European Parliament hearing of Commissioner Designate Mariya Gabriel demonstrates international partnerships will be key component of future EU research programmes

| October 1, 2019

The European Parliament hearing last night (30 September) of Commissioner Designate Mariya Gabriel was both highly impressive and exciting. Mariya Gabriel will have responsibility for the smooth running of Horizon Europe during the financial period 2021-2027. This is the flagship instrument that the EU will be using to promote research, innovation and science policies across the different member states of the European Union. It is clear to me that the European Commission will be supporting basic scientific effort right through the value chain that will, in turn, deliver innovative products and solutions into the EU marketplace, writes Julio Kongyu, vice president for Europe Public Affairs, Huawei Technologies.

Horizon Europe 2021-2027 is an economic policy instrument. It can support the key economic and social policy objectives of the European Union. It will be used to advance stronger regional policies in Europe while at the same time promoting sustainability and combating climate change. The practical operation of Horizon Europe will, in effect, cut across many important and different policy domains.

The European Research Council (ERC), the European Institute for Technology (EIT) and the European Innovation Council will all play key roles in rolling out the objectives of Horizon Europe between now and 2027. Commissioner Designate Gabriel is committed to securing a budget of 120 billion euro for Horizon Europe. This will be in line with the political priorities and objectives of the European Parliament.

Mariya Gabriel

Mariya Gabriel

Commissioner Gabriel was very clear that for the EU to stay as a global leader in the field of ICT, then the EU must set the standards for Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). Already the EU is to the forefront in technical expertise when it comes to advances in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and cyber-security issues. Pillar 2 of Horizon Europe will be promoting extensive collaborative research in the areas of quantum technology, High Performance Computing (HPC) and photonics. The USA is already a very strong player in the field of basic scientific research with China catching up quite fast.

There will also be closer co-operation between DG Connect and DG RTD within the European Commission. These means that policies to promote stronger digital economy and research activities will be interlinked. EU research will be modernising telecommunication networks in Europe via innovations under 5G, Big Data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). International collobaration and co-operation between the public, private, research and educational sectors across the length and breadth of the world is so important if key EU policy objectives are to be achieved.

More support will be given to small and medium sized enterprises (smes) so that they can take part under Horizon Europe backed initiatives. It is also important that governments in Europe increase spending in the fields of research, innovation and science. EU governments are spending between .5% and 4% GDP per annum on research intensity. The governments that spend more money on these important policy areas can stay more competitive and secure stronger economic returns in the medium term.

The evaluation process under Horizon Europe will stay the same as is the case under Horizon 2020. Consortia applications will be judged on the excellence on the application in question. This will ensure that the EU will remain a key global leader in the fields of research, innovation and science.

International partnerships, international collaboration, the pursuit of excellence and enhancing private sector participation within EU research backed initiatives are all central elements of Horizon Europe. This is a really exciting policy programme that will help Europe stay economically competitive.

 

Julio Kongyu is vice president for Europe Public Affairs for Huawei Technologies.

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