EU: Commission to boost research and innovation

The European Commission has unveiled a plan to simplify procedures for taking part in EU-funded research projects with the aim of making participation transparent and attractive to the best researchers and innovative companies in Europe and beyond.

Ensuring European research realises its full potential is crucial to the EU's Europe 2020 Strategy, given the need to consolidate economic recovery and develop new sources of growth and jobs to replace those lost in the crisis.

Complementing the proposals on simplification, the commission has appointed a group of independent experts to review all aspects of the current Seventh Framework Programme.

Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Our proposals aim to minimise administrative burdens in Europe's research programmes. We need to get the best researchers and most innovative companies taking part and we need to enable them to concentrate on results, not red tape.

"That will boost Europe's economy and quality of life. In particular, we must encourage more SMEs to join in. I believe this can be done without compromising financial control. We are asking the other EU institutions for support to achieve this."

Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski added: "The review of the financial regulation the commission will present next month will underpin these ideas for simplifying research funding with concrete legal proposals, helpful also in many other policy areas.

"We need simpler rules to encourage potential beneficiaries of EU funds - such as small and medium enterprises or NGOs - to apply for them. Simplification means the EU budget serving citizens and businesses better."