Welsh scientists need to seize EU funding opportunities to lead research and innovation in manufacturing Welsh Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne has said.
Dr Swinburne was speaking at a workshop for academics and manufacturing businesses to highlight opportunities presented by the EU's Horizon 2020 scheme which supports scientific research and innovation with an €80bn budget from 2014 to 2020.
The initiative is aimed at securing the EU’s global competitiveness, and is part of an overall effort to help fuel new growth and jobs across the European economies.
At the workshop on Smart Specialisation and Horizon 2020 delegates also heard from successful applicants for EU funding who outlined their experiences in obtaining support and subsequently running successful projects.
In the European Parliament Conservatives are playing a key role in promoting policies that allow our scientists and researchers to co-operate with international partners and compete on the global stage.
Dr Swinburne joined her Conservative colleagues in pushing to keep "excellence" as the key criterion for awarding EU research funding.
Dr Swinburne said:
"Wales has a rich manufacturing history and our Universities and colleges in Wales are once again driving manufacturing research and innovation, applying cutting edge science and technology to help improve our economic competitiveness.
"Funding opportunities like those discussed at the Horizon 2020 workshop will support the research and innovation needed to meet the economic challenges of today and tomorrow.
"In my capacity as MEP for Wales, I will continue to scrutinise EU research spending to ensure that Welsh priorities are achieved, and investment in Wales is maximised through increased cooperation between academia and Welsh businesses, especially our SMEs involved in manufacturing.
"Programmes such as the Astute Project, currently funded from Structural funds, need to be scaled up using Horizon 2020 funds. The Astute project allows Welsh businesses to access the latest innovations in advanced manufacturing from eight Welsh Universities to generate solutions to a wide range of manufacturing problems. This project needs to be extended and used as a flagship programme for EU Research and Innovation spending.
"Seizing this opportunity in Research and Innovation funding is vital to ensure a stronger, more competitive Welsh economy for future generations."