04.02.2013 - European company and research leaders have urged EU heads to greenlight €80bn for Horizon2020.
The joint letter of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) and European Research Council (ERC) arrived some days before the EU Council will decide over the proposed €80m R&D budget of the EU innovation programme from 2014-2020. „We call on Europe’s leaders to approve the €80bn funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020. This will lay the foundations for growth in Europe“, said ERC chief Helga Nowotny and ERT head Leif Johansson. The stakeholders warned that „any reduction in the funding to support excellent research will result in Europe having limited means to attract outstanding talent in a highly competitive global market.“
The EU heads will meet this week after negotiations of the EU Summit last November failed. A week before Council President Hermann van Rompuy’s initial budget proposal was withdrawn, 44 Nobel laureates had already warned in about the consequences of budget cuts to research and innovation. Over 100,000 Internet users supported their call not to slash the European Research Council (ERC) budget for excellent fundamental research. However, initial ideas discussed by the heads of EU Member States at the end of November foresaw cutting the €80bn innovation programme’s proposed budget by 12% (about €10bn) or more in favour of agriculture and structural funds.
This time, the research lobbyists try to make a stronger case: “Industry has long realised that one of its most precious assets is people“, stressed Nowotny and Johansson. „A continued supply of well-trained scientists and entrepreneurs is essential, especially for SMEs and start-up companies. Europe’s future can only be built on its brains.“
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