Mind the Gap: Supporting excellence across Europe in the 9th Framework Programme
Our commitment to excellence in research and innovation (R&I) must be inclusive: excellence should be fostered and strengthened wherever it exists, in all countries and regions of Europe. This is crucial for the quality and sustainability of European science and to harness the talent and knowledge of citizens. Closing the R&I gap is one of the preconditions for regional growth and prosperity, and for eradicating the economic divide between parts of our continent, which has led to elevated social tensions in the past years.
Therefore, we are calling on EU leaders to honour their commitment to increase R&I spending to 3% of GDP and to tackle the structural causes of uneven performance. The following points summarise our set of recommendations for the ‘Spreading Excellence’ agenda of FP9:
- Ensure synergies between FP9 and the European Structural and Innovation Funds (ESIF), and dedicate a higher proportion of ESIF to R&I.
- Support bottom-up transnational networks, and learn from existing regional initiatives that have the potential for promoting excellence.
- Boost the quality and capacity of European research by investing in early-career researchers.
- Enhance the effectiveness of actions in the existing Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence instrument, which should be renamed ‘Enhancing Collaboration’, and allocate 2.5% of the FP9 budget to it.
- Minimise the risk of biased evaluations of FP9 projects by introducing blind evaluations where appropriate.
The paper will be discussed on 14 March in Ljubljana as part of the conference on ‘Spreading Excellence, Enhancing Synergies: Perspectives from South-Eastern Europe’, hosted jointly by the University of Ljubljana and The Guild. Please contact us if you would like to join us.