R&D Council: National priorities needed for European research funding ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Research and Development Council (RDC) concluded in a discussion held on Tuesday that it is necessary to formulate national priorities in order to successfully participate in Horizon Europe, an EU programme for research and innovation.

The volume of the prepared programme Horizon Europe for the years 2021-2027 is, according to current proposals, over €94 billion, according to a Government Office press release. The aim of the programme is to support research and innovation to increase the productivity and competitiveness of European countries. The programme also aims to support the achievement of goals set for sustainable development and solving global problems.

According to RDC chairman Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre), Estonia supports both the new budget proposal and its objectives. "The competitiveness of Europe and our future living environment depend on how wisely we can tackle future issues," he said. "Therefore, the support for science and innovation must grow at the European level.

"In order to participate successfully in the new research funding programme, however, it is necessary to set national thematic priorities and consider how to more effectively support the participation of researchers and enterprises in the programme," he added.

Research to improve competitiveness

Compared to the Horizon 2020 programme, the future funding of European science aims to focus more on innovation and the financing of innovative projects of individual companies. Excessively complex cooperation models will be simplified and coherence with other major European Union policies, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, will be increased.

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Rene Tammist (SDE) said that the changes proposed in the Horizon Europe programme also support Estonia's aim to establish a clearer link between the national funding of research and the increase in value added of Estonia's enterprises and entrepreneurship.

"The more research-intensive the Estonian economy is, the higher the value added to products and services can be," Tammist explained. "Our competitiveness on the global market will also grow as a result."

The European Commission is preparing a follow-up to Horizon 2020, the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever with a budget of €77 billion. Estonia is among the five most successful countries in this programme, having participated in 406 projects with a budget of over €115 million as of June. The success of the programme is also demonstrated by the fact that Estonian researchers received 165% of the funding an average researcher of the EU received, and in terms of funding, Estonia received 264% of the EU average. 

Chaired by Ratas, the Research and Development Council advises the Estonian government in matters relating to research and development strategy. Also on the council are Tammist, Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Centre), Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste (Pro Patria), and members appointed by the government, including Jaak Aaviksoo, Toomas Asser, Toomas Luman, Gunnar Okk, Mart Saarma, Oliver Väärtnõu, Tarmo Soomere and Toomas Tamsar.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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