How Horizon Europe Will Benefit SMEs

ByDavid Harmon

March 26, 2021

David Harmon

The launch of the Horizon Europe research, innovation, and science programme 2021-2027 is taking place. The launch is being officiated by the European Commission and by the Portuguese Presidency of the EU. Horizon Europe is a key policy instrument that the EU will be rolling out to boost EU competitiveness, help achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals, and support the implementation of the EU Green Deal.

The final agreed budget for Horizon Europe over the next seven years is €95.5 billion.

The use of new and evolving technologies is a central element of the infrastructure of Horizon Europe. In fact, all the key building blocks of Horizon Europe contain strong collaborative ICT research components in support of important EU policy objectives. The European Research Council (ERC) will continue to support the Nobel prize winners of the future under Pillar 1 of Horizon Europe. Many successful ERC grantees will include advancement in the field of technological research as part of their high-end research proposals.

The core objective of Pillar 2 of Horizon Europe is to boost economic growth in Europe and tackle key societal global challenges. Again collaborative actions in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) will support EU Horizon Europe calls covering the health, energy, climate, agriculture and industry sectors.

A core objective of EU institutions is to build a policy framework that will make Europe fit for the digital age. Europe is already home to 20% of all global research and development activities in the world today. This lays the foundation for the building of the necessary digital and sustainable manufacturing tools that will deliver stronger value chains and a more innovative circular economy in Europe.

Pillar 3 of Horizon Europe will ensure that innovative ICT products can gain entry into the marketplace. The European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) are strengthening synergies and cooperation among businesses, educational institutions and research organisations. These respective bodies will help scale up companies in Europe and provide stronger levels of financial support to tech start-ups and SMEs.

Putting in place new standards for the tech products of the future starts at the basic scientific research level. It is crucial that there’s strong international cooperation in the building of new standards for upcoming tech products and services. International collaboration and cooperation can ensure that unitary as opposed to de-coupled standards can apply to the development of next-generation smart networks and services. Unitary standards for products in general, including within the tech sector reduce costs, promote higher levels of efficiency, and foster innovation.

The research and science policy areas are in reality economic instruments. Countries and companies alike that invest higher levels of investment into basic collaborative research activity deliver stronger economic returns in the medium term. Horizon Europe does support individual scientific excellence, but policy makers want to increase the participation levels of SMEs in Horizon Europe research and innovation initiatives. This will support stronger economic progress noting that the EU is home to over 25 million small and medium sized enterprises alone.

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Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.

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