Research and innovation contribute both to the increase and to the improvement of the citizen’s quality of quality. Every member state has its own research policy and related funding plans. Research became an EU policy in 1986 as this area started to be crucial for competitiveness within the EU. It is financed through multi-annual framework programmes at EU-level. In 2000, Member states agreed on the creation of a common European Research Area, which serves the purpose of enabling free circulation of scientists, scientific knowledge and technologies, who benefit from increasing international cooperation.
In 2014, the European Union launched the last framework programme for the research “Horizon 2020” between 2014-2020. A budget of around 80 billion was made available in order to pursue three key objectives:
• Excellent Science: strengthen the EU’s position as a world leader in science.
• Industrial Leadership: invest in promising and strategic technologies, thus facilitating access to capital for SMEs.
• Societal Challenges: addressing fundamental social aspects such as climate change, green and integrated transport systems, renewable energy, food security and an ageing population.
Research and innovation policies as well as other European policies make a substantial contribution to the prosperity of Europe. They support high employment, growth and investment by creating a digital single market and an energy single market, which strengthens the EU’s role worldwide. The future of Europe depends on its innovation capacity , and its capacity to turn ideas into products, services and feasible technologies.