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Research & Technology in the EU

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

Connecting Europe Facility
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. It supports the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services. CEF investments fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone.

A pilot for Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative - EC legislative proposal - guide
The European Commission has tabled a plan which will fund EUR 50 billion worth of investment to improve Europe's transport, energy and digital networks. The "Connecting Europe Facility" will finance projects which fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. To assist with the financing of the Connecting Europe Facility, the Commission has also adopted the terms for the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative which will be one of a number of risk-sharing instruments upon which the facility may draw in order to attract private finance in projects. The pilot phase will start next year.

Connecting Europe Facility - guide
The European Commission has today tabled a plan which will fund €50 billion worth of investment to improve Europe's transport, energy and digital networks. Targeted investments in key infrastructures will help to create jobs and boost Europe's competitiveness at a time when Europe needs this most. The "Connecting Europe Facility" will finance projects which fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. It will also make Europe's economy greener by promoting cleaner transport modes, high speed broadband connections and facilitating the use of renewable energy in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. In addition the funding for energy networks will further integrate the internal energy market, reduce the EU's energy dependency and bolster the security of supply.

Commission Recommendation on the definition of nanomaterial - guide
"Nanomaterials" are materials whose main constituents have a dimension of between 1 and 100 billionth of a metre, according to a recommendation adopted by the European Commission on 18 October. The announcement marks an important step towards greater protection for citizens, clearly defining which materials need special treatment in specific legislation.

The 2011 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard
The 2011 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard" (the Scoreboard) collects information on the top 1000 EU companies and 1000 non-EU companies investing the largest sums in R&D in the last reporting year. The Scoreboard includes data on R&D investment along with other economic and financial data from the last four financial years.

EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard 2011 - guide
The European Commission's 2011 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard" shows that R&D investment by top EU companies recovered strongly in 2010, with a 6.1% rise following a 2.6% decrease in 2009. However, data for the world's top 1400 companies show EU companies as a whole lagging behind major competitors from the US and some Asian economies on R&D growth. There was a general positive trend in 2010, as global R&D investment increased by 4%, a robust up-turn after the 1.9% drop observed in 2009. The global top 50 in terms of total R&D investment includes 15 EU companies, 18 US firms and 13 from Japan. Two pharmaceutical companies occupied the top spots: Roche from Switzerland (€7.2bn) followed by Pfizer from the US (€7bn). Volkswagen (€6.3bn), in sixth place, is the biggest EU investor in R&D, followed by Nokia (11th with €4.9bn), Daimler (13th with €4.8bn) and Sanofi-Aventis (14th with €4.4bn).

Innovation Union competitiveness report 2011
The present Innovation Union Competitiveness report monitors progress towards the EU and national R&D headline targets and provides economic evidence and analysis to underpin EU and national policy making in support of Innovation Union. It aims to complement the overall review of Europe 2020 targets in the European Commission Annual Growth Survey by offering a deeper perspective on R&D intensity targets at EU and national level and presenting evidence on the dynamics of knowledge-intensive firms and other aspects of innovation. The report also extends and complements the Innovation Union scoreboard indicators to address the whole cycle of innovation, including the impact of research and innovation on raising competitiveness and tackling societal challenges.

Progress in the Development of Alternative Methods to Animal Testing for Cosmetics - Commission report
The European Commission presented on 13 September its yearly report on Alternative Methods to Animal Tests in the Field of Cosmetics to the European Parliament and Council.

Funding boost of EUR 7bn for Innovation Union
Research is set to remain high on the EU's political agenda as Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn announces the release of nearly EUR 7 billion for stimulating European innovation through research funding.

EUR 7 billion of investment in research and innovation - guide
Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn announced on 19 July nearly EUR 7 billion to kick-start innovation through research. The European Commission's biggest ever such funding package, under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), is expected to create around 174,000 jobs in the short-term and nearly 450,000 jobs and nearly EUR 80 billion in GDP growth over 15 years. EU research funding is at the top of the political agenda and has now been placed at the centre of a coherent innovation strategy, the Innovation Union, which the Commission says Europe needs if it is to compete with large, dynamic countries like the US and China.

Science for Environment Policy - Resource Efficiency
Humanity is demanding ever greater economic productivity at a time when natural resources, the input that feeds this productivity, are dwindling. To reduce pressure on key assets, such as water, minerals, fuel and land, we must use less of them, and we need to increase the efficiency and productivity of resources that we do use, to achieve more output per input. Put simply, we must do more with less. This thematic issue reports on research which helps guide the way to a more resource efficient society. Science for Environment Policy is a free news service published by the European Commission’s DG Environment and edited by the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England (UWE).

Intellectual Property Strategy - guide
Intellectual property rights (IPR), which comprise patents, trademarks, designs and geographical indications, as well as copyright (authors' rights) and rights related to copyright (for performers, producers and broadcasters), have been around for centuries. Often, without our even realising, they affect our daily lives: they protect the technology we use (cars, mobile phones, trains), the food we eat and the music we listen to or the films we watch. But in the last few years, technological change and, in particular, the growing importance of online activities, have completely changed the world in which IPR operate. The existing mix of European and national rules are no longer adapted and need to be modernised. That is why the Commission has adopted today a comprehensive strategy to revamp the legal framework in which IPR operate. Our objective is to enable inventors, creators, users and consumers to adapt to the new circumstances and to enhance new business opportunities. The new rules will strike the right balance between promoting creation and innovation, in part by ensuring reward and investment for creators and, on the other hand, promoting the widest possible access to goods and services protected by IPR. Getting this balance right will make a real difference to businesses (from the individual artist working alone to the big pharmaceutical companies) by encouraging investment in innovation. This will benefit the EU's growth and competitiveness which is delivered through the single market. Consumers will benefit from wider and easier access to information and cultural content, for example online music. The strategy deals with many issues to ensure IPR are covered comprehensively - from the patent a business needs to protect an invention to tackling the misuse of such inventions via a proposal also adopted today which will strengthen action on counterfeiting and piracy. Among the first deliverables of this IPR overall strategy are today's proposals for an easier licensing system for so-called "orphan works" that will allow many cultural works to be accessible online, and for a new regulation to reinforce customs actions in fighting trade of IPR infringing goods.

European Satellite Radio Navigation Programmes Galileo and EGNOS - guide
The launch of the first two operational satellites of the EU's global navigation satellite system will take place on 20th October, the European Commission has announced. This is just the first of a series of launches due to take off from Europe's Space Port in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch of the Galileo satellites at an altitude of 23.600km will lead to the provision of initial satellite navigation services in 2014. Successive launches will complete the constellation by 2019.

Cord Blood Europe calls for objective debate on family storage of cord blood cells
On average 11.7% of pregnant women are willing to store their child's cord blood stem cells in a private bank, according to a study that was published in the recognized Journal Transfusion and that analyzed attitudes towards cord blood storage in 5 EU countries.

SME brochure: Which European Research Programmes are most suitable for your SME?
This brochure is a publication of the European NCP-SME Network, adressed to European SMEs in order to provide them with information on specific European research programmes suitable for their needs and research capacities.

Unitary EU patent proposal: Summary of the impact assessment
The procedure for searching, examining and granting European patents is well-functioning and widely accepted by applicants from Europe and third countries. This standardised procedure, however, is complemented by mandatory post-grant procedures that are complex, divergent and result in unnecessary cost for business. This Impact Assessment looks into the problems and possible solutions with respect to the post-grant stage of patent protection.

The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) - EU grants and loans in the field of research and technology

Information Society
EU loans and grants in the field of the Information Society

Sustainable development
EU grants and loans in the field of eco-innovation

Intelligent Energy Europe
There are many untapped opportunities to save energy and encourage the use of renewable energy sources in Europe, but market conditions do not always help. The Intelligent Energy - Europe programme is the EU's tool for funding action to improve these conditions and move us towards a more energy intelligent Europe.

Meeting the challenge of Europe 2020: The transformative power of service innovation
This report “Meeting the Challenge of Europe 2020: The Transformative Power of Service Innovation” is produced by the Expert Panel on Service Innovation in the EU. The Expert Panel’s task has been to identify how services and innovation in services can help to deliver the Europe 2020 Strategy. It points to the fundamental changes taking place in the nature of innovation.

Europe INNOVA has the ambition to become the main pan-European platform for innovation professionals, which will enable them to discuss, develop, test and exchange ‘better practices’ in support of innovators and to contribute to a better understanding of the innovation patterns in different sectors. To this end, Europe INNOVA will be driven by innovation agencies and other public or private innovation support providers that are interested in working together in partnerships to search for new forms of innovation support at European level.

Commission proposes unitary patent protection in 25 Member States - guide
As part of the Single Market Act presented today, the European Commission has tabled a package of two legislative proposals, under enhanced cooperation, that will radically reduce the cost of patents in Europe by up to 80%. This will allow any company or individual to protect their inventions through a single European patent which is valid in 25 Member States. The proposed regulations lay down the terms and conditions for obtaining unitary patent protection, its legal effects and the applicable translation arrangements. The draft regulations will now pass to the Council and the European Parliament for consideration. The Commission hopes Spain and Italy, who are not yet among the participants, will join the enhanced cooperation.

EGNOS: Safety of Life Service Definition Document
The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) provides an augmentation signal to the Global Positioning System (GPS) Standard Positioning Service (SPS). Presently, EGNOS augments GPS by providing correction data and integrity information for improving positioning and navigation services over Europe. The EGNOS Safety of Life (SoL) Service is provided openly and is freely accessible without any direct charge and is tailored to safety-critical transport applications in various domains, in particular for aviation applications.

European Commission communication: Towards a space strategy for the European Union that benefits its citizens
Space policy is an instrument serving the EU's internal and external policies and responds to three types of needs: social, economic, and strategic. The space sector directly contributes to achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, namely smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Space policy thus forms an integral part of the "Industrial Policy" flagship initiative and the Strategy calls on the Commission to strive "to develop an effective space policy to provide the tools to address some of the key global challenges and in particular to deliver Galileo and GMES".