EU pledges huge spend for small biz R&D
Biggest ever investment
The European Commission has pledged €6.4bn for research investments across Europe in various areas for both academics and small businesses.
In total 16,000 organisations should benefit including 3,000 small businesses. The cash will be awarded after a 'call for proposals' - which should start later today.
The Commission hopes the money will kickstart innovative businesses as well as create jobs.
Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "We are offering researchers and innovators €6.4 billion for cutting-edge projects focusing on big economic and societal challenges: climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population.
"This is a huge and efficient economic stimulus and an investment in our future."
Some €1.2bn will be spent on technology and communications projects to support the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Money for small and medium businesses must equal 35 per cent of total spending - or €800m. Some of this is ring-fenced for spending in certain areas like health, "knowledge-based bio-economy", environmental and nanotechnology. Environmental research gets €205m.
There are already calls for research likely to benefit SMEs, and also a study into application codes for supercomputers and HPCs including copyright issues and code licensing. ®
How to kickstart businesses? Get out of the way!
"The Commission hopes the money will kickstart innovative businesses as well as create jobs."
Ah yes, "innovative" as determined by a bureaucrat. We wouldn't want to leave this money in the hands of taxpayers, so that businesses innovate in order to meet the needs of customers. Far better to confiscate this wealth, and dish it out to projects favoured by the Eurocrats.
The best thing the governments can do to kickstart businesses is to get out of the way.
To be fair
I think the issue is not government funding but *efficacy*.
*Does* this cash kick start new companies, processes, products?
DARPA certainly has a track record of developments they have forced along. Do EU projects have a similar one (but a less developed PR team)?
Despite cutbacks the US has made *very* large (certainly by European and UK standards) investments in government funded R&D projects (Check DTIC and ECD sites for the *thousands* of R&D reports generated by this funding over *decades*. Now try to get that level of access to EU or UK reports).
And the Japaneses fondness for picking winning industries to invest in is also well known.
But has that money *achieved* the sort of business and job creation it's funders hoped for?
Yup, politically directed research is big in Europe
Didn't Germany do something like this in the 1930s?