- 'Joint Programming will achieve maximum societal impact’
28th February 2013
EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, has today (Thursday) called on the wider European research community – academia, industry, governments and other key stakeholders – to embrace and advance the ‘Joint Programming’ model of research, where Member States work together to tackle common issues in a strategically-aligned process.
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn was in Dublin where she was addressing the Joint Programming Conference ‘Agenda for the Future & Achievements to Date’, a key event in Ireland’s EU Presidency.
Hosted by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the conference is being attended by over 400 international delegates and is focussing on scientific research programmes operating in Ireland and across Europe.
In her address to the conference, the Commissioner said “At a time when we are urgently seeking research-driven solutions to major societal challenges and public resources including R&D funding are under pressure, Joint Programming offers a way to get better value, better results and bigger impacts from national research programmes”
She added: “As public funders of research, we need to get better at setting priorities, choose where we can make the biggest impact with public money in a European context, and recognise that we can't do everything, and nor should we try. Just as we are asking the Member States to be much more strategic in setting and implementing agendas, so we need to be much more strategic with Horizon 2020, and ensure it adds value at European level. The Strategic Research Agendas of Joint Programming Initiatives are essential to ensure that national funding is committed and strategically aligned at European level. By aligning and co-ordinating the institutional and competitive funding committed under national research programmes, which account for 88% of the public research investments in Europe, we can better exploit our resources for maximum societal impact.
Speaking at the conference, Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D. described Joint Programming as “going to the heart of the European project” and said that “measuring the success of this Joint Programming approach in relation to areas such as health and well-being, food security, climate change, and secure and efficient energy, is perhaps the most challenging aspect.
“I am particularly pleased that the conference will be examining the question of the capacities of Member States and regions to participate in joint programming. Although we are a small, open economy, Ireland is an active participant the Joint Programming Initiatives. In particular, Ireland has been very active in the pilot Initiative on Neurodegenerative Disease since its commencement. Had the barriers to participation been set at too high a level in terms of financial commitment, this would have shut out certain Member States and regions. There are many ways in which all Member States can make a valuable contribution to joint programming”.
Stressing the need for Joint Programming to maximise engagement with industry, he added that by incorporating both SME and large companies into the process, there was an opportunity to shape the response of the research community to the changing enterprise landscape.
Minister Sherlock said that he intended to use the Irish Presidency of the European Union to establish what level of political will existed regarding Joint Programming, stating: “ I have informed the Competitiveness Council that I intend to return to the subject of Joint Programming when we meet again in May, when I propose that we have a policy debate on the matter.”
Director General of SFI, Prof. Mark Ferguson, said “This Joint Programming Conference is particularly important in identifying the areas where ‘sensible synchronising’ of policies between EU member states can be further progressed. Joint Programming embodies that seismic shift of recent years towards the forging of new partnerships between traditionally distinct sectors at national and international level”.
Note: The Joint Programming Conference, ‘Agenda for the Future & Achievements to Date’, is taking place today and tomorrow in Dublin Castle and is hosted by Science Foundation Ireland in conjunction with the European Commission (Website:www.jpc2013.com/ Twitter: @JPC_2013).
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