In Europe there is a difference in research and innovation performance across the EU Member States, which is particularly worrying given that investment in research and innovation is linked to economic growth and competitiveness. Several challenges need to be addressed, including:
Underinvestment in research
Access to funding is crucial for high-quality research and development. The EU has a target of investing an average of 3% of GDP in research and innovation by 2020. Despite progress, this target has still not been met, with most of our beneficiary countries falling below the EU average of 2%.
Uneven performance in EU framework programmes
The countries which joined the EU after 2004 have a lower success rate than the other EU members in research programmes such as Horizon 2020. This can lead to promising ideas not being explored and research talent going unnoticed.
Supporting young researchers
Many young talents struggle to see a future in the field of research due to a lack of funding opportunities and limited support. Making sure PhD and masters students see a career in research as a good career option – for example through international experiences and participation in research networks – is vital for the sustainability of the sector.
The research and business communities need to work closely together if society is to fully benefit from the results of research. Bringing new solutions and technology onto the market requires strategic and joint efforts.
We aim to enhance research-based knowledge development.
Through the EEA and Norway Grants low-performing beneficiary countries get funding to produce excellent research with partners in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Partners get a chance to network and exchange valuable knowledge and ideas on an international stage, and share state of the art facilities and research infrastructure. In addition to the research results, the partners increase their ability to access EU funding. Supported initiatives include:
- Collaborative projects in basic and applied research
- Partnerships between academia and companies to ensure the application of research results
- Capacity building in research, including support for women in research and young researchers
- Research targeting societal challenges and social innovation
- Support for the beneficiary countries’ participation in Horizon 2020 and ERA multilateral research cooperation