Most of you are familiar with the European (multiannual) Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP). The current FP (FP7 covering 2007-2013) has a total budget of €55 billion and to date has financed more than 19,000 projects involving more than 79,000 participants.
The last call for proposals under FP7 was issued by the Commission on 9 July. FP7 will be followed, in early 2014, by the 'Horizon 2020' Programme for Research and Innovation that aims to break from the past. We expect the European Parliament and the Council to adopt H2020 by mid-2013.
The European Commission Directorate General CONNECT (former DG INFSO) is responsible for the ICT part of the FP, among other duties such as the telecom regulatory framework.For several months, DG CONNECT has been engaged internally in setting up a concrete and clear common plan for H2020. This is not about changing for the sake of changing.
During these years of economic crisis, on top of continuous progress in infrastructures and microelectronic systems embodied in equipments and devices, ICT markets have been characterised by an exceptional wave of innovation, with the development of social networks, smartphones, app stores, e-readers, big data analytics and cloud computing to mention those most commonly cited. Market structures have been deeply shaken (in particular with the development of two-sided markets, or platforms), yielding truly disruptive changes with big winners and big losers. This has led to bankruptcies, spectacular exits (divestitures), new entrants and a wave of 'patent troll' litigation that raises questions on the IPR system. Alongside the well-established collaborative R&D networks and clusters, new innovation communities (more open) and strategies (easier, cheaper, and less risky) have developed.
The objective of DG CONNECT is to stick to reality and to enrich the policy-mix (tools and priorities) in order to maximise the potential of ICT to deliver European growth and job creation. In particular, the objective is to promote a more agile and responsive space for creativity and a genuinely SME-friendly approach. Complementing more traditional incentives such as subsidies (with a higher bureaucratic cost), new instruments such as prizes and public procurement of innovation will be used as tools for promoting innovation. DG CONNECT also plans to innovate on how research priorities are set and how they can combine with the use of the wider range of policy tools beyond those covered in H2020 (e.g. regulations, internal market, IPR regimes, tax incentives etc.).
In this respect, DG CONNECT is organising an 'ICT Competitiveness Week' on 17-20 September 2012. The week covers cross-cutting issues and specific strategies by ICT sub-area. This is a working event; hence external participation is by invitation only.
The objective of the cross-cutting sessions is to identify the main obstacles (and ways to redress them), which hamper the realisation of the full potential of ICT to contribute to H2020 strategy on competiveness and growth (IPR, taxation, state aid, access to finance, new business models, open innovation, smart specialisation, innovation ecosystems, digital skills etc.).
The objective of the sectorial sessions is to receive insights allowing refining and validation of DG CONNECT strategies (in electronic components and systems, advanced manufacturing robotics, photonics etc.)
The Competitiveness Week is one event among many planned before the final adoption of H2020, but it is the first providing a unique opportunity for experts and in particular economists to inspire and contribute to the policy making process of H2020.
ICTNET (a DG CONNECT initiated FP7 coordination action), because of its work accomplished during the last two years and because of its unique representativeness of the ICT economics research community, should be fully associated to DG CONNECT's explorative thinking.