The Horizon 2020 program has created quality jobs, consequently having a positive impact on the entire EU economy, in its different members states and regions like our own Helsinki-Uusimaa.
This biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, EU Horizon 2020, has supported more than 340 000 researchers, world-class research institutes and universities, as well as numerous companies. Alone over 26 000 SMEs have benefitted from the funding.
67 % of national funding to Helsinki-Uusimaa
In total, Finland has received about a 1,3-billion-euro net EU-contribution. Within Finland, Helsinki-Uusimaa is the most successful region. Close to 67 % of the whole funding in Finland has come to the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region and all three top grant receivers are based here.
The VTT Technical Research Centre has been the most successful of these three. Of course, VTT has also active operations in other parts of Finland. Aalto University and University of Helsinki are the two other organisations doing well.
There are also many other actors who have participated in Horizon 2020 projects. For example, the universities of applied science have received funding, as well as many companies and municipalities. The three biggest cities of our region are certainly involved, but also smaller municipalities have benefitted from Horizon 2020.
For instance, the city of Kerava has been participating in a project called MAtchUP. The goal has been to find such innovative solutions in the energy, mobility and ICT sectors that will serve as a model of urban transformation for other cities in Europe and beyond.
Horizon 2020 securing Europe’s global competitiveness
With nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years, from year 2014 to 2020, Horizon 2020 has significantly affected the topics of research and development. It has been the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. It is also an important tool to achieve other policy goals such as EU’s climate targets, UN sustainable development goals and policy goals of different EU member states.
In Horizon 2020 projects, typically about 50–70 % of the funding is used for salary expenses. Thus, the programme has both an immediate and indirect impact to job creation and prosperity in our region. Framework programme funding often covers longer timespans than national funding. This creates a much needed stability for research groups and other beneficiaries.
Other and even more significant benefits are the creation of innovation ecosystems, increasing capacity and knowhow, and developing technologies in wider European cooperation.
Horizon Europe next
As part of the multiannual financial framework for the next 7 years, the member states agreed on the next program called Horizon Europe in July 2020. Now the whole package is at the European parliament, expected to be somewhat changed. There are hopes that the research and innovation funding would be increased as a result of a proposal made by the state leaders.
Nevertheless, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region should be even more active than before. In the coming years, after the current coronavirus crisis, new sustainable innovations are even more important as a basis for sustainable growth. The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council wants to help our regional actors to find stronger consortiums and make better applications. Be in touch.
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Janne Leino (M.A.) has started in his position as the new Head of the Helsinki EU Office in Brussels. Mr Leino, with a strong international career, has previously worked for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), where he coordinated the interests’ promotion of a network with more than one hundred offices in Brussels.
In the bi-yearly edition of the Regional Innovation Scoreboard published in July 2023, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region holds the overall position of the second most innovative region in Europe. Innovation performance of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region has increased over time by 18%.