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Brussels backs EUA’s call for ambitious research funding

01 June 2017

New milestones were reached in Brussels this Spring, prior to the next Framework Programme for Research & Innovation, and discussions were held on shaping the next EU funding period (2021-2028).

The assessment phase of the first half of Horizon 2020 is being concluded with the release of the European Commission’s interim evaluation and the adoption by the European Parliament of a resolution on the implementation of the programme. Both policy making bodies insist that Horizon 2020 remains largely underfunded and therefore is not able to meet the rising tide of excellent proposals submitted by the scientific community. These statements not only echo EUA’s concerns on the lack of efficiency of the programme, but also take into consideration EUA’s estimates of ‘hidden’ costs in submitting proposals. This is a step in the right direction, as there is growing recognition of the financial waste at all levels (European, national and institutional) and missed scientific opportunities to address the crucial challenges being faced by the EU. 

The European Parliament’s resolution, largely supported across political groups, and the latest EUA position paper also share a series of recommendations, including a careful balance between Technology Readiness Levels, a simplified and streamlined management of the programme, and the need to retain a primarily grant-based programme, with a limited use of other financial instruments. Importantly, the Parliament, when adopting the resolution, will call not only for ending cuts to the programme, but also for a significant budget increase in the post-2020 programme, so as to meet the identified challenges and shortcomings.

The Commission’s newly released draft EU budget for 2018 ‘preserves’ allocations for Horizon 2020 as well as Erasmus+, with budget increases linked to the establishment of the European Innovation Council. The forecasted extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) scheme is financed from budget margins and does not result in reduced allocations for EU-funded research. The Parliament also agreed in committee on its position on the revision of the financial regulation, which sets out the rules for EU funding programmes, and in setting the scene for the next funding period.

EUA’s membership consultation on Horizon 2020 provided important feedback into the Association’s advocacy, based on its vision for FP9, and ultimately in the political process in Brussels. EUA will continue intensifying its efforts with the aim of securing a strong commitment from the EU institutions towards Europe’s universities.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96