New Practical Guide to EU Funding Opportunities for Research and Innovation


Competitive European Regions through Research and Innovation

Introduction

In an open global economy, competitiveness relies on the capacity of businesses to create high value- added goods and services. A move towards innovation-based sustainable growth is therefore at the heart of the EU’s response to globalisation. In June 2010, the EU Heads of State and government endorsed the Europe 2020 strategy that aims to get the European economy back on track. At the heart of Europe 2020 is the conviction that we need R&D and innovation to create smart, sustainable growth and get Europe out of the current economic crisis.

Research and innovation can also offer solutions to overcome the great challenges that face our continent and the rest of the world, challenges such as energy security, climate change, environmental degradation, the exclusion of vulnerable groups, the ageing population, global health threats, and demographic developments.

The European Union possesses five key funding opportunities to support research and innovation: the Research Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund within the Cohesion policy; the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Fisheries Fund within the Rural development policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.

In 2007 the European Commission published its ideas on ‘Competitive European Regions through Research and Innovation’1 and called on Member States and regions to make more effective use of the available funding instruments. The first edition of the Practical Guide was introduced in 2008 to provide a concise description of the main funding sources in the field of research and innovation. It explained how they can be combined in practice and provided policy makers with advice on setting up mechanisms at the national and regional levels to foster co-ordinated access to them.

The Competitiveness Council invited the Commission to continue progressing in this direction, notably by improving, upgrading and expanding the scope of the existing Practical Guide, including the modernisation of the guide as a comprehensive web-based portal on research and innovation. We are very happy to offer you this revised version of the Practical Guide.

This new edition includes a full up-to-date picture of the three sources of funding described in the initial Guide (7th Research Framework Programme, Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and Structural Funds) completed by information on the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and on the European Fisheries Fund. It also focuses on additional funding opportunities in the field of research and innovation. It includes information on the Lifelong learning programme and international cooperation in the field of education and on LIFE + in the field of the environment. It also describes the research and innovation funding opportunities offered to countries and territories beyond the European Union, in the framework of Pre-accession Assistance and within the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

Guide to EU Funding: Opportunities for Research and Innovation



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