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Research & Technology in the EU

Latest news about research and innovation policy in the European Union.

Interoperability as a means for modernising the public sector
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a new programme that will help EU Member States to modernise their administrations and provide interoperable digital services at national and European level.

Top inventors honoured at European Inventor Award 2014
Inventors from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, UK, Japan and the US scooped top honours at the European Inventor Award 2014 in Berlin last week.

European Patent Office
The European Patent Office (EPO) offers inventors a uniform application procedure which enables them to seek patent protection in up to 40 European countries. The EPO is one of the leading international organisations in Europe, with some 7,000 staff from over 30 different countries at five locations in four countries. Under the European Patent Convention inventors can obtain patent protection in up to 40 countries by filing a single application.

Commercial access to Earth observation data: new EU proposal
Businesses and research institutions will soon have more reliable access to commercial earth observation satellite data, according to a proposal presented by the European Commission in Brussels on 17 June.

An environmental standards information portal for Europe
In Europe, we have a vast wealth of research results that support standards in relation to environmental aspects such as air, water, soil and waste. SIPE ('An environmental Standards Information Portal for Europe'), an EU-funded project, brings all these results together and combines them with information on standards and policies in a single dedicated web-based portal.

SPARC - the world's largest civilian robotics programme
The European Commission and 180 companies and research organisations (under the umbrella of euRobotics) launch on 3 June the world's largest civilian research and innovation programme in robotics.

Key Enabling Technologies & European Industrial Renaissance
At the Key Enabling Technologies summit on 19 May 2014 in Grenoble (France), European and local entrepreneurs together with Research Organisations met to discuss the future challenges for the reindustrialisation of Europe by using the most innovative and strategic technologies. Key Enabling Technologies comprise micro- and nanoelectronics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, photonics, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing systems. Most innovative products nowadays, whether it is the smart phone or electric car, incorporate several KETs simultaneously, as single or integrated parts.

Innovation in the blue economy
Two thirds of the Earth is covered by oceans and seas. If we manage them in a responsible manner, they can provide sources of food, medicine and energy while protecting ecosystems for generations to come. However, in order to make this possible, we need to know more about our seas and oceans. The European Commission has today presented an Action Plan for Innovation in the 'Blue Economy' to help use ocean resources sustainably and drive growth and jobs in Europe.

Mapping the European ICT Poles of Excellence: The Atlas of ICT Activity in Europe
The EIPE Atlas presents the results of the empirical mapping of ICT activity in Europe and the ranking of the top European NUTS 3 regions based on their performance in EIPE Composite Indicator (EIPE CI), together with the ranks for the individual 42 indicators which contributed to the building of the EIPE composite indicators. The report offers a snapshot of the performance of regions that are identified as the main locations of ICT activity in Europe. It is meant to provide a comprehensive picture of how ICT activity is distributed across Europe and where its main locations are. This information is expected to give a better overview of the European ICT landscape, activity and actors in each location and to reveal their strengths and weaknesses.

Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014
Europe is closing its innovation gap with the United States and Japan but differences in performance between EU Member States are still high and diminishing only slowly. At a regional level, the innovation gap is widening, with the innovation performance having worsened in almost one fifth of EU regions. These are the main results of the European Commission's Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014 and the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2014. The overall ranking within the EU remains relatively stable, with Sweden at the top, followed by Denmark, Germany and Finland – the four countries that invest most in research and innovation. The countries whose position has improved the most are Portugal, Estonia and Latvia. Overall progress has been driven by the openness and attractiveness of the EU research system as well as business innovation collaboration and the commercialisation of knowledge as measured by licence and patent revenues from abroad. However, growth in public R&D expenditure was offset by a decline in venture capital investment and non-R&D innovation investment in companies.

Western Balkans gearing up for Horizon 2020
While the scientific performance of the Western Balkan countries (WBCs) has improved in recent years, it still lags behind that of EU countries, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Sizing up Europe's app economy
The EU's app sector has gone from zero to digital superhero in less than five years. By 2018 it could employ 4.8 million people and contribute €63 billion to the EU economy according to a report presented in Brussels today. The study, carried out by GIGAOM and NUI Galway for the European Commission, shows that Europe's app developers are up to the challenge of taking the global lead. Currently, EU and North American developers generate the same levels (42% each) of app revenues in crucial EU and US markets. Although the future is bright, developers have raised concerns about the skills gap, connectivity and fragmentation which could put the app boom at risk.

Sizing the EU app economy
This report focuses on sizing and qualifying the EU app ecosystem, with an eye toward revenue generation, jobs supported, and the bottlenecks still facing EU app developers.

Connected Cars
New European standards for 'connected cars', able to communicate with each other and with road infrastructures, are expected to appear on European roads in 2015.

Next Generation Emergency Services project to be funded by the European Commission
On December 11th, the European Commission launched its Horizon 2020 Work Programme for 2014-2015. A specific topic entitled "Communication technologies and interoperability: Next Generation emergency services" (Reference DRS -19-2014) has been included to develop a testing regime for Next Generation 112 products, using existing standards and protocols.

Horizon 2020 - first calls
The Horizon 2020 Work Programme for the years 2014-15 sets out the funding opportunities under the different parts of the programme; all are being published today on the Participant Portal. Each part describes the overall objectives, the respective calls, and the topics within each call. Each topic describes the challenge to be addressed, the scope of the activities to be carried out, and the expected impacts to be achieved. Compared with the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), there are relatively fewer calls and topics. The Work Programme reflects the strong challenge-based approach of Horizon 2020, allowing applicants to have considerable freedom to come up with innovative solutions. This MEMO highlights some key aspects of the Work Programme.

Research and Innovation Funding participant portal
On this EC website you can find and secure funding for research & innovation projects under the following EU programmes: 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 - research and innovation framework programme; and 2007-2013 7th research framework programme (FP7) and Competitiveness & Innovation Programme (CIP)

Horizon 2020
EU Member States adopted on 3 December 2013 Horizon 2020, the next EU research and innovation programme. With a budget of nearly EUR 80 billion euro over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research programme yet, and one of the biggest worldwide that is publicly funded.

Smarter Cities and Communities
City leaders, CEOs and civil society leaders discussed today at a conference hosted by the European Commission actions outlined in the "Smart Cities Strategic Implementation Plan" and how to put them into practice. The Commission announced that it will launch an 'Invitation for Smart City and Community Commitments' in spring 2014 to mobilise work on the action plan's priorities. The plan is part of Europe's fifth "Innovation Partnership". Cities are the major source of European economic activity and innovation. But cities are also a major source of greenhouse gases and pollution. Concerted action is needed to make urban environments cleaner and healthier to live in and to make them use less energy. The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities and its "Strategic Implementation Plan" are leading the way in making the transformation of cities into "Smart Cities" a reality. Real impact could be made through investments in 'zero/plus' energy districts, increased use of alternative energies for cleaner transport, public transport and efficient logistics to reduce negative impacts of congestion, or green, widely available ICTs and multiple-use infrastructures.

2013 EU Industrial R&D Scoreboard
For the first time since 2004, an EU company – the German carmaker Volkswagen – is the world’s largest private sector R&D investor. Volkswagen tops the European Commission's 2013 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard with an investment of €9.5bn in 2012. Overall, EU-based firms (527 companies) stepped up R&D investment by 6.3%, just above the average of the 2000 firms in the Scoreboard (+6.2%). However, like last year they lagged behind their US counterparts (+8.2%). EU companies also showed a mixed performance depending on the sector, with strong R&D growth in some but stagnation or decline elsewhere. EU Scoreboard companies surveyed expect to increase their R&D investments by 2.6 % on average per year for the period 2013-2015, a fall in expectations over the previous year. The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard is published annually by the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation and Joint Research Centre).

Projects of common interest in energy - 250 infrastructure projects may qualify for EUR 5.85 bn funding
The European Commission adopted on 14 October a list of some 250 key energy infrastructure projects designed to create a modern infrastructure with adequate interconnectors and reliable networks. These "projects of common interest" (PCI) will benefit from accelerated licensing procedures and improved regulatory conditions and may have access to financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility, under which a EUR 5.85 bn budget has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-20. The Commission says this will help them get implemented faster and make them more attractive to investors. Once completed, the projects will help EU Member States to integrate their energy markets, enable them to diversify their energy sources and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also enable the grid to uptake increasing amounts of renewables, and consequently help reduce CO2 emissions.

35 pct of jobs in the EU rely on IPR-intensive industries
About 39% of total economic activity in the EU (worth some EUR 4.7 trillion annually) is generated by IPR-intensive industries, and approximately 26% of all employment in the EU (56 million jobs) is provided directly by these industries, while a further 9% of jobs in the EU stems indirectly from IPR-intensive industries - according to a study published today by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).

ERA Progress Report 2013
State of play of actions and initiatives by EU Member States, Research Funding and Research Performing Organisations and the Commission in support of ERA priorities.

European Research Area (ERA) Progress Report 2013
The report provides a factual base for assessing progress in target areas like open and fair recruitment of researchers or better circulation of scientific knowledge. It shows that some progress has been made, but that even the best performing research institutions still have issues to address ahead of the 2014 deadline for ERA, as set by EU leaders. There is also a significant gap between the best and the worst performers. This guide explains the objectives and results of the European Research Area (ERA) Progress Report that presents for the first time a comprehensive overview of the political context, steps taken and recent achievements towards completing a single market for research. The report is accompanied by the document ERA Facts & Figures where the state of play in each of the ERA priorities in EU Member States and countries associated to the EU research framework programme are presented. More detail on the situation in each country is presented in 'Country fiches'.

Using standards to support growth, competitiveness and innovation - Guidebook Series: Hands-on advice for SMEs
A smart guide on promoting and facilitating SME competitiveness through the development and use of standards with the help of EU structural funds