High Level Group:
Horizon 2020 generating impact, more funding is needed for research

Ministry of Education and Culture 3.7.2017 15.28 | Published in English on 10.7.2017 at 8.15
News item

A High Level Group estimates that while Horizon 2020 has supported excellent research and internationalisation and enhanced competences, its funding has been insufficient. According to the Group, chaired by former European Union Commissioner Pascal Lamy, EU’s next research and innovation programme should double the funding to EUR 120 billion. The additional funding could make research activities openly accessible to the public and find faster solutions to societal challenges. The Group published its views on the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 as well as its vision for future needs in Brussels on 3 July.

Horizon 2020 has invested around half a billion euros in Finland, higher education institutions accounting for over EUR 200 million. In total the programme has funded more than 10,000 projects with around EUR 25 billion. Horizon 2020 has been so popular among the best researchers that only about one in four applications evaluated as excellent have received funding.

Around one third (some EUR 9 billion) of the Horizon 2020 funding has been allocated to excellent science. By granting funding to nearly 7,000 top level researchers, the European Research Council (ERC) has facilitated new global research outcomes on climate change, artificial intelligence and cultural heritage, among other areas. In Finland already 116 researchers have been granted the highly sought-after ERC grants.

Another third of the Horizon 2020 funding (some EUR 9 billion) has been used to support research tackling great societal challenges. These research areas include health and wellbeing, safe energy, smart transport and food security, among others.  Finland has received more than EUR 200 million of this funding, which has especially benefited the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) as well as Helsinki, Oulu and Aalto Universities.

Closer collaboration between higher education institutions, research institutes and society can raise the level of competence and generate positive developments in society and working life both in Finland and elsewhere. Finland's goal for the next framework programme is to highlight the quality of research both in terms of funding criteria and overall research objectives. It is also important that research and innovation and their funding are trusted and accepted by citizens and for this reason the Framework Programme will involve also the civil society in planning the Programme’s priorities. Highlighting open  science and open modes of operation  makes it easier to harness research more efficiently and extensively for the benefit of society as a whole.