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Commissioner Vassiliou set for UK launch of Horizon 2020

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will take part in the UK launch of Horizon 2020, the new €80 billion1 EU research and innovation programme, at the Royal Society in London on Friday (31 January).

The Commissioner will give an address (16.00) focused on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which are the part of Horizon 2020 under her responsibility.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and David Willetts, the UK Minister for Universities and Science, are also participating in the event. In the evening, Commissioner Vassiliou will address the
European Society at King's College London (18.30).

The UK is currently the second largest beneficiary of EU research funding, after Germany, receiving €6 billion (£4.9 billion) in grants, 16% of the total, under the previous 7th Framework Programme (FP7). The UK was also the leading recipient of support from the Marie Curie Actions, receiving more than €965 million since 2007 for the training and career development of researchers.

UK organisations are also very active in the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a network of cross-border public-private partnerships known as 'Knowledge and Innovation Communities' (KICs).

The aim of the KICs is to bridge gaps between higher education, research and business, as well as supporting entrepreneurial start-ups and post-graduate training.

The EIT has already set up three KICs focused on climate, ICT and energy, and will launch five new ones in the next seven years (see below). Imperial College London hosts the Climate KIC and has just established a new centre for EIT ICT Labs with University College London, Intel and BT among the partners.

Commissioner Vassiliou said: "I am looking forward to launching the new programme in London. With the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and EIT, the EU is significantly increasing its investment in our most talented researchers and the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The UK is one of the biggest beneficiaries of EU funding for research. I encourage universities, research institutes and companies to make the most of the funding opportunities available under Horizon 2020."

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research programme yet and one of the biggest publicly funded worldwide. Together with the new EU programme for education, training youth and sport, Erasmus+, it is one of only a handful of EU funding programmes to see a significant increase in funding – a near 30% jump in real terms compared with the previous Seventh Framework Programme

EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, named after the double Nobel Prize winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. Researchers working across all disciplines, from life-saving healthcare to 'blue-sky' science, are eligible for funding. The MSCA will also support industrial doctorates, combining academic research study with work in companies, and other innovative training that enhances employability and career development.

The MSCA amount to 8% of the Horizon 2020 budget, with more than €6 billion in funding over the next seven years. This is around 30% more than the previous level of support. The budget will support more than 65 000 researchers, with PhD candidates accounting for almost 40% of those receiving funding. Grant applications can already be made for the first tranche of funding under the MSCA, with €800 million available in 2014.

The MSCA will also support exchanges of research and innovation staff across Europe within partnerships that include academia and other organisations, as well as exchanges around the world to strengthen international cooperation in research and innovation. Through the COFUND scheme, the MSCA will also top up regional, national and international programmes for research training. This scheme will also be extended to early-stage researchers and boost links with the EU Structural and Investment Funds.

Under the 2007-2013 Marie Curie Actions, the UK was awarded more than €965 million in grants, with nearly 950 UK researchers receiving support. The scheme also funded nearly 4 500 foreign researchers working in the UK. A total of 3 500 UK universities, research institutes and businesses, including SMEs, participated in 3 000 Marie Curie projects in 2007-2013.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology
The core mission of the EIT, established in 2008, is to promote the competitiveness of Member States by bringing together excellent higher education institutions, research centres and businesses to focus on major societal challenges. The EIT has an administrative headquarters in Budapest while the KICs operate from 17 sites throughout Europe.

The EIT will receive €2.7 billion for 2014-2020, 3.5% of the overall EU research and innovation budget. This represents a significant increase from the initial EIT start-up budget, which was around €300 million for 2008-2013. The funds will strengthen the EU's research and innovation capacity and contribute to jobs and growth.

In addition to the three existing KICs on climate, ICT and energy, the EIT will launch five new KICs in 2014-2020 in the fields of healthy living and active ageing (2014), raw materials (2014), food for the future (2016), added value manufacturing (2016) and urban mobility (2018).

For more information
European Commission: Education and training

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