New directions for EU research and innovation after approval of Matias report
The European Parliament today approved the report by Marisa Matias on the Strategic Innovation Agenda of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT ) under the legislative package establishing the main EU guidelines for research and innovation policies – Horizon 2020.
“Against a backdrop of severe economic crisis, investing in research and innovation could be a great opportunity for Europe,” Portuguese GUE/NGL MEP Matias said after the vote.
The EIT, the only European instrument covering the so-called “knowledge triangle” of innovation, research and education, is the only body that provides funding directly to universities that are integrated into knowledge and innovation communities across Europe.
Until now the EIT “was a project that was underfunded and unknown to most citizens, even for most of those working in science and technology,” Matias said during yesterday's debate. “We need the EIT to become a true Institute of Innovation and Technology.”
She also highlighted the fact that the priorities for research and innovation have been redefined by prioritising “health and active aging, and secondly raw materials, particularly in respect to the sustainable exploitation of raw materials, recycling and substitution.”
Another concern included in the report was “avoiding concentration of resources for research or for innovation. Geographic distribution is now one of the key criteria so we've added a new tool, the Regional Innovation Scheme, that can encourage job creation in the regions. “
On Horizon 2020, Matias pointed out that MEPs “succeeded in promoting the social sciences and the humanities, which had been relegated to the background in the initial perspective presented by the Commission”. She regretted that there is not more investment in areas crucial to job creation to the exit from the crisis: “The EU is even more unequal as a result of the crisis. I hope that Horizon 2020 will be an instrument for a more cohesive EU.”
The MEP also welcomed the fact that agreement on Horizon 2020 includes a clause that prevents funding to Israeli entities participating in the occupation of Palestinian territories, and also enshrines the possibility of conducting research with embryonic stem cells, two of the points most controversial in the negotiations and discussions.
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