Jean-Eric Paquet, the newly appointed EU Director General for Research and Innovation proposes a more integrated approach between different policy areas such as regional development, energy, transport and digital technologies to ensure better links between science and policy. In a recent press briefing he stated that “there is no magic formula” but for starters, he intends to develop interdepartmental “teams” that can cut across the different sectoral areas of the current Framework.
Though the search for synergies between different areas of EU policy is far from new, this is the first public indication of what fresh emphases and direction the new director may bring to the EU Framework Programmes. The changes are planned at the top of DG RTD, with Paquet saying he will institute regular Monday meetings with his three deputy directors general, Wolfgang Burtscher, Patrick Child and Signe Ratso, to coordinate planning. A further reorganisation may be needed at some point to prepare for the next Framework Programme 9.
On the new FP9 structure Mr. Paquet has stated that “There will be a basic science “pillar” comprised of the ERC and the Marie Sklowdowski Curie researcher grants; a societal challenges sub programme including “missions” to apply science and technology to solving big problems; and an open innovation portion, including Moedas’ proposed European Innovation Council, “to promote disruptive, breakthrough innovation at the EU level, and to complement what many member states are already doing.”
There are currently 3 possible budget scenarios: a steady-state plan of about €80 billion and increases to €120 billion or €160 billion (H2020 is €77 billion). At this point it is not possible to say which option will prevail, however the Commission’s proposal for the next programme, from 2021 - 2027, is due to be announced by 30 May. The details of how FP9 is implemented will then go on to negotiation with member states and the European Parliament.
Jean-Eric Paquet. Photo: International Transport Forum