Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 22

The main concern, however, which arises not
from the EFSI itself but from the proposed way
of financing it, is that the benefits could be
undermined by the negative long term impact
of reducing the EU funding for scientific
research and particularly the funding for
fundamental research in Horizon 2020.
By cutting €2.7bn from the Horizon 2020
budget to finance the EFSI, the private sector
would be deprived of resources just as vital
as capital. Such resources are the steady
supply of new knowledge, trained and highly
skilled knowledge workers and, more
importantly, Europe’s ability to sustain an
attractive and competitive innovation
ecosystem for large enterprises, SMEs,
spin-offs, top laboratories, sophisticated
technology markets and consumers.
Plainly put, it means fewer projects funded in
some key parts of Horizon 2020. The fact that
the Excellent Science pillar is being tapped into
means less funding for universities and
research centres all over Europe to carry out
world-class fundamental science, less training
for promising young researchers, and a
severely decreased ability to attract the best
scientists in their fields to Europe. The plan
foresees cutting roughly €200m from the
budget of the European Research Council,
which would amount to between 50 and 80
fewer grants, thus cutting what has been one
of the most successful recent programmes for
top science in the world.
Beyond the negative impact on the available
funding from Horizon 2020, these cuts also
send the absolute worst message to national
governments, namely that the EU is telling the
world that it is fine to reduce research
spending. Such concerns can be rectified by
not cutting the EU research budget.
Clearly, unlike other areas of EU activity, science
is not regarded as a ‘sacred cow’ that should
he European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe sees the
creation of the new European Fund for Strategic Investments.
The €21bn EFSI will be funded with money from the
Commission’s current budget (€16bn), as well as the European
Investment Bank (€5bn), a move allowing the EFSI to unlock additional
investment of at least €315bn over the next three years.
The Commission’s contribution to the EFSI includes a 50% guarantee
and controversially includes money drawn from the current budget of
the Connecting Europe Facility (€3.3bn) and Horizon 2020 (€2.7bn), as
well as existing budgetary margins (€2bn).
The removal of funding from Horizon 2020, the EU’s €78.6bn research
and innovation framework programme, has particularly worried the
European research community. Gathering thoughts from across the
continent, Portal carries the statements and concerns of leading
scientific organisations.
Science Europe
Europe needs the ability to leverage private investment to revitalise its
business sector, as well as public spending in scientific research and the
basic knowledge infrastructure. It needs both of these, rather than one
at the expense of the other; no economist will tell you otherwise. The key
benefit that the EFSI promises to provide is a more enterprising private
sector due to the availability of capital. The proposed architecture of the
plan would allow the investments to be steered towards more innovation.
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : A N I N V E S T M E N T P L A N F O R E U R O P E ?
Battle for funding
investigates the concerns of the European scientific community
following the announcement that Horizon 2020 will see substantial cuts due to
financing for a new investment fund
The blue sky funding
organisation, the
European Research
Council, faces
budgetary cuts of
over €200m
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