05.05.2017 change 05.05.2017

Poland wants our scientists to get more money from the EU

Poland wants scientists from our country and other so-called new EU countries to receive more funding from the EU research and innovation funding program. Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin will lobby on this issue on Tuesday in Brussels.

The diagnosis has been known for quite a while - scientists from the so-called new EU Member States, those that joined the community in 2004 or later, can only count on a small percentage of the funds distributed in the Horizon 2020 programme.

Data from the European Commission show that so far Polish project participants have received less than 1 percent funds (exactly 0.96 percent). EU-wide, the 13 countries that joined the EU in 2004 or later have received 4.79% funding. A small consolation may be the fact that Poland received almost one fifth of these funds distributed to the so-called new Member States.

"Horizon 2020" is the largest EU support program for research and innovation. Its goal is to increase the number of discoveries, support the transfer of innovation from laboratories to the business environment. All this is meant to help move the EU economy to innovative tracks. The "28" estimated that over the seven-year budget for 2014-2020, the EU would spend more than 77 billion euros.

Although there is still some time left until the end of the current financial perspective, the European Commission has already begun internal work on the successor of Horizon 2020. Poland wants to use this opportunity and present its arguments to officials in Brussels at an early stage.

On Tuesday, head of the Ministry of Science Jarosław Gowin will discuss this matter with the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas. Deputy Prime Minister will also lobby on the issue among the representatives of the European Parliament.

According to PAP information from Polish diplomatic sources in Brussels, the main postulate of our country is to increase the participation of scientists from new countries who benefit from the program. We also want to open the currently closed networks of institutions and researchers who are beneficiaries of Horizon 2020.

Scientists from Poland, Slovakia or Croatia can only jealously watch how their colleagues from Western countries participate in various Horizon projects. The networks they have created help them successfully apply for funding, but the fact that these forums are closed makes it difficult for other researchers to seek support.

"Over the years, these clubs have closed their doors, and the same research units participate in the projects, the same scientists who already know each other, which makes it easier for them to build consortia" - emphasized the diplomat in an interview with PAP.

One of the ideas for helping researchers from the "new" member states to participate more in Horizon 2020 is to include them in the detailed evaluation criteria of the programme. The idea is that a proposal, which envisages participation of researchers, for example, from Poland or Lithuania in an activity, should receive additional points.

Another idea is to reward the use of research infrastructures that have been financed by the Structural Funds. The effect in both measures would be the same, because such infrastructures were built mainly in countries that joined the EU in 2004 and later.

"Our researchers would gain experience and become acquainted with partners from other countries" concluded the diplomat.

But Poland does not stop at proposals for changes in Horizon, which would be beneficial from the point of view of the "new" EU countries. Another idea is to change the evaluation of the proposals so that the criteria are the same for everyone.

The European Commission wants to present the proposal for a future framework program by the end of 2017, and the legal process is expected to be formally launched in the spring of 2018. However, even before the summer holidays, a public consultation on this issue will be launched to help answer the question of the desired direction of modifications.

From Brussels Krzysztof Strzępka (PAP)

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