More R&D appetite in the East

Nieuws | de redactie
11 oktober 2012 | The biggest consumers of FP7-money will have pay close attention: Member of the European Parliament Van Nistelrooij works toward more equal distribution of R&D funding among the 27 member states.

The figures are telling: the European budget for research andtechnological development comprises €10.21 billion for 2012 alone.And of that more
than 10 billion euro, almost half end up in the pockets of Germanresearchers.
In particular the youngest Member States lag behind. It’ssomething that has been bothering MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij (EPP,Netherlands) for a long
time already.

“Really, I cannot accept that the European Union remains dividedinto
countries that profit from R&D-funding and those that don’t”,he says.
“I cannot agree that the EU core areas swallow up 90% of theResearch funding available and that all other regions cansplit the remaining 10% amongst each other.”

FP7 grafiek

Figures: European Commission, August 2012

In the European Parliament, Van Nistelrooij is thechampion of the European regions (recently he was even appointedMEP of the year). As he is also closely involved with themultiannual budget-debate, he is in a unique position to devisenew, clever routes for less wealthy regions to tap into theResearch budget.

Structural Funds turned innovative

“What I propose is that the newest Member States will use theadjusted Structural Funds (aimed at implementing more cohesionbetween the European countries), to focus on the knowledge economy.I want to earmark 1%-10% of all these funds for projects thatdemand cross regional cooperation. The topics of the EU 2020-agendashould become leading.”

As the total budget for regional development is €185 billioneuro, even 1% is still a large sum.  Van Nistelrooij isconfident that his proposal will lead to success and there is apilot project from the European Commission to sustain hisideas.

Aviation sector in Poland

“Look at South-East Poland for instance: there is a smallaviation industry, providing 40.000 jobs, that has recently teamedup with aviation industries in Toulouse and Germany. In this way wecreate runner ups to the European centers of excellence. I call it’RICs’, or Regional Innovation Centers”, he says.

Van Nistelrooij already has a lot of MEPs supporting his ‘RICs’.”It should not go against the KICs of course, but I see hugeopportunities for the developing regions to learn and to complementthe top regions of innovation.”

FP7 stippen

 EU Financial contribution FP7 (Euro million)2007-2011

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