European Industry highlights the strategic importance of collaborative research and innovation in Horizon 2020

5th & 6th November 2013 – European Industry highlights the strategic importance of collaborative research and innovation in Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020 is vital to ensuring that automotive research and innovation (R&I) continues competitively in Europe. To highlight the industry’s priorities, the European Council for Automotive R&D (EUCAR) today presented its ‘Strategic Pillars’ of automotive R&I.  EUCAR also addressed industry’s future challenges and expanded on the opportunities for strategic R&I afforded by Horizon 2020.

The announcement came at the annual EUCAR reception and conference in Brussels on 5-6 November. The event which brings together top policy makers with key R&I experts from the automotive industry is an opportunity for these stakeholders to exchange views on future directions for Europe’s scientific and technological efforts in the sector.

The Conference was themed by the Strategic Pillars of automotive R&I for passenger and commercial vehicles: ‘Sustainable Propulsion’, ‘Safe & Integrated Mobility’ and ‘Affordability & Competitiveness’, representing the key priorities for the industry in the upcoming Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.


The Conference exhibition displayed a number of vehicles and technology systems arising from projects co-funded by the current Seventh Research Framework Programme. Each panel session of the conference was dedicated to a specific Strategic Pillar, with speakers highlighting the importance of managing and meeting expectations with respect to vehicle propulsion, safety, mobility and industrial competitiveness. A specific panel on Horizon 2020 was held with senior executives and policy makers, in which the speakers addressed issues of simplification in Horizon 2020, in particular how to speed up the process of creating, evaluating and starting research and innovation projects.

Speaking at the event, Waldemar Kütt, Deputy Head of Cabinet to the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, emphasised the importance of the automotive industry in Europe and its challenges, stating, “Europe’s road transport industries are truly world-beating. To remain competitive, they need to constantly innovate; and innovation is based on excellent research”.  Referring to the research challenges of the industry, he detailed the “very complex issues that cover a wide range of disciplines – from the purely technological to the social and behavioural sciences”, adding, ”I believe that Horizon 2020 offers your industry the tools to address all of these research and innovation issues”.

Speaking on behalf of the automotive manufacturers, Michael Ableson, General Motors Europe Vice President Engineering and Member of the Board of Adam Opel AG, focused on how the industry is accelerating innovation by speeding up the development process to meet the constantly changing needs and expectations of consumers, whilst fulfilling regulatory demands amid strong global competition.  He encouraged similar speed in Horizon 2020, calling for “fast procedures for industrially relevant projects to ensure the research results are available to feed innovation as quickly as possible”.

The EUCAR Chairman Ralph Stenger, Director of Global Advanced Vehicle Development & CAE at GM/Opel, presented EUCAR’s Strategic Pillars. “These Pillars represent a coherent and strategic programme for collaborative automotive R&I for inclusion in the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme”, stated Stenger. He added, “We are working with our partners and the European Commission to determine how these priorities can most effectively be addressed in Horizon 2020 in order to reinforce innovation in the automotive sector”.