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Societal challenges

Societal challenges

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This Part responds directly to the policy priorities and societal challenges identified in the Europe 2020 strategy and aiming to stimulate the critical mass of research and innovation efforts needed to achieve Union's policy goals.

  Challenge Horizon

1. Health, demographic change and wellbeing

Objective:  to improve the lifelong health and wellbeing of all

  • Understanding the determinants of health, improving health promotion and disease prevention
  • Developing effective screening programmes and improving the assessment of disease susceptibility 
  • Improving surveillance and preparedness
  • Understanding disease
  • Developing better preventive vaccines
  • Improving diagnosis
  • Using in-silico medicine for improving disease management and prediction
  • Treating disease
  • Transferring knowledge to clinical practice and scalable innovation actions
  • Better use of health data
  • Improving scientific tools and methods to support policy making and regulatory needs
  • Active ageing, independent and assisted living
  • Individual empowerment for self-management of health
  • Promoting integrated care
  • Optimising the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare systems and reducing inequalities through evidence based decision making and dissemination of best practice, and innovative technologies and approaches
  • Specific implementation aspects

2. Food quality and marine research

Objective: to secure sufficient supplies of safe and high quality food and other bio-based products, by developing productive and resource-efficient primary production systems, fostering related ecosystem services, along side competitive and low carbon supply chains 

Sustainable agriculture and forestry

  • Increasing production efficiency and coping with climate change, while ensuring sustainability and resilience
  • Providing ecosystem services and public goods
  • Empowerment of rural areas, support to policies and rural innovation

Sustainable and competitive agri-food sector for a safe and healthy diet

  • Informed consumer choices
  • Healthy and safe foods and diets for all
  • A sustainable and competitive agri-food industry

Unlocking the potential of aquatic living resources

  • Developing sustainable and environmentally-friendly fisheries
  • Developing competitive European aquaculture
  • Boosting marine innovation through biotechnology

Sustainable and competitive bio-based industries

  • Fostering the bio-economy for bio-based industries
  • Developing integrated biorefineries
  • Supporting market development for bio-based products and processes

Specific implementation actions

3. Energy

Objective: to make the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system, in the face of increasingly scarce resources, increasing energy needs and climate change

Reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint through smart and sustainable usage

  • Bring to mass market technologies and services for a smart and efficient energy use
  • Unlock the potential of efficient and renewable heating-cooling systems
  • Foster European Smart cities and Communities

Low-cost, low-carbon electricity supply

  • Develop the full potential of wind energy
  • Develop efficient, reliable and cost-competitive solar energy systems
  • Develop competitive and environmentally safe technologies for CO2 capture, transport and storage
  • Develop geothermal, hydro, marine and other renewable energy options

Alternative fuels and mobile energy sources

  • Make bio-energy competitive and sustainable
  • Reducing time to market for hydrogen and fuel cells technologies
  • New alternative fuel

A single, smart European electricity grid

New knowledge and technologies

Robust decision making and public engagement

Market uptake of energy innovation, empowering markets and consumers

Specific implementation aspects

4. Transport

Resource efficient transport that respects the environment

  •  Making aircraft, vehicles and vessels cleaner and quieter will improve environmental performance and reduce perceived noise and vibration
  • Developing smart equipment, infrastructures and services
  • Improving transport and mobility in urban areas

Better mobility, less congestion, more safety and security

  • A substantial reduction of traffic congestion
  • Substantial improvements in the mobility of people and freight
  • Developing and applying new concepts of freight transport and logistics
  • Reducing accident rates and fatal casualties and improving security

Global leadership for the European transport industry

  • Developing the next generation of transport means as the way to secure market share in the future
  • On board, smart control systems
  • Advanced production processes
  • Exploring entirely new transport concepts

Socio-economic research and forward looking activities for policy making

Specific implementation aspects

5. Climate action, resources and raw materials

Fighting and adapting to climate change

  • Improve the understanding of climate change and the provision of reliable climate projections
  • Assess impacts, vulnerabilities and develop innovative cost-effective adaptation and risk prevention measures
  • Support mitigation policies

Sustainably managing natural resources and ecosystems

  • Further our understanding of the functioning of ecosystems, their interactions with social systems and their role in sustaining the economy and human well-being
  • Provide knowledge and tools for effective decision making and public engagement

Ensuring the sustainable supply of non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials

  • Improve the knowledge base on the availability of raw materials
  • Promote the sustainable supply and use of raw materials, covering exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and recovery
  • Find alternatives for critical raw materials
  • Improve societal awareness and skills on raw materials

Enabling the transition towards a green economy through eco-innovation

  • Strengthen eco-innovative technologies, processes, services and products and boost their market uptake
  • Support innovative policies and societal changes
  • Measure and assess progress towards a green economy
  • Foster resource efficiency through digital systems

Developing comprehensive and sustained global environmental observation and information systems

Specific implementation aspects

6. Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies

Inclusive societies

  • Promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
  • Building resilient and inclusive societies in Europe
  • Strengthening Europe's role as a global actor
  • Closing the research and innovation divide in Europe

Innovative societies

  • Strengthening the evidence base and support for the Innovation Union and European Research Area
  • Exploring new forms of innovation, including social innovation and creativity
  • Ensuring societal engagement in research and innovation
  • Promoting coherent and effective cooperation with third countries

7. Secure societies

Secure societies

  • Fighting crime and terrorism
  • Strengthening security through border management
  • Providing cyber security
  • Increasing Europe's resilience to crises and disasters
  • Ensuring privacy and freedom in the internet and enhancing the societal dimension of security
  • Specific implementation aspects
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