The so-called Horizon 2020 (H2020) is an extremely powerful tool for competitiveness, funding and growth which has just been launched by the European Union (EU) with a budget totalling €78,600 million.
The fundamental aim is to help Europe regain its position as an economic leader by implementing a programme which is basically designed to achieve three goals: to combat the economic crisis by investing in future growth and the creation of jobs; respond to citizens’ concerns about their quality of life, safety and environment; and strengthen the global position of Europe in terms of research, innovation and technology.
Its overriding challenge is to reduce the length of time that it currently takes between obtaining the results of research and applying them practically in the market. It involves not allowing research to turn into a mere theoretical process which attracts investment but whose results take a long time to be practically applied in the market, if they ever reach the market at all. In order to achieve this goal, H2020 sees all the stages of R&D incorporated for the first time, right through from the generation of knowledge to activities that are closest to the market: basic research, development of technologies, applied research, demonstration projects, prototypes, validation and pilot manufacturing lines.
The programme is structured around three main pillars:
- “Excellent Science”: With €24,600 million available, this section aims to strengthen and broaden the excellence of the EU scientific base, as well as consolidating the European Research Area so that the system is more competitive on an international level.
- “Industrial Leadership“: With a budget of €17,938, its priority is to speed up the development of technologies which will be the foundations for the companies of tomorrow, as well as helping innovative European companies to become leading companies on the world stage.
- “Societal Challenges”: The amount earmarked for this section is €31,748. It responds directly to the political and social priorities detailed in the Europe 2020 strategy, enabling research to be carried out into the main issues that affect European citizens. It also aims to stimulate the critical mass of innovation and research efforts which is required in order to achieve the political objectives of the Union and meet the challenges of the Europe 2020 strategy.
The focus is on six areas which are essential for a better life:
- Health, demographic change and economically sustainable wellbeing, opportunities to create new jobs and growth.
- Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and bioeconomy.
- Secure, clean and efficient energy: making the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system.
- Smart, green and integrated transport, climate action, efficiency with resources and our planet’s raw materials.
- Europe in a changing world: Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies.
- Secure societies: strengthening the European culture of liberty and justice in a context of unprecedented changes, growing interdependence and global threats.
Horizon 2020 is an excellent opportunity to get to know other companies and technology centres of a high technical level and an invaluable aid for funding continuous development projects which enable the IKOR Group to remain at the forefront when it comes to launching design processes and technologies and electronics manufacturing.