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18.2.2.  EU and Euratom R & D framework programmes

    A two-phased decision-making process exists for Union research programmes. Every seven years, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure [see section 4.3] after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, adopt a multiannual research and technological development framework programme (Article 182 TFEU, ex Article 166 TEC). By laying down the objectives, the priorities and the overall funds for Union action and their apportionment in broad terms, the framework-programme constitutes a "guide" for decisions on specific programmes to be taken during the five years covered. In addition, the framework programme has the desired characteristic of making visible, for scientific establishments, undertakings or Member States, the medium-term research possibilities afforded by the Union. By providing clear indications of the specific measures that the Union intends to undertake, it allows the various European research operators better to programme their efforts and Union research to take its proper place in the concert of European cooperation actions. The framework programme may be adapted or supplemented as the situation changes. In implementing the multiannual framework programme, supplementary programmes may be decided on involving the participation of certain Member States only, which shall finance them subject to possible Union participation (Article 184 TFEU, ex Article 168 TEC). The framework programmes are implemented through specific programmes adopted by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after consultation of the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee (Article 182 TFEU, ex Article 166 TEC) [Decision 2013/743].

    ''Horizon 2020'' the EU Research and Innovation programme (2014-2020) is more ambitious than its predecessor, the seventh framework programme (2007-2013) [Regulation 1291/2013]. It disposes of funding of nearly € 80 billion over the seven years and it is expected to attract equally important private investments. The general objective of Horizon 2020 is to build a society and a world-leading economy based on knowledge and innovation across the whole Union, while contributing to sustainable development. It will support the Europe 2020 strategy and other Union policies as well as the achievement and functioning of the European Research Area (ERA). Horizon 2020  plays a central role in the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth [see section 7.3] by providing a common strategic framework for the Union's funding of excellent research and innovation, thus acting as a vehicle for leveraging private and public investment, creating new job opportunities and ensuring Europe's long-term sustainability, growth, economic development, social inclusion and industrial competitiveness, as well as addressing societal challenges across the Union.

    Horizon 2020 focuses on three priorities, namely: generating excellent science (with a budget of € 24.4 billion) in order to strengthen the Union's world-class excellence in science [see section 18.4.1]; fostering industrial leadership (with a budget of € 17 billion) to support business, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation [see section 18.4.2]; and tackling societal challenges (with a budget of € 29.7 billion), in order to respond directly to the challenges identified in the Europe 2020 strategy by supporting activities covering the entire spectrum from research to market [see section 18.4.3].

    The Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2014-2018) complements the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation [Regulation 1314/2013].The general objective of the Euratom Programme is to pursue nuclear research and training activities with an emphasis on continuous improvement of nuclear safety, security and radiation protection, notably to potentially contribute to the long-term decarbonisation of the energy system in a safe, efficient and secure way. The general objective is implemented through the activities in the form of direct and indirect actions which pursue specific objectives [see section 18.2.3]. The financial envelope for the implementation of the Euratom Programme is € 1.6 billion. That amount is distributed as follows: (a) indirect actions for the fusion research and development programme € 728 million; (b) indirect actions for nuclear fission, safety and radiation protection, € 315.5; (c) direct actions, € 559.5 billion.

    The research programme of the Research Fund for Coal and Steel follows the lines of the earlier ECSC programmes [see section 19.2.2] and supplements the framework programme [Decision 2008/376]. It contains guidelines which set out the criteria for participation in the programmes, eligibility criteria for projects applying for funding and operational arrangements for the programme, particularly as regards the procedures to be followed, the evaluation and selection of projects, provisions on contracts, and the monitoring and dissemination of results.

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