Fraunhofer, Europe's largest organisation for applied research, has proposed a list of six research “missions” to give the EU’s next research programme greater impact through more targeted and result-driven allocation of funding.
The European Commission is expected to incorporate goal-oriented missions into its 2021-2027 research plan, Framework Programme 9. As a result, several groups have been proposing possible missions. Fraunhofer’s suggestions aim to solve both technological and societal challenges, from big data and personalised medicine to mobility and health.
1. Data sovereignty for the European citizen
Fraunhofer wants to enable European citizens to “attain full sovereignty over their personal data shared in the digital world across borders, systems and organisations” through a “standardised, decentralised and federated personal data space.”
2. The European Haplobank – enabling cell-based therapy for every European citizen
By achieving this mission, Fraunhofer hopes that every European citizen will have “access to the most advanced cell-based therapies”, which will drive down the cost of healthcare. “Newly developed cell-based therapies will be directly available for the patients without long-lasting or burdensome preparation.”
3. Circular products made in Europe: Certified!
Europe’s dependency on raw materials and scarce resources, and the negative impact of production on the environment, could be mitigated with less resource-intensive and more sustainable products. “The ultimate goal is to transform Europe into a true circular economy, where waste is eliminated by design and negative impacts are minimised to the greatest possible extent.”
4. Fully autonomous and zero-emission driving between main European cities by 2030
By 2030, “at least one city of each EU member state shall be ready to enable autonomous driving in the city and be linked to at least one other city in Europe.”
5. Reduce the burden of anti-microbial resistance
By 2050, anti-microbial resistance has the potential to become a more common cause of death than cancer, but Franhofer thinks the EU should aim to turn this trend around by 2040. This mission should “systematically build on interdisciplinary approaches that include digital innovations along the entire cycle from prevention, diagnostic, therapy to care.”
6. Citizen science for safe and healthy food
“Together with European citizens, we want to make the switch towards sustainable, environmentally-friendly and resource-saving food production in Europe by 2030.”