The CoR plenary session adopted today the draft opinion on Horizon Europe: the 9th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It responds to the European Commission’s proposal for of a €100 billion envelope for the EU's future R&I programme, as part of its proposal for the next EU long-term budget for the period 2021-2027.
CoR rapporteur Christophe Clergeau, Member of the Pays-de-la-Loire Regional Council (PES/France), stressed: "Research is done in our regions and cities and can only be a driver for growth if there is a strong territorial anchorage. We need a place-based approach to scientific excellence, in which local and regional authorities are recognised as real players", he emphasised. "Horizon Europe will be more effective in a context of a shared governance, pooling and streamlining of resources, a clear distribution of roles and a coherent approach based on the idea that financing together means designing together and managing together, with regions and cities playing their role to the full", underlined Clergeau.
While considering satisfactory the budget allocated to Horizon Europe, the rapporteur is concerned at the growing divide amongst cities and regions. "If the EU wants to be a front runner on innovation, we need to close this growing gap by providing access to the Horizon programme for all", he urged.
This key point was also shared the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Horizon Europe, Dan Nica (S&D/Romania), who stressed that the future framework programme needs to build on lessons learned from the current research and innovation programme.
Christophe Clergeau also argues that territorial impacts should be recognised as integral components of the impact concept when it comes to evaluating the programme and projects.
He further calls for the introduction of a formal definition of regional and innovation hubs, for the full participation of cities and regions in the strategic planning of projects, and their participation in the European Innovation Council Forum, which aims at making the EU a frontrunner in market-creating innovation.
Last but not least, he underlines the need to provide a precise framework for the synergies between the different funds and strongly opposes the fact that the option of transferring a share of cohesion policy funds to the Horizon Europe programme should be systematically decided by the Member States, urging that this option be exercised by the relevant managing authority.