The European Innovation Council (EIC) will receive €50 million of an extra €200 million expected to be awarded to the EU Horizon 2020 research programme. The increase was approved by MEPs in early April, as part of a review of the EU27’s seven-year budget. The activities of the EIC are expected to start in the autumn with the probable adoption of a riskier, venture capital-style approach to awarding grants.
The beneficiaries of the €200 million top-up include:
- €50 million for the European Research Council, of which €16.7 million was already earmarked for this year’s budget;
- €55 million for the ‘spreading excellence and widening participation’ section of Horizon 2020, of which €16.7 million has been earmarked for 2017;
- €45 million for high performance computing, of which €16.7 million has been earmarked for 2017.
EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas called the budget boost “a very valuable deal.” However, the €200 million, recognised as part-compensation for the €2.2 billion that was taken from the programme in 2015 to finance the Commission’s Juncker Plan investment fund, is half the amount the executive asked for.
Earlier this year member states decided to direct additional funding to other areas, in particular a new youth unemployment initiative. A proposed €200 million increase for the Erasmus+ student and academic exchange scheme was also halved to €100 million.
Final approval of the package by member states is expected in the coming weeks.