Horizon 2020 integrates research and innovation

Horizon 2020 aims to stimulate growth and jobs across Europe from 2014 to 2020. In comparison to its predecessor, the socalled Framework Program 7 (FP7), Horizon 2020 will make it easier to participate in EU-funded research and innovation projects through a simplified procedure, thus slashing red tape for researchers who want access EU financing. The average time to grant also will be reduced by 100 days. Horizon 2020 will also facilitate access to funding for SMEs through the introduction of a comprehensive program adapted to their needs.

One of the main innovations of Horizon 2020 as highlighted by the European Commission is research and innovation. “The program will provide seamless and coherent funding from idea to market and help innovative businesses turn technological breakthroughs into viable products with real commercial potential.”

Horizon 2020 is structured around three main pillars: the first pillar “Excellence in the science base” targets frontier or basic research; the second pillar “Creating industrial leadership and competitive frameworks” supports business research and innovation, and the third pillar “Tackling societal challenges” focuses on tackling the major challenges of our society (e.g., aging, well-being; health, climate change, etc).

“This means more funding for testing, prototyping, demonstration and pilot type activities; promoting entrepreneurship and risk-taking” according EFORT.

With Horizon 2020, the European Commission is keen to adopt a more horizontal and integrated approach on research projects, avoiding for instance to mention any specific disease area or research topic as it was done under FP7. This different approach is desired in order to avoid narrowing the scope of the calls and to provide the interested parties with an opportunity for creative ideas for research. Moreover, this horizontal approach has been introduced to eliminate the “silo” approach and encourage cross-disease/sector research, including social implications of certain diseases, integrated care, understanding the relation existing between certain diseases, reducing inequalities, etc. Much emphasis will be put on the European added value and on the diversity of project consortia, both in terms of nationality as well as in terms of expertise.

The proposed overall financial envelop for this ambitious program is of 80 billion euros. Horizon 2020 is still under discussions at the European Parliament and Council level. The debate is expected to be finalized in the Autumn, with final drafts ready for vote in December 2013. The first call for proposals are scheduled for January 2014.

Horizon 2020 will be valuable in setting future Excellence in Research, removing barriers to innovation and supporting growth in Europe. EFORT welcomes the Commission’s proposal on Horizon 2020 and believe mobility must be addressed in addressing the demographic change in Europe. Keeping the elderly mobile and maintaining a healthy workforce will contribute to economic growth and sustainable health care systems. This is where orthopaedics and traumatologists have a unique opportunity to make a significant difference. High-quality research studies are necessary to develop strong evidence based practice recommendations to support health policies and ultimately improve patient care. Support of EU funding is therefore necessary to advance the science of musculoskeletal health and reduce the economic and societal loss of function and mobility.

The orthopaedics and traumatology community has a role to play in this important ambitious program and EFORT encourages all researchers in the field of orthopaedics and traumatology to start preparing topics for potential projects which will respond to the Horizon 2020 major requirements and which will help position musculoskeletal health as a major health challenge.

The European Affairs Committee will be happy to respond to questions on Horizon 2020 by email wolfhart.puhl@efort.org. More information on Horizon 2020 will be made available on the EFORT EU activities webpage.

Article from the 14th Congress Daily News Issue 1 from Wednesday 5 June 2013.

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