Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 24

economy and society whereby research and
innovation are key drivers of economic growth
and job creation.
The adoption of Horizon 2020 in 2013 was
seen as a strong signal regarding the long term
commitment of Europe towards supporting the
knowledge society. Therefore, it is hard to
understand that now, if implemented, the EFSI
will redeploy 3.5% of the Horizon 2020 budget
(€2.7bn), with the largest proportion taken from
the EIT budget.
The EIT is increasingly successful in making a
reality of the knowledge triangle of education,
research and innovation, and it contributes
to a more innovative Europe, fostering
entrepreneurship and start-ups. The proposal
to reduce the EIT’s budget seriously endangers
its further development. Other areas of
CESAER’s specific concerns are the Excellent
Science and Societal Challenges pillars and, in
particular, the MSCAs.
Karel Luyben, president of CESAER, says: “The
Commission proposal comes at a time when
first results of Horizon 2020 clearly show the big
interest and the positive response the
programme finds among European researchers,
which by far exceeds the expectations and
forecasts. The proposed budget cut would send
a very disappointing message to researchers
and innovators across Europe. Whereas the EFSI
should allow a further strengthening of the
innovative capacities, the proposed budget cut
would, in contrast, weaken the attractiveness of
the EU as a thriving location for research
and innovation.”
It has to be ensured that future projects
selected to be funded by the EFSI will have a
strong research and innovation component.
Therefore, CESAER requests that in the relevant
decision taking bodies, independent experts for
research and innovation will have a say.
The Royal Society, the Wellcome
Trust, Universities UK, the Academy
of Medical Sciences, the
Association of Medical Research
Charities, Cancer Research UK, UK
HE International Unit, GuildHE and
Parkinson’s UK
Europe needs long term, reliable and adequate
funding for excellent research by the EU to
deliver sustainable growth and jobs and
efforts to address the investment gap. Therefore, we have welcomed the
principal goal of the initiative to support projects in key areas such as
infrastructure, education, research and innovation. However, such efforts
must not come at the expense of university research. As the ‘voice of
European universities’ representing 850 institutions, we are deeply
disappointed as it has become clear that Horizon 2020 funds will make
up a third of the €8bn channelled for the EFSI.
In particular, the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie
Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and the EIT, core components of the
EU research policy, would be heavily hit over the whole period. The
European Commission expects that the leverage effect of the EFSI will
result in more funds being channelled, indirectly, into research and
innovation. However, this is an uncertain gain, while the €2.7bn cut in
Horizon 2020 would be a real loss for Europe’s universities. We are
deeply concerned that universities, key research stakeholders, would be
disadvantaged in the selection of exclusively ‘market-oriented and
demand-driven’ projects.
The steering board of the EFSI, composed of representatives of the
European Commission and the European Investment Bank, is expected
to prepare ‘investment guidelines’ determining precisely the types of
projects to be considered for funding under this mechanism. The lack of
scientific oversight in the management of the fund is a related worry,
with no role foreseen for scientific advice in the project selection.
The EUA therefore calls on the Commission to include the expertise of
university researchers in the steering group and on legislators to oppose
the removal of funds from the Excellent Science pillar of Horizon 2020
in particular.
Conference of European Schools for Advanced
Engineering Education and Research (CESAER)
CESAER, the association of 50 leading European universities of science
and technology, is seriously worried by the European Commission proposal
for the EFSI, as published on 13 January 2015. CESAER supports all
reasonable measures promoting a positive development of the European
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
24
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 ?
Also facing a
significant funding
reduction is the
European Institute
of Innovation
and Technology
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