MEPs voted today to approve the EU's new science programme, Horizon 2020, which will invest almost £60 billion in research and innovation over the next seven years.
Alec Dauncey, Welsh Liberal Democrat European candidate, commented:
"This is an exciting time for the research community and for businesses up and down the country. Liberal Democrats have ensured that over £2.3 billion will be allocated to small innovative businesses, which provide the key to creating new skilled jobs and rebalancing the economy. We also pushed for simpler rules to reduce administrative costs and make it easier for smaller firms to apply for funding.
"Britain's world-beating universities and research centres take part in more EU-funded research projects than any other country in Europe, but we need to make sure that Wales gets a fair slice of the pie. This £60 billion package will ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of developing the technologies of the future, from discovering cures to deadly diseases to pioneering new forms of low-cost, sustainable transport and energy.
"The world faces some huge challenges like climate change and food security. Researchers, businesses and countries need to work together, across borders to make the most of skills and business knowledge. It's obvious to me that in the face of emerging giants like China and Brazil, Europe as a whole needs to get itself organised. There will be many opportunities for researchers and businesses in Wales as a result.
Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Minister added:
"Wales' future economy depends on innovation happening now. We are great beneficiaries from European research funding, which helps everything from blue skies research to knowledge- transfer.
"This decision will benefit us now and into the future. It's another great example of our gains from being in the EU. I am particularly pleased that small businesses will benefit. Small businesses make a bigger relative contribution to GVA and employment in Wales than the UK as a whole. Therefore the change in focus gives us the best possible chance to take advantage of this funding."