Statement by BIO Deutschland on the Future EU Funding of Research and Innovation
In February 2011, the European Commission presented the green paper, “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding” and requested comments from interested parties as part of public consultation. BIO Deutschland responded in May by submitting a statement on the suggestions and questions raised in the green paper. In its statement, the association made clear that the high administrative costs represented a barrier to participation in the EU research framework programme. This does not only apply to SMEs, but also to medium-sized companies that have just “outgrown” the EU definition of SME.
In a future research framework programme, the procedures must be further simplified and accelerated if they are to be attractive to SMEs. At the same time, there must be greater transparency and fairness in the awarding of funding. In cases of a trade-off between the necessary simplification and the desired control, the principle of trust should be given the benefit of the doubt and granted greater importance. Rules, procedures and processes must not only be defined and clearly formulated in time for the launch of the programme, but must also be subsequently interpreted and applied in a consistent manner.
In order to provide better support to SMEs and industry, the aim should be to reduce the application processing period between the submission deadline and approval (time-to-contract) to a maximum of three months (instead of the current average of 400 days) for all projects. This is the only way to avoid the anticipated results of a research project already being overtaken by market developments at the beginning of the project. BIO Deutschland fundamentally recommends the introduction of a two-stage procedure for applications. In this procedure, a short application would suffice for the first stage. Following a preliminary assessment of the applications, the successful applicants would be asked to submit a comprehensively founded long version of the funding application in the second stage.
You will find all of these position papers (in German) at http://www.biodeutschland.org/positionspapiere.html