Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 25

We therefore urge UK MEPs to support: a reversal in the cuts to Horizon
2020; a formal guarantee that adequate funding in the EFSI is channelled
directly into research and innovation to ensure that money committed to
fund research is not diverted to other purposes; and a prerequisite that
funding to research and innovation projects will be allocated competitively
and on the basis of excellence.
improve the health of people living in Europe.
In response to the European Commission’s
proposal for the EFSI, we are urging UK MEPs
and the UK Government to swiftly and
assertively take steps to protect investment in
Horizon 2020 and so in UK research.
The European Commission proposes to cut
€2.7bn from Horizon 2020 to finance the EFSI.
This equals a cut of 3.5% to an EU programme
that already has one of the smallest budgets,
yet research has a vital part to play in keeping
Europe healthy and competitive. Investment in
the ERC, one of the most important funders
of excellent basic research, the MSCAs,
which support early-career researchers, and
researchers’ access to infrastructure across
Europe would all be cut.
We note the Commission’s intention is for the
EFSI to also fund research projects. However,
there is no formal obligation in place to ensure
money taken from Horizon 2020 is channelled
back into research and innovation, and we are
concerned that many organisations that conduct
research, including universities, research
funders, research performing organisations,
charities and health services, may not be eligible
for EFSI funding under the proposed wording.
There is therefore a real danger of funding
agreed to be for research being diverted to
other purposes.
The EFSI is supposed to be of great benefit to
the real economy. However, research is a
prerequisite for innovation; without research the
pipeline to innovation is cut off. Research must
be publicly funded in an appropriate way, and
any cuts to Horizon 2020 will result in a
performance loss for the whole European
research and innovation system.
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H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
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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 ?
Commission responds
In a Q&A document, the European
Commission responded to some of
the anticipated criticism regarding
the financing of the new European
Fund for Strategic Investments.
“The seed capital for the EFSI, which is
taken from Horizon 2020 to generate
additional investments of at least
€315bn, is not money lost for
innovation. On the contrary, this is
money that will be used to attract much more important sums that
will then be reinvested in innovation, delivering higher returns.
“The redeployment of money from Horizon 2020 to the Investment
Plan represents only 3.5% of the R&I financial envelope. Moreover,
that money will be used for investment in innovative projects with a
higher leverage effect. With the Investment Plan, the overall amount
of investment on innovation mobilised by the EU budget in the next
years will be higher than with Horizon 2020 only.
“Finally, the means in the guarantee fund will be phased in over
time and the payments will be significantly back-loaded. This
means that the spending scheduled for Horizon 2020 in 2015-
2016 will not be affected.
“Excellence in research and the European Research Council is a
top priority for the Union; this is reflected in the ERC’s budget for
2014-2020, which will still represent an increase of over 70%
compared to the 2007-2013 budget … the level of ERC budget
redeployment is lower than redeployment from the global Horizon
2020 budget, 3.5%.
“In 2013, after difficult negotiations, the EU adopted a €1 trillion
multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. The MFF is
divided into headings (e.g. ‘Competitiveness for growth and jobs’).
A transfer of funds between headings requires a change to the MFF
that can only be decided by unanimity among EU member states.
Such a change would necessitate a complex and time consuming
negotiation, the outcome of which would be uncertain.”
In a separate open
letter to Jean-Claude
Juncker, the president
of the Royal Society,
Sir Paul Nurse, has
expressed his
“considerable
concern” over the
plans to “raid the
budget of … Horizon
2020 in order to
support the EFSI”
©XavierHäpe
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