By Samuel Hinneh, Copenhagen, Denmark.

M?ire Geoghegan-Quinn (The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science)
M?ire Geoghegan-Quinn (The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science)

The European Union Commission would invest 80 billion Euros in research and innovation from now to 2020 as a means to improve lives and economy of member states as well as at the global level.

This investment falls under the European Union science programme, Horizon 2020, designed to build a balanced, knowledge-based economy, with education, science, research and innovation at its very heart.

?Research and innovation are at the heart of the Europe 2020 programme and heads of state and government have had two thematic discussions on these topics in the European Council,? says M?ire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

?The increase in funding for Horizon 2020 is proof of Member States’ immense trust in the scientific community – trust that scientists will play a major role, if not the role in boosting growth and jobs,? she added at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF 2014), taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark .

EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) is a biennial, interdisciplinary meeting and the largest pan-European platform for scientists, politicians, innovators, journalists and citizens to discuss science. The ESOF 2014 on the theme Science Building Bridges is designed as an open platform for debating science and as a showcase for European and global research at all levels from June 21-26, 2014.

An excellent example of science’s engagement with real-life problems is the work of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership in South Africa in 2012, where European Member States are working with their African partners to tackle tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS.

The transformation in science has led to new approach to science that uses information-sharing and collaboration made possible by network technologies and commonly referred to as Science 2.0.

She believes as policymakers at European level, need a better understanding of the dynamics of Science 2.0 and its possible impacts on science and research policy in particular.

?And that is why we will launch within the next fortnight a wide-ranging public consultation to increase awareness of the issues, to understand the views and concerns of everyone involved and to fine-tune our own analysis,? Geoghegan-Quinn emphasised.

According to her the consultation is important because Science 2.0 is happening now, and we need to be better prepared for it than we were for Web 2.0.

A recent independent study produced for the European Commission showed that the global shift to Open Access to research publications has reached a tipping point. Around 50% of scientific papers published across nearly 40 countries in 2011 are now available for free.

?Clearly, Open Access is here to stay. Making research results more available contributes to better and more efficient science, stimulates innovation and strengthens our knowledge-based economy. This is why we have made Open Access to peer reviewed publications the default position across Horizon 2020?, she noted.

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