The Guild affirms the key priorities that should be addressed as part of the ongoing legislative work leading to the establishment of the EU’s new framework programme for research and innovation. As Horizon Europe’s success depends on the contributions and commitment of leading scientists, Guild universities present the following priorities to decision-makers at the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission:
1. We welcome the EU institutions’ emerging support for a better balance between research and innovation in Horizon Europe, as well as the goal to cover all technology readiness levels (TRLs). This principle should now be translated into concrete measures that can be implemented in practice. This can be done by guaranteeing prominent opportunities for collaborative research in the Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness pillar and by securing an increased budget for the Open Science pillar.
2. Horizon Europe should first and foremost focus on supporting the best talent in research and innovation and achieve added value through collaboration between the actors that present the most cutting-edge ideas in their project proposals. The Guild is against any measures undermining this goal as the primary objective of the programme, which would change Horizon Europe’s focus and character. At the same time, it is in the interests of Horizon Europe to attract talent from all over Europe, and promote itself to excellent researchers and innovators that haven’t yet engaged with its instruments.
3. Establishing a strong and structured role for leading scientists to feed into the Strategic Programming process that will outline key priorities for Horizon Europe is essential. Political agendas have to be combined with the latest knowledge on the progress achieved in different fields of research, otherwise Horizon Europe will lose its role in attracting the best research teams to take part in the programme. Scientific advice has to have a sustained role in the process through renewed Advisory Groups of high-level experts, which cannot be replaced by opportunities provided by public consultations alone. This is also important with regard to the writing of the annual work programmes of Horizon Europe.
4. To strengthen the European Research Area, Horizon Europe should build on strong association agreements with non-EU Member States without limitations to their association. Their participation will increase the prestige and quality of the programme, and help make the European Research Area become more competitive.
5. To maintain the programme’s scientific leadership on a global scale, Horizon Europe’s ability to attract international talent and support projects with a global outreach should be secured. The Guild supports bringing down barriers for third country participants from all over the world to join consortia supported by Horizon Europe. Global challenges related to climate change, security and health know no boundaries. Horizon Europe will only be stronger with the collaborative contribution of international partners.