Stakeholders and MEPs united in supporting fundamental research
On 8 October, Jan Palmowski, The Guild’s Secretary-General, spoke at a public hearing on Horizon Europe (HEU) at the European Parliament. The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) held the meeting together with other stakeholders and MEPs who shed light on how to maximise HEU’s competitiveness and societal benefits.
“Horizon Europe will fulfil its potential if it strikes a careful balance between research and innovation,” was Palmowski’s starting point, who spoke on the behalf of the university sector at Monday’s hearing. He stressed the importance of scientific excellence as the core principle of the programme and the need to address the participation gap in ways that are consistent with excellence. Dr. Sabine Herlitschka, Chair of ECSEL Joint Undertaking and CEO of Infineon Technologies Austria, echoed this position, stating that “excellence is the basic principle and ambition of everything that we do.”
Palmowski also stated that we must ensure that the EU remains a global leader in producing scientific research, meaning we should increase our investments in fundamental and collaborative research, which has been lacking because of the emphasis given to close-to-market solutions. Prof. Janusz Bujnicki from the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw concurred with this and added that missions should be based on collaborative research, and academics should be well represented in the creation process.
Regarding European R&I, Dominique Guellec, Head of Science and Technology Policy at the OECD, warned that despite the promising plans for HEU, Europe’s global status in science and innovation is already declining. In this context, he recommended that HEU should address strategic issues around governance and the allocation of funds. He stressed the role of the government when it comes to steering science and innovation, although it is currently losing influence.
Dan Nica, the rapporteur for the main regulation of Horizon Europe, welcomed The Guild’s principle about putting the European Research Area first. “It has already achieved a high level of integration and collaboration across Europe, so this is the best way to concentrate on added value for the EU,” said Palmowski.
When we talk about societal needs in Europe, the question of budget allocation in the Social Sciences and Humanities becomes relevant. MEPs agreed again, stating that we must invest more in SSH. Palmowski stressed this point, concluding that “it is also critical that SSH integration is mentioned as a strategic goal of the whole programme.”