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Research & Technology in the EU

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

EU Commission says plants and animals derived from conventional breeding should be regarded as non-patentable
In a long awaited explanatory statement, the EU Commission takes the view that plants and animals that are obtained by means of “essentially biological” breeding are non-patentable. This statement is in strong contradiction to the current practice of the European Patent Office (EPO), which has already granted more than 100 patents on conventional breeding, e.g. on tomatoes and broccoli.

Proposal for a new EU space policy
The European Commission made a proposal for a new space policy on 26 October,with the aim of fostering new services and promoting Europe's leadership in space.

New study shows intellectual property is good for the European economy
The European Patent Office (EPO) and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) today published their second EU-wide study of the impact of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on the European economy in terms of GDP, employment, wages and trade.

Mediterranean research partnership to increase food and water sustainability
The Commission presented Wednesday a proposal for a Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) with the aim of developing novel solutions for sustainable water management and food production.

EU Court rules out loophole on animal testing
EU law protects the EU market from cosmetic products containing ingredients which have been tested on animals, the EU's top court ruled Wednesday, wherever that testing may have been conducted.

Latvia tops Europe's innovation scoreboard
EU innovation is catching up with Japan and the US, with Latvia the fastest growing innovator, according to the Commission's 2016 European Innovation Scoreboard released Thursday.

Trade secrets directive to protect innovation in Europe
New EU rules to help firms win legal redress against theft or misuse of their trade secrets were agreed by EU ministers Friday, the aim being to protect innovation and creation in Europe.

EU pilot scheme to break regulatory barriers to innovation
The European Commission issued calls for expressions of interest on Thursday from projects contributing to EU plans on the circular economy, in a pilot scheme to break down regulatory barriers to innovation.

EU trade mark applications continue upward rise
Applications for European Union trade marks continued their upward rise in 2015, with Germany leading the way from the Member States, and Paris from the regions. Almost 90,000 EU trade mark applications were received from the Member States in 2015.

EU earmarks EUR 8.7m funding for innovative businesses
189 smaller European businesses are to benefit from a total of EUR 8.7 million of funding under the latest round of Horizon 2020 research funding for SMEs, the European Commission announced Thursday

EU scientists to benefit from 'European cloud'
A new 'European cloud', unveiled by EU Science Commissioner Carlos Moedas, is to give Europe's researchers and scientists a new virtual environment to help them reap the benefits of a revolution in 'big data'.

Mobilisation for start of mass opposition against patent on tomatoes
This week, a European-wide coalition is starting a mass opposition against a patent held by the Swiss company Syngenta on tomatoes produced by conventional breeding. We will be mobilising thousands of people within the time period of the opposition lasting until 12 May. The organisations taking part in this action will also be raising the pressure on European politicians to take measures against patents on plants and animals.

Automotive and telecom industries set joint priorities for connected and automated cars
In order to facilitate the uptake of automated and connected driving in the near future, the European automotive and telecom sectors have identified three priority areas for further cooperation at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Evaluation of 7th Framework Programme for Research
The European Commission has published its ex-post evaluation of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), the EU's research funding programme between 2007 and 2013.

Almost 8 million ICT specialists employed in the EU in 2014
In the European Union, nearly 8 million people were employed in 2014 as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) specialists, representing 3.7% of total employment. Over recent years, both the number and the share of ICT specialists in total employment have continuously increased to better adapt to an ever digitalised world. However, almost 40 per cent of enterprises with at least 10 people employed which recruited or tried to recruit personnel for jobs requiring ICT specialist skills had hard-to-fill vacancies in 2014.

European Parliament calling for patents on plants derived from conventional breeding to be stopped
In a resolution backed by a large majority of its members, the European Parliament has taken a clear position against granting patents on plants derived from conventional ("essentially biological") breeding.

Tackling diabetes in Europe: Issue 47 of the research*eu results magazine
On 14 November the world will be celebrating the World Diabetes Day for the 15th time since its launch in 1991. A lot of things have changed since then: treatments and prevention have improved, but that didn’t prevent diabetes from becoming a more pressing issue and, according to WHO estimations, diabetes prevalence in 2030 will be twice that observed in 2005. This is largely blamed on unhealthy diet, aging, stress and lack of physical activity. In Europe, the Commission does not have legal competence in the matter and can only rely on active support from national governments. But the EU is nonetheless contributing actively to research in this field. Since 1991 some 892 projects directly or indirectly impacting diabetic patients have been funded, with research work including novel treatments, beta-cell imaging technologies, artificial pancreas, immunotherapies or solutions to counter diabetes side-effects. This edition of the research*eu results magazine focuses on some of the latest results brought thanks to these EU-funded initiatives.

Syngenta granted patent on pepper for use as food
The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich has granted the Swiss seed giant, Syngenta, a patent on pepper and its use "as fresh produce, as fresh cut produce, or for processing such as, for example, canning" (EP 2 166 833 B1). The patent also covers the plants, their cultivation, harvesting and seeds. The plants have been developed to produce pepper without seeds and are derived from conventional breeding using existing biodiversity. There was no genetic engineering involved in the process.

Horizon 2020: EUR 16 bn in funding for research and innovation over next two years
The European Commission will boost competitiveness by investing almost EUR 16 billion in research and innovation in the next two years under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding scheme.

Seal of Excellence for EU research funding
The European Commission launched on 12 October a new initiative to ensure that taxpayer money is spent efficiently by improving the synergies between EU funding for regional policy and for research.

European Patent Office boosts its business with Patents on Life
A monopoly on specific tomatoes with a higher content of healthy compounds known as flavonols was granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) to the Swiss company Syngenta. The patent covers the plants, the seeds and the fruits. Patent EP1515600 describes the crossing of wild tomatoes with domesticated varieties. The plants are not genetically engineered but derived from classical breeding.

Joint Research Centre (JRC)
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.

Innovation Union Scoreboard 2015
Improving Europe's capacity to innovate and be globally competitive requires further efforts to encourage disruptive ideas and foster their commercial up-take. These are some of the conclusions to be drawn from the latest ranking of innovation performance across Europe.

EU trade mark reform package
The European Commission, European Parliament and Council reached provisional political agreement on 21 April on the EU's trade mark reform package. The agreed measures are set to make trade mark registration systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs, increased speed, more predictability and greater legal certainty. The Commission says the reform will improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including non-authentic goods in transit through the EU's territory.

Galileo, the EU's satellite navigation programme
Galileo, the EU's satellite navigation programme, has placed two more satellites into orbit. The lift-off took place on 27 March at 22.46 CET from the European spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana.Signals confirm that they were positioned as expected.