COST Welcomes Horizon 2020
COST welcomes the official launch of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s new research and innovation programme, announced on 11 December 2013 in Brussels. The highly anticipated announcement is an essential milestone in the transition to a more innovative and competitive Europe.
Horizon 2020 aims to strengthen Europe’s global position in science and industrial leadership and tackle societal challenges by bridging the gap between research and the market, ultimately leading to an increase in growth and jobs. The new programme will also be fully open to international participation, targeting European strategic priorities. One of such priorities is enlarging and strengthening the European Research Area, an endeavour in which COST plays a key role.
COST is ready to take on the challenges that lay ahead in Horizon 2020 . COST’s mission is to enable break-through scientific developments leading to new concepts and products, and thereby contribute to strengthening Europe’s research and innovation capacities. As part of this mission, COST will continue to foster scientific and technological excellence and inclusiveness in Europe, by supporting bottom-up, open science and technology networks involving researchers across the continent . In order to do so, COST has been formally inscribed in Horizon 2020 and is expected to contribute in particular to the ‘Societal Challenges’ and ‘Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation’ pillars of the Horizon 2020 strategy.
Horizon 2020 has been allocated a budget of almost €80 billion, amounting to a 30% increase from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). In this context, COST will receive an increased budget compared to the budget allocated under FP7. This increase confirms the strategic importance of COST as a unique intergovernmental framework in the context of the ERA, enabling scientists and researchers to jointly develop their own ideas and new initiatives through inclusive, trans-European cooperation in science and technology and networking.
COST’s preparation for the new seven-year period required the establishment of a new legal entity, the ‘COST Association’. The COST Association will incorporate COST’s governance and administrative functions into a single, integrated structure. All 35 COST Member Countries are expected to adhere to and support this new dedicated agency, thus taking full responsibility for the implementation of COST as an intergovernmental networking framework programme. COST’s current implementing agent, the European Science Foundation (ESF), will ensure that COST activities continue to be implemented until the EC-ESF COST II FP7 Grant Agreement is fully executed and all activities are definitively transferred to the COST Association. COST and the ESF are jointly committed to ensuring a smooth transition so as to avoid any disruption of activities, to the best benefit of the European science and technology community.
These preparations are part of COST’s commitment to continue contributing to the construction of the European Research Area, and will enable COST to take on its share for the achievement of the Innovation Union’s goals and the development of an integrated research landscape in Europe.
“We welcome the adoption of Horizon 2020. COST is ready to play its unique role in this context and to continuously effect improvements to accommodate the reality of the new programme, as it will develop over the next seven years. The approval of Horizon 2020 is excellent news not only for COST, but – more importantly – for all European researchers wishing to establish networks and cooperative relations with their peers across the continent and beyond”.
In a recent intervention at COST Science Night 2013, a high profile event held by COST to showcase the impact of its work across the ERA, Mr Robert-Jan Smits , Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation, said:
"I think one of the reasons why Heads of State and Government and the European Parliament agreed to an increase in funding for Horizon 2020 is the first class programmes we have been running at European level – and I'm not only talking about Framework Programme Seven but also about COST".
In the context of Horizon 2020, COST will build on the fundamental principles that underpin its activities, namely “bottom-up” and “openness”. The two pillars of “inclusiveness” and “excellence” in science and technology will consolidate these principles across Europe and beyond.
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