European research funding: where next?
Companies, universities and research bodies throughout Baden-Württemberg have benefited significantly from funding provided under the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7). As of 2014, companies will have to get their minds around a new program: Horizon 2020. According to forecasts made by the experts at the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ), the new program will result in a number of changes. SEZ helps companies apply for and implement EU research projects and make use of research findings.
A look at the names on the current 7th Framework Programme for Research confirms that the number of successful applications from Germany has risen significantly as the program has progressed. More than 25% of German applicants received funding in 2010. Having won around € 3.6 bn worth of funding, applicants from Germany were at the top of the list from 2007 to 2011. Within Germany, the state of Baden-Württemberg is number one, with 20.8% of applicants, 22.2% of EU financing and 26.9% of coordinators.
The framework initiative is an important source of funding in Germany, especially in Baden-Württemberg. Within the German landscape, 23.3% of universities, 19.9% of research institutions and 24.6% of companies to gain funding under the program are based in Baden-Württemberg. As an important economic region within Europe and an area with high average earnings, Baden-Württemberg has to work continuously to improve the quality of its products. To maintain its high standards, the region must invest in research and development on a permanent basis. The EU funding program makes it possible to cushion companies from financial risks when products are still in development and not yet bringing commercial benefit. The framework program fosters transnational collaboration. Through such transnational collaboration, Germany as a strong exporter has a major opportunity to gain access to foreign markets or build and bolster its standing. As a result, the state is keen to maintain access to European funding programs.
To facilitate this, the Steinbeis- Europa-Zentrum represents the parties involved on a variety of European Commission committees, making an active contribution to political discussion on future EU innovation and research policy. One of the aims of the Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum is to involve more small and medium-sized companies in European Union research programs. The planned Horizon 2020 program is an important pillar of the “Innovation Union,” one of seven key initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy, which is aimed at strengthening Europe’s global competitiveness. Horizon 2020 brings together activities for the first time that were previously carried out in isolation, such as the Framework Programme for Research, the Programme for Competitiveness and Innovation and the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). The hope of the European Commission is that funding instruments will work more cohesively.
The Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum is inviting business managers, researchers and scientist to take advantage of the current funding opportunities presented by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research. During the remainder of 2012, the EU will be requesting project applications in the following technology fields: transport, nano/microtechnology, materials/working materials, production, medicine, the environment, nutrition and foodstuffs. SEZ project managers offer free short consulting sessions.