LONDON – The Semiconductor Equipment Materials International (SEMI) industry trade organization has called for a simplification of the European Union Framework collaborative research program.
The total budget for Framework Program 7, including the non-nuclear research of the Joint Research Centre, is about 50 billion euro (about $70 billion) over seven years.
The European Commission had asked for feedback after concerns were raised that small- and medium-sized enterprises were missing out on research support because they could not afford either financially or due to lack of administrative resources to participate in complex submission process
"SEMI members, which are 90 percent small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), require less bureaucracy to apply for EU funding. We need a program where good ideas can be suggested more frequently and which allows us to work with customers who are not located in Europe," said Carlos Lee, director general of SEMI Europe, in a statement.
SEMI participated in a hearing held in Brussels on Sept. 27 where it argued for a less bureaucratic approach based on five points:
1. Improve the process: Some of the procedural steps are too time consuming. In addition, generic email addresses are inadequate for communication. SEMI also requests the implementation of a “single audit approach” performed by a single entity.
2. Speed up the procedure; support a two-step process: SEMI proposes a two-step process with a concise project outline and a full proposal upon positive feedback. It is not competitive to wait for more than a year to start a project which is ready to go.
3. Better pre-financing the project: Companies may need to borrow money to pre-finance their projects for six months or longer because EU money is delayed. This is an entry barrier especially for SMEs which cannot afford the very expensive machine investments needed for a project.
4. Eliminate double application: Currently, applicants may have to submit two proposals: one for the EU and another for the national authority. A central authority and a unique document would be more efficient.
5. Encourage European cross-border funding: Small Member States are compared to large Member States so they sometimes simply work with partners outside of Europe.
Related links and articles:
The SEMI position on simplification measures in the research Framework Programme 2010 is available here: http://www.semi.org/cms/groups/public/documents/web_content/ctr_040530.pdf.
The SEMI position on European R&D Funding is available here: http://www.semi.org/cms/groups/public/documents/web_content/ctr_040531.pdf
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