Derek Vaughan MEP met with representatives from Welsh Universities this week to discuss how the EU will support higher education in Wales over the coming years.
The meeting comes as the European Council and the European Parliament are discussing the Horizon 2020 proposal, worth around £70m, which will see a complete overhaul of the way EU research and innovation funding is delivered across all Member States.
Mr Vaughan said:
"This meeting was important because it gave me the chance to discuss the proposals with representatives from Welsh universities and help them to prepare for the new programme.
Horizon 2020 promises to drastically cut red tape by simplifying rules and procedures to attract more top researchers and a broader range of innovative businesses.
This is really good news for research and innovation in Wales, and should see more information provided by the Commission for applicants to reduce admin burden and encourage more participation.
It’s important that our universities and SMEs are aware of the changes to funding priorities and the application process so that we can make best use of the support available."
Mr Vaughan added:
"Our meeting was also a good opportunity to talk about Wales’ performance under the current EU funding instrument (FP7), which has provided £100m in support to Welsh universities since 2007 and funded hundreds of projects, for example, the Low Carbon Research Institute which is helping Wales to lead the way in research to cut carbon emissions.
My focus now is on how build on our successes and achieve even better results under the new programme."
A final decision on the content of Horizon 2020 will be made by the end of 2013 and the launch of the first call in respect of Horizon 2020 is expected in the new year.
This meeting comes as Mr Vaughan is working on the European Commission's Discharge report, which will look at research spending.
The report will examine how effective the European Commission is at implementing research funding and will identify if and where errors are taking place so that better systems can be developed for the future.