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Innovation in Horizon 2020 - cross-cutting aspects

The (new) Horizon 2020 definition "Framework Programme for Research and Innovation" represents the grown significance of innovation for the European Union (EU) within the context of tightening global competition in recent years. Against this background and illustrated by the keyword "impact", the following aspects concerning mainly EU projects in the area of Collaborative Research will play a crucial role:

  • Funding instruments: The European Commission has developed new instruments to enhance the innovation process in science, economy and administration; the announcement of innovation prizes and the establishment of a funding option for Pre-commercial Public Procurement (PCP) may serve as examples.
  • Projects: The value creation process from idea to market will be visible in design and content of the funded projects in Horizon 2020. Business plans, feasibility studies, market analysis, standardization, demonstrators, prototypes and pilot plants will be of high relevance.
  • Scales: The so-called Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), a system of technology assessment, will serve as a "currency" in Horizon 2020 and indicator for the degree of innovation. TRL covers the EU funding range by eight different levels, from basic research to pre-commercial prototypes.

Beyond Collaborative Research, innovation can be described as a "weaving pattern" of Horizon 2020. Innovation aspects and mechanisms are also part of the bottom up programmes, exemplified in the Proof of Concept (POC) funding line of the European Research Council (ERC) or in the demand for cooperation with industry in parts of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme. It has to be pointed out that the concept of innovation in Horizon 2020 is driven by technology but also covers relevant developments in society (social innovation).