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European ministers for research to talk about the funding of research in Brussels at a meeting steered by Mailis Reps

1. December 2017 - 6:36

European ministers for research will meet in Brussels today, 1 December, to provide strategic guidelines for drafting the next framework programme for research and innovation and to talk about a new approach to research and innovation that brings science closer to daily life.

“I am glad that, following our thorough discussions, we have reached an agreement between the member states as to the key elements of the next framework programme for research and innovation. Europe should jointly increase investments in research and innovation to enhance its own competitiveness and tackle global challenges. Addressing these issues requires joint efforts and cooperation from the member states as supported by the framework programme,” said Estonian Minister for Education and Research Mailis Reps and added that another priority is the simplification of research funding in the EU to attract talents across the world.

The ministers will discuss the recommendation to employ a mission-based approach to tackling global challenges as put forward by the high-level expert group led by Pascal Lamy. This means channelling research and innovation funding to tackle cross-cutting issues that involve a high risk of failure. This approach will encourage more researchers, scientists, investors and innovators from various sectors to combine their efforts for achieving a common goal. The changes aim to increase the social impact of research, and to involve more citizens in the development and implementation of research programmes. There is no agreement on specific actions yet. However, there are some examples guided by the sustainable development goals of the UN – a plastic-free Europe, the introduction of revolutionary energy storage equipment, the production of steel without carbon dioxide, etc.

The ministers for research will adopt conclusions of the Council of the European Union that set out strategic guidelines for the framework programme for research and innovation beyond 2021. These conclusions confirm the crucial importance of research and innovation in ensuring economic growth and tackling societal challenges, and call for increased investments across Europe. Further, the ministers will issue guidelines for reducing the fragmentation of research funding and initiatives. A simpler, more coherent and transparent framework programme allows improved access to the programme for European researchers and businesses.

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