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European commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, announced today that the European Commission has earmarked 6,400 million euros for investment in research and innovation. This is the biggest investment package Europe has ever set aside for the progress of science and competitiveness and to face the challenges posed by climate change, energy and food safety, healthcare and an ageing population.

16,000 research centers, universities and companies –including 3,000 SMEs- will benefit from these funds. The grants will be given out over the next fourteen months, after a call for and evaluation of proposals. This stimulus package is expected to create more than 165,000 new jobs.

Projects from a wide range of topics from the EU’s 7th Framework Program will be accepted in these calls. More than 600 million euros have been set aside for the healthcare sector. An additional 1,300 million euros have been set aside for the most creative scientists, selected by the European Research Council, and 772 million euros to fund mobility grants for 7,000 highly qualified researchers through the Marie Curie program.

SMEs will be given top priority, as they are the backbone of the European innovation system and make up 99% of the European business fabric. SMEs will receive nearly 800 million euros and there will be specific budgets for sectors like healthcare, knowledge-based bio-economy, environment and nanotechnology.

New products and services

The main objective of this package is to help transform research into new services, products and technologies. In 2011, one third of the total budget (206 million euros) will go to medical research, funding researcher-driven clinical trials that aim to get drugs on the market more quickly. And in nanotechnology research, 270 million euros will go to patenting and commercializing new products.

The call for proposals announced yesterday is part of the Innovation Union flagship initiative, which commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will launch in autumn 2010. This initiative is a key part of the EU-2020 Strategy and aims to foster the entire innovation chain, from research through retail, along with internationally renowned science and an innovation economy. It is about removing all obstacles that prevent Europe from competing with competitive markets like the United States.

Call for proposals


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