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Science Europe also wants more information on dual-use plans

Image: European Space Agency

Association of research funding and performing organisations calls for careful consideration of option impacts

Science Europe, the association of major research funding and performing organisations, has added its voice to those calling on the European Commission to provide more detail on its proposals for how the EU could better support research that has both civil and military potential.

Earlier this year, the Commission suggested three options, one of which was that the EU could build on its current approach of banning military applications of such dual-use research from being funded via the bloc’s main research and innovation programme, while seeking more synergies between that programme and the dedicated military R&I programme, the European Defence Fund. The other two options were removing the ban and creating a dedicated instrument for funding dual-use research.

It consulted the research sector on the suggestions, and while several organisations have endorsed the first option, others have said they need more information to reach an opinion. Now Science Europe has joined the latter group.

Careful consideration needed

Science Europe said it hoped the Commission would “provide more information on the possible implications of each option (both policy- and budget-wise), possibly generate others [and] organise further discussions on the topic with stakeholders”.

But it provided some initial input while awaiting the outcome of discussions among its member organisations.

It said that, whichever option is chosen, a case-by-case approach to each research project with dual-use potential would be beneficial, and that the Commission should provide more guidance to help researchers assess whether their work has military potential.

“Careful consideration” is needed of the implications for international collaboration of opening up the main EU R&I programme to dual-use research, and adequate funding for basic research “must be safeguarded at all costs”.

The EU should also invest in peace research alongside military research, the association said.