the latter part of FP7. Between 2007 and 2013, the share of EU-28 GDP dedicated to R&D increased, with FP7 compensating for the sharp decline in national public funding for research and innovation in certain Member States. According to the external evaluation of the High Level Expert Group, through short-term leverage effect and long-term multiplier effects each euro spent by FP7 generated approximately €11 of estimated direct and indirect economic effects through innovations, new technologies and products.

  • FP7 engaged SMEs strategically, with funding of around €6.4 million, above the 15% target for the FP7 cooperation programme. Results of econometric analyses show that SMEs participating in the FP7 scored 38% higher than the control group with regard to employment growth and operating revenue.

  • FP7 was open to the world involving participants from 170 countries. It widened EU participation and contributed to the achievement of ERA. On average in FP7 collaborative projects, 11 organisations from six different countries and nine different regions participated.

  • FP7 enhanced the alignment of research activities between Member States. It achieved this through common strategic research agendas, aligned national plans and joint calls. Initiatives to coordinate and integrate national programmes mobilised over €2.75 billion in national funding.

  • FP7 provided the knowledge base to support key EU policies. To date, there are more than 350 cases where FP7 projects have been exploited for policy support. FP7 also led to more than 550 standards and contributed to EU flagship initiatives through more than 1,700 patent applications.

Which shortcomings does the European Commission identify?

The ex-post evaluation of FP7 has highlighted certain shortcomings in the implementation of FP7:

  • FP7 could have further improved large-scale simplification: The level of complexity of FP7 was unsatisfactory. Although the measures introduced during the course of the Programme on a piecemeal basis proved beneficial, the variations in rules and procedures between different parts of the Programme hindered its efficiency. This is demonstrated in part by the high error rate associated with FP7.

  • The different parts of FP7 programme operated too much as isolated silos. Although FP7 had a transparent structure around four Specific Programmes with explicit priorities, the different components of the Programme were unduly rigid. This led to inefficiency due to overlaps between the objectives of different parts of FP7's Specific Programmes.

  • FP7 was not effective in building synergies with related European funding programmes. One of the goals of FP7 was to ensure complementarity with other programmes such as the CIP and the EIT, as well as the Structural Funds. However, the separate legal bases and differences in implementation rules meant that progress was more limited than required.

The Commission is already addressing these and other recommendations in Horizon 2020.

Who benefitted from FP7?

In total FP7 136,000 eligible proposals were submitted to FP7 calls for proposals, from which 25,000 projects were funded.

FP7 had a vast group of participants with more than 134,000 participations from 170 different countries. The participations came from in 86% of the cases from EU countries, 8% from Associated Countries and 6% rest of world.

In total 29,000 organisations participated, of which over 70% were newcomers. Of these universities and research organisation received 70% of the funding; 25% private sector, of which half to SMEs, and 5% to public bodies and others. In total SMEs received €6.4 billion in FP7.

How did FP7 projects benefit our economy and society?

Many of the projects supported by the €28.7bn Cooperation programme are leading to new processes, technologies and products that will be good for the economy and help improve people's lives and tackle our biggest challenges. For example:

  • Independent experts pointed out that the scientific impact is particularly strong for the Information and Communication Technologies programme, which invested €7.9bn in 2328 projects. Academic areas such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, media, and quantum computing were cited as good examples for advancing the state of the art.

  • €4.8 billion was invested in 1,008 projects in the field of Health. Achievements include new screening methodologies in diabetes and Alzheimer's disease; a portable PET scan that was brought to market in three years; an oral test for the diagnosis of breast cancer; and more rapid identification of new therapeutic targets in areas of autism and schizophrenia. These will contribute to speeding up the development of new medicines in Europe.

  • 374 projects were funded with €1.9 billion in the field of energy research in renewable energies such as wind, solar and biomass, addressing the performance of materials and hydrogen storage, in order to improve energy efficiency and the security of supply and to reduce pollution.

  • The Environment programme addressed environmental, climate change and resource efficiency issues with projects on, for example, earth observation, assessment tools for sustainable development and environmental technologies. A total of 494 projects were funded with a €1.7 billion contribution from FP7.

  • The Security programme stimulated European security research and contributed to reducing the fragmentation of the research community. In addition to the direct benefits resulting from projects, including in the fields of disaster management or societal impacts, FP7 Security research engaged more end-users in projects, created end-user communities and contributed to standardisation activities. A total of 319 projects were funded with €1.3 billion from FP7.

  • The Clean Sky Joint Undertaking stimulated action to meet targets for reducing emissions and noise in air transport in Europe set by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) in Vision 2020. For instance, technologies developed within the Green RotorCraft demonstrator (helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft) have resulted in a reduction of 30% for CO2 and 47% for noise compared to the respective targets of 25% and 50% reduction. A total of 474 projects were funded with a contribution of €1.9 billion from FP7.

What were the main recommendations of the High Level Expert Group?

The High Level Expert Group made recommendations in five areas, listed in the table below. The EU’s current research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, takes the recommendations into account as follows:

Horizon 2020
Focus on critical challenges and opportunities in the global context.
- focuses on society’s major challenges
- boosts private sector participation, including SMEs
- maximises synergies between different areas of research and innovation and new digital technologies
Align research and innovation instruments and agendas in Europe
- aligns national research strategies
- better coordination with EU regional funding
- helps EU countries reform their research and innovation strategies
- identifies obstacles to research and innovation
- ensures that research proposals support innovation
Integrate different sections of research funding programmes more effectively
- focuses on better consistency across the funding programme
- ensures cross-cutting issues are considered.
- simplifies access to research and innovation funding
- applies single set of rules consistently
- coordinates effectively across the Commission in managing funding
Bring science closer to citizens
- better communication to the general public on science issues in general and on Horizon 2020 in particular  
- strengthens open access to research publications and data
- involves citizens in research strategy and topics
Establish strategic programme monitoring and evaluation
– better monitoring and evaluation of funding and socio-economic impacts
- improves feedback loop from project results to policy making

 What else will the European Commission do in response to the evaluation findings?

Many issues raised by the High level Expert Group have already been addressed in Horizon 2020, but a number of specific points will be further addressed in the years to come.

For instance, the European Commission will:

  • Implement a new strategic focus for Horizon 2020 in order to maximise its contribution to the Commissioner Moedas' objectives of 'Open Innovation, 'Open Science' and 'Open to the World';
  • Facilitate the elaboration of important projects of common European interest, which can foster vast deployment of research into mature technologies.
  • Use the Policy Support Facility and Cohesion Policy capacity building support to assist Member States in implement effective reforms of their research and innovation systems;
  • Continue to foster synergies between Horizon 2020, the Structural Funds and LIFE, and report on this issue in the context of the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation; Promote potential synergies with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI);
  • Ensure that new Commission proposals are 'fit for innovation' by applying the 'Better Regulation' Guidelines, and in particular the 'Research and Innovation Tool' of the impact assessment guidelines;
  • Improve the framework conditions for better innovation ecosystems in the EU;
  • Continue to identify and implement simplification measures;
  • Ensure data quality and coherence to strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems, in line with the 'Better Regulation' requirements;
  • Support Member States in the national evaluation of the impact of EU Framework Programmes.