by Staff Writers
Brussels (UPI) Dec 2, 2011
The European Commission said this week that it's seeking $42.6 billion for scientific research on "secure, clean and efficient energy" and other societal needs.
The proposal is part of the EU leadership's "Horizon 2020" plan, which would run 2014-20, released Wednesday in Brussels by European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.
The sum is part of a $108 billion science research and development budget that represents an increase and renewed commitment to EU-funded scientific spending at a time of financial turmoil in the eurozone.
Clean energy technology is one of six categories in the $42.6 billion portion of the research and development budget earmarked for studies on major social concerns "shared by all Europeans." Included are food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy; smart, green and integrated transport; climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials; and "inclusive, innovative and secure societies."
The research proposals, which must be approved by the European Parliament, won't only help keep Europe at the forefront of scientific research but also create jobs, Geoghegan-Quinn said.
"We can create a win-win situation by supporting research that will both tackle problems related to health, food security, energy, transport, climate change and a secure society and at the same time that will create new business opportunities for European companies out of this response," she said.
The money spent on scientific research in energy and other fields will yield a higher "bang for the buck" by leveraging dollars from private and other public sources, the EU science chief asserted.
The Horizon 2020 plan is the eighth round of the EU's research and innovation framework and follows an online competition earlier this year.
It seeks to simplify and modernize the processes by which research receives funding and identifies social concerns along with excellent science and competitive industries as its three main themes.
The European Research Council, which funds basic rather than applied research, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which seeks to stimulate innovation through cross-border public-private partnerships known as "knowledge and innovation communities," are slated for major increases.
The EIT includes scientific communities devoted to climate change and sustainable energy. Some $3.8 billion is earmarked for the institute, up from $415 million since its launch in 2008. Funding for the ERC, meanwhile, is proposed for $17.7 billion, a 77 percent jump over 2007-13 levels.
"This is the best news I have heard recently, being Greek and all that," ERC Founding President Fotis Kafatos told Science magazine. "It's a very strong indication that the importance of it has been understood by political leadership and augurs well for European development."
Helga Nowotny, the council's president, told the magazine the funding levels proposed by the European Commission were encouraging amid the turmoil of the sovereign debt crisis.
"Of course, one can always hope for more," she said. "Overall I am pleased with the sum; given the general economic climate, it is very important for us we are able to maintain and continue what we've been doing in the past."
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
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A smarter way to make ultraviolet light beams
Ann Arbor, MI (SPX) Dec 01, 2011
Existing coherent ultraviolet light sources are power hungry, bulky and expensive. University of Michigan researchers have found a better way to build compact ultraviolet sources with low power consumption that could improve information storage, microscopy and chemical analysis. A paper on the research is newly published in Optics Express. The research was led by Mona Jarrahi and Tal Carmo ... read more
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