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Slovenia Hoping to Get EUR 300M from Horizon 2020

Ljubljana, 29 November (STA) - Slovenia is eyeing over EUR 300m from the EU's research and innovation programme for the next seven-year period, dubbed Horizon 2020, Education, Science and Sport Minister Jernej Pikalo said at a presentation of the programme on Friday.

The amount is twice the sum that Slovenia got in the previous seven-year programme, EUR 155m, but Pikalo said Slovenia should be ambitious. "We have the chance to achieve an extraordinary research breakthrough."

Similarly, the head of the Slovenian Research Agency, Franci Demšar, said Slovenian researchers can be successful based on their scientific credentials and the successful phasing of funds under the previous programme.

Samo Hribar Milič, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), said businesses were capable of joining forces with researchers to create new jobs.

But he pointed out that the state needed to do more, including creating a strategic approach to implementing Horizon 2020.

The presentation was staged for companies and researchers by the government, the GZS and the European Commission, with more than 650 participants attending.

EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said the programme had been simplified in order to make it easier for companies and researchers to get funding.

However, the effects of projects will be monitored more comprehensively and would be a key funding criterion. "Horizon 2020 supports the best science," she said.

Geoghegan-Quinn advised Slovenia to continue investing in R&D despite its understandable need to continue with fiscal consolidation.

She said the country should build on past experience and focus on areas where it has had success, including IT, nanoscience, transport and small and medium-sized companies.

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