26 November 2014
The League of European Research Universities (LERU) has taken note of the Juncker Investment Package, as presented this morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
LERU fully shares the EC's goals of job creation, innovation and growth. However, LERU regrets that money from Horizon 2020, the EU's successful research and innovation programme, will be diverted to the European Fund for Strategic Investment (within the European Investment Bank), for a vague and highly uncertain project.
In the midst of 2014/2015 EU budget discussions between the EU institutions, which are already very threatening for Horizon 2020 and its awarded budget, this is a new subversion of the most important EU funding source for research and innovation.
It should be clear for the EU institutions and the member states that Horizon 2020 is not a lemon which can be squeezed according to the flavour of the day!
Flashback to 2012: the EU proudly announces the approval of its Multi Annual Financial Framework, MFF, thus securing a 70+ billion euro budget for Horizon 2020, despite efforts of Member States "not to waste any longer so much money on research". Since then there has been one attack after the other on the Horizon 2020 budget. This must stop!
If not, let us stop the daily rhetoric about the importance of research and innovation for Europe's 21st century knowledge society! If we really want to realise a European Research Area, with effective and efficient research (funding) systems, also at EU level, we cannot afford an ill conceived policy which undermines the essential building blocks of the EU R&I policy.
Money diverted from Horizon 2020 could in theory lead to more private R&I investments and outcomes. In practice however we all know this is unlikely to happen, as money will be diverted to quick win projects that may please politicians and citizens but that will not invest in Europe's future. If we want to survive as a forward looking continent, we must invest in research, innovation and technology.
Prof Kurt Deketelaere, LERU's Secretary-General, states : "Let's stick with the Horizon 2020 budget, which we all welcomed in 2012, let's make sure that this is guaranteed and awarded, and let's avoid any kind of fairytale diversions".