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EU to step up support for innovative products

EU to step up support for innovative products
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Turning an inventive idea into a high-tech product more quickly: the European Union wants to help companies market their innovations through a new European Innovation Council and more than 2 billion euros (2.3 billion dollars) in EU funds by 2020.

EU Research, Science and Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas has presented plans in Brussels to expand the initiative, which is already running in a pilot phase.

The goal is for Europe to lead the way when it comes to future technologies such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology or zero-emission energy, Moedas said.

The EU is not only putting money on the table, but also creating a "whole innovation system," he added. Decisions will be made not only based on written applications, but also following direct discussions with innovators.

Europe has to do more

A new type of financing will also be offered for the first time - a mix of public funds and equity investments. This will allow much more money to be mobilised and innovations to be scaled up quickly. In successful cases, the EU will receive a share of the profits, which in turn can be invested into new projects, Moedas said.

Business experts are meant to help the EU seek out projects and act as advisors for three to four years at a time.

Europe is home to around 7 per cent of the world's population, but accounts for about 20 per cent of global spending for research and development, according to the EU. But Europe has to do more when it comes to fast implementation, Moedas said.

100,000 new jobs will be created

From 2021, the Commission over a seven-year fiscal period is to provide a total of 100 billion euros in funding. The Commission expects that the spending through the year 2027 will help create up to 100,000 jobs in the area of research.

The spending under the Commission's proposed research program titled "Horizon Europe" will amount to around 100 billion euros. The money is to go, among others, towards battling social problems arising in everyday life. As examples, the Commission cited the battle against cancer and the fight for plastic-free oceans.

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