On Tuesday 28 February, the Horizon 2020 – Performance and Further Simplification meeting took place at the European Parliament in Brussels. The meeting was hosted by EU commissioner for Research and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, and focused on how participation can be simplified in Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. In particular, new funding rules will reduce administrative costs to participants and help prevent accounting errors. The meeting was also concerned with preparation for the ninth research framework programme, working title FP9, with the Directorate for research (DG RTD) putting together a taskforce to open consultations with stakeholders and sketch out which emerging technologies and new fields of research should be funded by the successor to Horizon 2020. Commissioner Moedas said:

“Radical simplification is one of the defining features of Horizon 2020, when compared to previous programmes. Responses from stakeholders show that huge progress has been made. But simplification is an on-going process. We have listened to researchers, businesses and other stakeholders and reflected their feedback in this second wave of simplification of Horizon 2020. The new measures will further cut red tape, making the programme even more attractive for top researchers and the most innovative enterprises, which is a major pre-requisite for achieving the Commission’s policy objectives.”

Working from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of nearly €77 billion, Horizon 2020 is one of the largest research and innovation schemes worldwide. In its first two years, the programme attracted over 76 thousand eligible proposals. Over 9000 grant agreements were signed by 1 September 2016 following call deadlines in 2014 and 2015, allocating almost €16 billion to boosting excellent science, creating industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. Almost half of successful applicants are newcomers to the programme.

Simplification is a central aim of Horizon 2020 and is fully reflected in its design, rules, financial management and implementation. The aim is to make Horizon 2020 simpler and more attractive, particularly for newcomers to the Programme.

The meeting involved key European stakeholder organizations and included a panel discussion moderated by Patrick Child, Deputy Director-General Research & Innovation. The panel included MEP Ehler, Chair of the European Parliament’s H2020 Working Group; Mr. Brenninkmeijer, Member of the European Court of Auditors; Muriel Attané, Secretary-General, European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO); Enora Pruvot, Deputy Director for Governance, European University Association (EUA); Paul Leonard, European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) and BASF’s Head of Innovation Policy and Technology. The discussion was followed by a presentation on proposed measures & discussion on simplification as well as a discussion on the shift of focus to performance and an approach based on lump-sum project funding, in preparation for FP9.

To watch the entire meeting on webstream, click here.