Rules of participation on Research Council agenda
The member states’ ministers in charge of research meet on 10 October in Luxembourg and are likely to approve the main points of two draft regulations in the framework of Horizon 2020, the future R&D framework programme for the 2014-2020 period. These are, on the one hand, the text on the rules of participation in and dissemination of research programmes as part of the future framework programme and, on the other hand, the text amending the regulation on the creation of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). An agreement in principle on these two texts should allow the Council to start negotiations with Parliament on the Horizon 2020 package as a whole, given that in their last session, on 31 May, the ministers approved a partial general approach on the general regulation that defines the framework programme Horizon 2020. Indeed, these agreements are on hold until the European Parliament has given its opinion and the 27 member states have endorsed the EU budget for the period 2014-2020. The Commission has proposed allocating €80 billion to research and innovation, an amount that would make Horizon 2020 the biggest research programme in the world, but which, according to some, risks being considerably reduced by the European Council. The ministers should continue the talks that were started at their informal Council, on 20 July in Nicosia, on the delicate issue of the rules of participation in and dissemination of research programmes. The EU executive proposes applying, from 2014, a single rule of 100/20 for the reimbursement of costs: 100% for the direct costs of research activities (70% for activities that are linked to the market) and a flat rate of 20% for indirect costs. Meanwhile, Christian Ehler, a German MEP of the EPP group who is rapporteur on the issue, has proposed in his report, presented on 18 June to the EP’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), that the participants in the research programme should be able to opt for an alternative based on a flat rate for the entire cost.
The Commission has decided to boost its support to the EIT by proposing a budget of €3.1 billion for the period 2014-2020 (compared with €309 million since the creation of the EIT in 2008). The EIT provides for the establishment of public-private cross-border platforms, called knowledge and innovation communities (KICs). The ministers are set to give their agreement in principle to the draft regulation, which also proposes the launch of six new KICs between 2014 and 2020. These partnership platforms will be added to the three existing KICs focused on renewable energy (KCI InnoEnergy), climate change (CCI Climate) and the future information and communication society (EIT ICT Labs). The six new KCIs are likely to relate to the following areas: added value manufacturing industry; food for the future; innovation for a healthy life and active ageing; raw materials; intelligent and safe companies; and urban mobility