During his speech in the Parliament in Strasbourg on 14 March, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker advocated for doubling the seven-year spending on research from €77 billion to €160 billion after 2020 so that “the EU would become one of the world’s leading players in research and innovation”. A similar call has been made by a large coalition of universities.
Considering the loss of the UK’s €12 billion annual contribution to research budget after Brexit, it may be challenging to reach Juncker’s target of €160 billion. The previous target floated by the European Parliament for Framework Programme 9 (FP9) was €120 billion.
In this regard, the Science and Technology Select Committee of the House of Commons has addressed its concerns of the UK’s commitment to FP9. The Committee believes that a greater deal should be placed on research and science during the Brexit negotiations: “Producing an early agreement on science and innovation would set a positive tone for the rest of the Brexit negotiations, and should be a clear ‘win-win’ for both the UK and the EU. […] Given the significance of science and innovation to the UK economy, reaching an agreement on this should now be as important to the Government as the question of security. It must be stripped out from the wider trade negotiations for focused attention, rather than become a knock-on consequence of other negotiations or traded against other aspects of a post-Brexit deal.”
The Commission is due to present its full proposal for the 2021-2028 budget in May.
Should you be interested in reading the recommendations issued by the Science and Technology Select Committee of the House of Commons, the full report can be found here.