13.07.2017 change 13.07.2017

Scientists want the EU to double science funding after 2020

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

A group of scientists called on the European Union to invest more in research and development. Experts want the budget of the successor of the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 to be doubled - to 160 billion euros.

Horizon 2020 is the largest research and innovation funding programme in the history of the European Union. Its budget for the years 2014-2020 is nearly 80 billion euros. The aim of the programme is to create a coherent system for financing innovation: from the scientific concept, through the research stage to the implementation of new solutions, products or technologies.

"Research and innovation make a big difference to enhancing productivity, boosting competitiveness and tangibly improving our quality of life. (...) We need to better reap the benefits of this knowledge by turning it into value for economy and society through innovation" - EU research and innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas said at the conference, which presented a report prepared for the European Commission by a group of scientists.

The expert group that prepared the document was chaired by former WTO head and European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, head of the Jacques Delors Institute. At the conference, he argued that Europeans are good at investing in science but not good enough to make money through these investments. This is also the main message of the report: the EU needs to learn how to capitalize knowledge and convert innovation into economic growth. Over the past 20 years, two thirds of economic growth in industrialized economies has been the result of research and innovation.

The report shows that the EU spends 50% less on research and development than South Korea, taking into account a percentage of GDP - 2.03%. (4.23 percent in South Korea). For comparison, Japan allocates 3.49 GDP percent for this purpose, USA - 2.79% and China - 2.07%.

Researchers argue that research and innovation should be given priority in EU and national budgets, and that the budget of the successor of EU\'s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 should be doubled. This is one of the eleven recommendations contained in the document addressed to the European Union decision makers.

Other recommendations include creating a EU innovation strategy, educating people who may have the greatest impact on innovation in Europe, rationalising EU spending on research (by eliminating numerous support instruments to strengthen the most effective instruments), increasing the cooperation between the science sector and citizens in creating innovation and improving cooperation between EU countries in research and development of new technologies.

The group of experts who wrote the report was set up in December 2016 to advise the European Commission on how to invest in science. It is composed of representatives of universities, research institutions and companies. There is also a Polish representative - Prof. Lucyna Woźniak, Vice-Rector for Science and International Cooperation of the Medical University of Lodz.

From Brussels Łukasz Osiński (PAP)

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