It has been maybe not noticed, but in a quick succession, three majors documents have been released by the EC, outlining what could be the H2020 Future or the next FP9 : the report of the independent High-Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation (the so-called Lamy report), the report « Mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union A problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth » and a synthesis FOR THE FUTURE #EUBudget #HorizonEU HORIZON EUROPE. This last one is announcing a budget increase with a proposal of €100 billion for 2021-2027 for Horizon Europe and the Euratom Research and Training Programme.
The three reports outline the « European dilemma » between a highly productive research ecosystem (Europe represent 30% of the world publications) and an innovation deficit. Indeed, « Europe trails well behind many trading partners such as South Korea, China when it comes to innovation » according to Lamy Report.
This problem is already crucial in strategic areas such as general purpose technologies (Artificial Intelligence) or societal challenges such as Smart Cities. Do we need more excellent research (with the risk that the results could be scaled up outside Europe, e.g. USA for AI)? Or do we need more business innovations? Of course, both but in the end what Europe critically need is the capability to transform the results of research in innovative products, services, entrepreneurship, business and social innovations and future economic growth.
Even if we have still 3 H2020 pillars, the shift toward more innovation outcomes will involve significant changes. Their names and content have considerably evolved. Pillar 1 is still about Science (25.8 billion), Pillar 2 (52.8 billion) is merging societal challenges and industry competitiveness, and Pillar 3 (26.5 billion) is about Open innovation! EC has always been a pioneer in Open Innovation, paving the way to inspiring programs such as living labs, art, and creativity, open testbed …
The focus of the next FP9 will undoubtedly be more and more about innovation and impact. News concepts are proposed such as the development of mission-oriented programs (apparently inspired by the Appollo Man on the moon mission). We don’t know precisely the details but among the idea for moonshots that circulate, is the proposal to develop 100 zero-carbon cities. It is important to remind that the EC is already financing the world largest and collaborative research and development on cities, the Smart Cities and Communities Programs who gather at least 80 cities all over Europe. And this program is involving the demand (cities) and the supply side (business), the research and the citizens. It is already a success and the approach could be extended to others strategic topics
The focus will also be on user experience with the proposal to reinforce the citizen involvement. The reasoning behind is that a project without a deep dive into the end-user experience has fewer chances to deliver a breakthrough innovation. Those kind of innovation are not always the outcome of radically new technologies but often came from the user experience or involvement (consider the washing machine, the mountain bike or even the iPhone).
The Open Innovation pillar (€13.5 billion) aims to make Europe a frontrunner in market-creating innovation via the European Innovation Council (€10 billion). It will help develop the overall European innovation landscape, including by further strengthening the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to foster the integration of business, research, higher education and entrepreneurship (€3 billion). It means more project such as Open Innovation Test-Bed, Platform, Digital Innovation Hub and maybe a new generation of KIC around for instance AI?
FP9 is not finalized yet of course, but this document gives already some clear directions and key words: innovation, impact, business models, market aggregation, end-user approach, 4P approach (People, Public, Private, Partnership), innovation garage and engine!