Felleseuropeisk forskningsprogram om måleteknikk under Horisont Europa (2021-2027)

Tittel

Forslag til europaparlaments- og rådsbeslutning om deltakelse av Unionen i Det europeiske partnerskap for måleteknikk som er etablert i felleskap av flere medlemsstater

Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the participation of the Union in a European Partnership on Metrology jointly undertaken by several Member States

Siste nytt

Europaparlamentets plenumsbehandling 12.11.2021 (enighet med Rådet)

Nærmere omtale

BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsforslaget, engelsk utgave)

Reasons for and objectives of the proposal

Horizon Europe – the new framework programme for research and innovation (2021 – 2027) – aims to achieve a greater impact on research and innovation by leveraging additional private and public funds via co-investment through European Partnerships. These partnerships are envisaged in areas where the scope and scale of the resources in research and innovation are justified to support achieving the Unions’ priorities targeted by Horizon Europe, notably its pillar 2 – Global challenges and industrial competitiveness.

Article 8 of Regulation (EU) [XXX] of the European Parliament and of the Council (the ‘Horizon Europe Regulation’) provides that Institutionalised European Partnerships based on Articles 185 and 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) ‘shall be implemented only where other parts of the Horizon Europe programme, including other forms of European Partnerships would not achieve the objectives or would not generate the necessary expected impacts, and if justified by a long-term perspective and high degree of integration’.

In the Horizon Europe Regulation, the co-legislators also identified eight priority areas for possible Institutionalised European Partnerships based on Article 185 or Article 187 TFEU. Consequently, a set of 12 initiatives were identified as candidates and were the subject of a coordinated impact assessment.

Metrology was acknowledged by the co-legislators as one of these priority areas under the Horizon Europe Regulation, hence the present proposal for a European Metrology Partnership. It builds on the lessons learnt from the European metrology research programme (EMRP) and the European metrology programme on innovation and research (EMPIR). However, the present initiative represents a new partnership to meet new challenges. It is not intended as a mere continuation of previous programmes.

The proposal relates to the participation of the European Union in the European metrology programme undertaken by several Member States. Metrology is the scientific study of measurement. It is a key enabler of economic and social activity and, as such, is a public good. Currently, metrology research programmes lack impact at EU level due to the fragmentation of activities and the duplication of effort across Member States.

This is at a time when Europe faces increased global competition in metrology in terms of scale and focus of investment as well as long-term financial commitment to metrology objectives. In the last decade, the US, China and India increased their investments in metrology by 60%, 50% and 52% respectively. During this period, investments in European institutes remained relatively static and did not respond to new and increasingly important research fields. The inadequate level of investment in Europe, coupled with the fragmentation of metrology capabilities, has resulted in efforts being spread out too thinly, without any strategic focus. The previous programmes funded at EU level, EMRP and EMPIR, have demonstrated the capability of reducing this fragmentation, and also co-fund activities for new metrology capacities and joint priorities.

In recent years, the investments outside the EU have continued. In the US, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is the country’s national metrology institute, had an overall annual budget of USD 724.5 million in 2018 and 2019. Noteworthy actions include a dedicated programme for exploratory measurement sciences (the ‘lab programme’) with an annual budget in excess of USD 60 million and a research programme for fundamental measurements, including quantum science that has an annual budget of more than USD 160 million. According to the latest information available, the National Institute of Metrology (NIM) in China had an operational budget of EUR 180 million in 2018. In addition, China implemented a targeted research programme for metrology between 2016-2019 of about EUR 65 million and funded 160 collaborative research projects across China. By comparison, PTB, the national metrology institute (NMI) in Germany and the largest in Europe, has a total operating annual budget of EUR 200 million, in which the majority is not targeting research, but metrology services for industry and society.

Our global competitors are making these strategic investments because of the growing need for metrology solutions targeting emerging technologies and new product development. Moreover, the increase in societal challenges requiring trustworthy standards and regulations makes it urgent to address the lack of embedment of metrology in the innovation system at European level.

To maintain Europe’s competitive leadership in emerging technologies and new product development and in ensuring a forward-looking approach to trustworthy standards and regulations that anticipate societal challenges, it is essential that the European Metrology Initiative ensures that by 2030 metrology solutions in Europe are at least equal to the top global performers, in demonstrating world class in providing metrology services for existing, complex measurement challenges and new technologies.. This should be achieved through specialised pan-European networks that pool resources to attain a critical mass of capabilities. These metrology solutions should support sales of new innovative products and services by adopting and using key emerging technologies. The solutions should also contribute to the effective design and implementation of specific standards and regulations that underpin public policies addressing societal challenges.

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