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Jobs boost expected thanks to €70bn Horizon 2020 programme

The agreement has been described as “good news” by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Sean Sherlock TD
Sean Sherlock TD
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND WILL GET a jobs boost now that agreement has been reached on the €70 billion Horizon 2020 programme, it was said this evening.

Under the programme, Ireland can now target up to €1 billion in research funding over the next six years, Minister Seán Sherlock said today.

The Irish Presidency has secured political agreement with the European Parliament on the EU’s research and innovation programme.

Sherlock is in Brussels for the final formal “trilogue” or three-way negotiation between the Council, Commission and Parliament.

Negotiations

The agreement comes following lengthy intensive negotiations over the past months, and Minister Sherlock, currently Chair of the Council of EU Research Ministers, said that the strategic approach to research and innovation contained in Horizon 2020 “will develop, diffuse and drive research across the European Union”.

He added however that the Council will also have to give its approval to the final negotiated agreement and he hopes and expects that will come later this week.

The TD added he is confident that Ireland will be in a position to target up to €1 billion euro in research and technology funding under the new programme over the next six years.

We need to set ambitious targets in ensuring that we maximise our drawdown of productive, job creating funds from Europe and this is perhaps the prime source of that kind of funding.

He paid tribute to Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn and her team in DG Research for their work on the agreement.

The programme consists of three pillars:

  • Excellent Science, which will include funding for the European Research Council, research infrastructures and future and emerging technologies.
  • Industrial Leadership, which contains specific supports for SMEs and for enabling industrial technologies such as nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and ICT.
  • Societal Challenges, which will help ensure that research is directed at areas of most concern to citizens and business – such as health, climate, food, security, energy and transport.

The programme will use a simplified funding model, which means that a greater number of businesses and research providers – small medium and large – can access the programme with less bureaucracy, said Sherlock.

This political agreement now goes to the Committee of Permanent Representatives of Member States for endorsement, while the indicative budget of €70 billion is subject to final agreement on the EU’s Multi-Financial Framework

Good news

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said it “is good news for researchers, for universities, for SMEs, and for all other future participants in the programme”.

The package will now be submitted to both the Council and to the European Parliament, where it will be brought forward to a plenary session of the European Parliament.

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