15 European university associations called on European leaders to step up investment in research and innovation

On 14 July 2020, 15 European university associations, representing more than 800 universities, called on European leaders to step up investment in research and innovation. The investment should be ensured through the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and a new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU.

European universities welcome the EU’s approach to embark on a sustainable recovery path, supported by an ambitious and unprecedented effort to become a frontrunner in addressing the green and digital transitions. They recall that research and innovation are key building blocks to facilitate the necessary progress of the EU towards sustainability and resilience.

The statement expresses disappointment and concerns over the limited budget proposed for the EU’s flagship programme Horizon Europe. The main concerns as the consequences of a lack of EU financial contributions are the following:

  • The current Horizon Europe proposal falls far too short of the €120 billion that the European Parliament and the university community considered necessary even before the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • A budget cut of more than 3% (compared to the 2018 Commission proposal) for vital instruments, such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and the European Research Council, would hamper efforts towards strategic resilience.

Europe’s universities also take the opportunity to make six recommendations calling on EU leaders to step up investment in research and innovation (R&I) and to:

  • ensure that the funding programmes support science in all areas;
  • encourage and facilitate collaboration across disciplines;
  • foster timely association of interested non-EU countries to Horizon Europe;
  • recognise the long-term benefit of strengthening investigator-driven frontier research to achieve a proper balance of bottom-up and top-down approaches, throughout Horizon Europe;
  • recommend that the funds dedicated to R&I within Next Generation EU address holistically all challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis through the same balanced approach;
  • call for a commitment to new and reinforced targets for the proportion of GDP invested in R&I, both for public and private funding.

The more than 800 European universities that are represented by these 15 associations emphasize that Europe will contribute best to the common recovery and societal resilience if there are more synergies across research, innovation and education policies and funding programmes, and coordinated efforts between funders at European, national and regional levels.

Further information on https://www.eua.eu/downloads/assignments/seizeourcommonfuture_05112019.pdf and https://www.the-guild.eu/news/2020/euinvestinknowledge.pdf

Date: 29/07/2020 | Tag: | News: 1105 of 1573
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