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Designing the future: EU backs innovation projects

Designing the future: EU backs innovation projects
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The European Union has launched the latest phase of its massive 80 billion euro research and development programme, with calls for private partners in a range of high-tech, innovative projects.

Much of the 1.13 billion euro public funding has been earmarked for clean tech projects, such as Sesar, an integrated air traffic control system.

“We are designing the future right now,” says Massimo Gabrini, ceo of ENAV, Italy’s civilian air traffic control company.

“We want to make one single European system that will enable the airplane to speak directly with the technology on the ground, and even, if possible, to harmonise all of these technologies with airplanes coming from other continents.”

Another research project enjoying partial EU funding as part of the Horizon 2020 programme is the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Europe’s largest public-private initiative aimed at speeding up the development of next generation medicines, vaccines and treatments to tackle Europe’s growing health challenges; notably chronic and neurodegenerative diseases.

The EU’s commissionner for Research, Innovation and Science is Máire Geoghegan-Quinn: “We are launching joint technology initiatives (…), which (are) going to help European industries and make Europe more competitive and create new jobs,” she says.

“It will have cleaner, greener aircrafts. It will be in ICT (Information Communications Technology). It will be in the bio-based industries… What we want to do is we want to make sure that where Europe has the lead, it holds the lead, and in the other areas that we’re announcing today that Europe gets the lead, worldwide,” she adds.

The European Union expects the private sector to meet its funding for these research projects, aimed principally at improving people’s lives while boosting Europe’s international competitiveness.