FP9: What would our ideal European Framework Program for R&I look like?

21/03/2018
In this article we outline the issues that we consider key for Europe to secure a world leading position on innovation.

The European Commission is already working on the development of the ‘FP9’, the Ninth Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (R&I) that will follow Horizon 2020. Its global budget and main lines of action will be launched this coming June.

In addition, the European Commission launched a consultation aimed at citizens, organizations and interested parties, whose results will be announced shortly.

Based on over 30 years of experience in the management of European Framework Programmes, ZABALA would like to share its vision of an ideal FP9. The main aim is to present to the institutions and interested stakeholders our recommendations for an improved FP9 that will allow innovation to flourish.  

Our key recommendations to the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament are:

  1. Propose an ambitious budget for the next Research Framework Programme, by at least doubling it compared to the previous one.
  2. Continue funding research and innovation mainly through grants.
  3. Make FP9 open to the World to achieve common global innovation challenges.
  4. RD&I Projects should always remain connected to society and demonstrate tangible benefits for the communities of users.
  5. A successful company is composed of a variety of experts (in management , Finance HR, Communication, Law etc..) and not only researchers and engineers; similarly successful RD&I projects should includea teams made up of people with diverse skill sets.
  6. Mission oriented research is excellent as long as results can regularly be measured, and progress can be assessed
  7. To increase the success rate of FTI and SME Instrument phase 2, the overall budget should be increased significantly to allow innovative projects with high European impact to be financed.
  8. The ongoing discussion on the EIC Accelerator goes in the right direction. Co-funding of projects by the private sector will be beneficial and will foster disruptive innovation.
  9. Use blending tools to integrate public and private funds.
  10. Heavy administrative rules reflect a culture which fears failure. Administrative simplifications are essential to spend EU funding more efficiently and become an economy that dears more.
  11. The smaller players represent the vast majority of the workforce in EU and are generally under-represented in PPPs. Finding ways to engage SMEs is essential to boost the effectiveness of these structures.