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Substantial European Union (EU) funding for research into paints, coatings and related disciplines such as nanotechnology has been guaranteed until 2020, with an EU budget deal assuring the continuation of the planned Horizon 2020 research programme.
Heads of government agreed at a European Council ending February 8 that while the overall EU budget for 2014-20 should fall by 3%, Horizon 2020 should be protected because it is likely to promote economic growth.
As a result, said an agreed communiqué "the funding for Horizon 2020…will represent a real growth compared to 2013 level”. And, while that might not guarantee current plans for the programme to spend €80bn from 2014-20, it will mean it spends more than the €53.2bn spent by the EU’s outgoing Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) on research. It added that "particular attention will be paid to the co-ordination of activities funded through Horizon 2020 with those supported under other EU programmes, including through cohesion [regional development] policy”. The aim here is to boost regional R&D capacity and the ability of poorer regions to develop innovation excellence.
The FP7 has consistently funded ground-breaking research into coatings and Horizon 2020 is expected to continue this work. For instance, the European Commission recently reported on positive results from the EU-funded ‘Multiscale modelling for multilayered surface systems’ (M3-2S) project. Its scientists have developed a modelling tool to streamline the design of multilayered coatings, increasing quality and reliability.
And it has also welcomed the results of another, the Applicma project, which has developed new complex metal alloy (CMA)-based coatings, which can be extremely tough but have been difficult to manufacture.
- Elsewhere in the EU, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has launched a web-based forum where coatings companies working on classifying and labelling same chemicals under the EU’s REACH chemical control system can co-ordinate their efforts. See http://echa.europa.eu/information-on-chemicals/cl-inventory/cl-platform
ECHA is also asking coatings and paint organisations to help its work in preparing the industry to cope with the new EU biocidal products regulation, in operation from this September. Participation could include attending meetings of the ECHA biocidal products committee, HelpNet, scientific consultations and helping update guidance documents, said the agency.