Research universities warn goverments’ EU budget plan would ‘trigger a worrying trend’
The EU must make sure enough funding from its 2021-27 R&D programme, Horizon Europe, goes towards bottom-up, curiosity-driven research, a university group has said.
Member state governments want the programme to have a budget of just €80.9 billion, down from the €94.4bn proposed by the European Commission in May and far below the €120bn sought by the Parliament and many research organisations.
“Stagnating investments to research and innovation…present a huge setback when Europe’s recovery and competitiveness rely on its knowledge base more than ever,” the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities said on 11 September, referring to the economic and social recovery from Covid-19.
“This stagnation would trigger a worrying trend at the time when the EU is still falling short of the goal of investing 3 per cent of [its] GDP in research and innovation.”
The group said ‘excellent science’ has been allocated just 27 per cent of the programme’s overall budget, compared with 31 per cent in the current programme. This is despite the fact that applications to the European Research Council, which falls under excellent science, are oversubscribed.
The Guild suggested some of the €5 billion set aside for R&D from the EU Covid-19 recovery fund could go to excellent science, when investigators’ proposals are likely to aid EU recovery efforts.