An overview of the EU research and innovation policies this autumn

First up on the agenda is the (non-binding) pact for research and innovation. The pact seeks to convince member states lagging behind the EU average R&D expenditure to increase their total public and private research funding by 50% in the next five years. The Commission wants member states to raise total private and public expenditure on research and development to 3% of gross domestic product – something only Germany, Sweden and Austria achieved in 2019, according to Eurostat. The EU average of 2.2% is well below the US, Japan, and South Korea.

Agreeing to boost R&D spending is the first step in the process of revamping the European Research Area (ERA). The Commission has organised a so-called “ERA Forum for Transition” to come up with a new governance system for Europe’s single market for research, and a scoreboard to track progress.  

Research missions

Research missions are one of the novelties in Horizon EuropeThe Commission has drawn up five missions – on cancer, climate, oceans, climate neutral cities and healthy soils. Since November last year, the Commission has been working on the scope of the missions, each of which will have a budget of €5 million from Horizon Europe. 

The European Bauhaus

This autumn the Commission will launch five pilot projects in its Bauhaus initiative, aimed at finding new technologies and designs for sustainable housing in Europe. The project was first met with scepticism by the European Parliament, with MEPs having doubts over its funding.

Innovation ecosystems

Towards the end of the year, the Commission could put forward a plan for fostering innovation ecosystems across EU’s regions. Over the past year, Gabriel has been gathering views from CEOs, venture capitalist and women entrepreneurs on how the EU can translate more of its breakthrough science to the market. All that advice is to be boiled down into a plan which is due to be presented by the end of the year.

New biomedical research agency

A few months after the pandemic struck Europe in March 2020, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, called for the establishment of a new agency to deal with cross border health emergencies. Earlier this year, the Commission launched a public consultation on establishing the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

The exact remit of the HERA is not known yet, but is expected to be set out in a legislative proposal by the end of the year.

Health data space

The EU is planning to establish a European Health Data Space, to encourage the return of many research programmes and clinical trials to the EU.  The Commission gathered feedback in a public consultation which ended in July and policy makers are working on a legislative proposal to be adopted in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Full overview

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