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A drive forward for economic growth and social development

Mobile phones, as we know them today, computers, cameras and even clothes are the result of intense research and innovations that can have many different sides. When it comes to health, for example, the development of new drugs and therapies for cancer or Alzheimer’s are driven by research. We have seen this clearly in the race for a Covid vaccine. In the energy sector, it is all about sustainable clean electricity while in the transport sector, there are many projects that drive forward the development of electric cars or even electric planes. To finance the best research across Europe, the European Union has a Framework Programme for research and innovation: Horizon Europe.

In 2018 the European Commission proposed to set up Horizon Europe for the period 2021-2027. I was asked by the European Parliament, together with one other colleague, to represent the Parliament on Horizon Europe. This means I, on behalf of the Parliament, negotiated with the European Commission and Council about the budget and the rules for this Programme. The negotiations ended in December 2020, when we agreed on the most modern and biggest research programme in the world.

The European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation funds innovation and science. With a budget of €95.5bn it is the biggest public research programme in the world. The Programme has three parts, all funding their own piece of the European research puzzle. The ‘Excellent Science’ part provides funding for the best European scientists regardless of their field of study. The second part funds collaboration between scientists, researchers and innovators in order to find solutions to the biggest challenges faced by Europe, like climate change and digitalisation. Another example is that this part funds collaborative research for the Cultural and Creative Sectors, helping bringing design into innovation and innovation in new creations. The third part ‘Innovative Europe’ will help Europe’s SMEs and Startups to turn new, bold ideas into businesses. It will provide grants to develop new ideas and it will provide other financing, for example loans, to companies that want to put very innovative product on the market.

Horizon Europe started on January 1st, 2021. Before that, Europe also had a Framework Programme for research and innovation called ‘Horizon 2020’. Brandenburg has benefitted a lot from the Horizon 2020 programme and I expect it will benefit from Horizon Europe as well. Thanks to numerous science and research institutes, our region has enormous potential for innovation. Those 50+ universities and research institutes are very important participants in this programme and consequently guarantee its success.

Horizon Europe finances, for example, research to improve life in rural areas – a very important topic for Brandenburg where the demographic changes further accentuate rural isolation. Our region is home to many excellent researchers, institutions and universities. Therefore I encourage projects and initiatives coming from Brandenburg to apply for EU funds, especially Horizon Europe.