Today, more than 800 universities call on European leaders to step up investment in these areas, both in the EU’s multiannual budget from 2021 to 2027, and in the Next Generation EU fund facilitating Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Guild and 15 other university associations are deeply concerned with the proposed cuts to the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation Horizon Europe, ahead of the European Council on 17-18 July. The current pandemic has demonstrated in an unprecedented way the urgency of increasing investment in science, which should be empowered to find means to stop the current crisis and help us prevent, pre-empt and manage future ones.
Even before the coronavirus crisis started, several Member States expressed their commitment to prioritise investments in research, education and innovation as part of the EU’s budget. These areas are crucial for building a more resilient, knowledge-driven Europe that proactively invests in the well-being of citizens. It is now more important than ever to translate this ambition into concrete increases in investment. Together with the European Parliament, the university sector has called for the budget of Horizon Europe to be increased to at least €120bn for the next seven years.
The proposed cuts to Horizon Europe are particularly worrying, as instruments such as the European Research Council and the Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions are facing reductions in their budgets despite playing an irreplaceable role in supporting world-class science in Europe. Support for fundamental research needs to be boosted as a matter of urgency, as part of a general budget increase for Horizon Europe.
Read the full statement of the 16 university associations here.