Commission recommits to 35% climate funding target

EUROPE: The European Commission (EC) has recommitted to meeting its 35% target for funding climate action from its biggest ever research funding scheme, Horizon 2020.

European Commission commits to the Horizon 2020 research and development programme (pic: Rama / WikiCommons)
European Commission commits to the Horizon 2020 research and development programme (pic: Rama / WikiCommons)

The European Union (EU) executive revealed details of how it will spend the remaining €30 billion of the research and innovation funding including billions for climate, energy and circular economy projects.

The scheme was criticised in 2016 by the EU Court of Auditors for allocating just 24% of Horizon 2020 funds to climate action, missing its 35% target.

Announcing the new work programme for the final three years of the scheme last week, the Commission said the "ambition of investing at least 35% of its total budget for climate action becomes more important".

The UK has benefited from £1.2bn (€1.6bn) of research funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme in the past year.

In the same period the UK became the member state to participate in the most projects through the programme.

While the UK remains a member of the European Union, its participants remain eligible, but the issue over access is expected to be dealt with in the next phase of the negotiations on the UK's exit.

Funding available for remainder of the €77 billion seven-year programme which began in 2014 will be directed at fewer areas with bigger budgets to support the Commission's political priorities, officials said.

That will include €3.3 billion for "a low-carbon, climate resilient future" and €941 million for the circular economy.

Another €2.2 billion is earmarked for clean energy projects covering renewables, energy efficient buildings, electro-mobility and storage solutions including €200 million to support the development and production in Europe of the next generation of electric batteries.

Individual "cases" set out in the new work programme include €14 million for digital solutions for water efficiency; €15 million for greener aircraft; and €20 million for CO2 capture technology.

The scheme has so far funded more than 15,000 grants with €26.65 billion, including research to tackle water scarcity in the Mediterranean region, and research to develop technologies to convert agricultural and forestry waste into chemicals, food, animal feed, and fuel.

Funding is allocated according to work programme "calls" with predefined objectives, criteria and closing dates for applications, which are then assessed by Commission experts.

First published on Ends Europe

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