The European Parliament has approved the Horizon 2020 funding scheme, ScienceInsider reports. Horizon 2020, first proposed in 2011, is the European Union's research and innovation initiative. With almost €80 billion over seven years in funding, the program aims to bolster research in the EU by, as a press release notes, focusing on the three "pillars" of good science, leadership in industry, and challenges facing society.
ScienceInsider notes that the European Commission originally proposed €80 billion in funding for Horizon 2020, and the European Parliament backed an increase to €100 billion, but "it faced resistance from money-conscious member states, which instead downsized the budget." Still, the current Horizon 2020 funding level is higher than its predecessor program, which was given €55 billion.
"This is a vote of confidence in the power of EU research and innovation funding. It paves the way for more investment in knowledge and competitiveness in Europe," Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation, and Science, said in a statement after the vote.
Member states must next formally approve the program, and the first call for proposals is set to go out December 11.