The European Commission has adopted a set of proposals for its next framework program. Called Horizon 2020, this program will provide 80 billion EUR for research and development projects from 2014 to 2020. Prior to finalisation of the proposal, FSFE had provided input to the Commission in order to make the program accessible for Free Software research and projects. Our input also aims at making the results of publicly funded research available as widely as possible.
As Free Software space is dominated by SMEs and individuals we are happy to see that the program is intended to lower the administrate burden of participating, which is quite substantial under the current FP7 framework program.
The biggest goal of FSFE'S contribution was to help the EC maximise the social value Europeans obtain from the Horizon 2020 program, which is funded out of the taxes they have paid. The Commission proposal states this as an objective, but does not provide much clarity on how this is going to be achieved. FSFE maintains that for results consisting in software, Free Software licenses should be mandatory or at least strongly encouraged. This is not only a question of fairness towards the European taxpayer, but also a matter of economic efficiency and a way to encourage further innovation in the future.
Much of the actual effect of the Horizon 2020 program will depend on the further evolution of the Commission's proposal, and on the way the program itself will be implemented. FSFE will continue to engage with the European institutions in order to support the development of Horizon 2020 in the interest of Europe's citizens.