Academy expresses concern over threats to Horizon 2020 funds

The Academy has signed a joint letter to UK MEPs urging European policy makers to consider the risks of withdrawing research funds from Horizon 2020 to finance the new European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). The letter stresses that Europe needs long-term, reliable and adequate funding for excellent research – to deliver sustainable growth and jobs, and to improve the health of people living in Europe.

The proposed cut of €2.7 billion threatens key elements of the Horizon 2020 structure, including the European Research Council. While the Commission has said it intends to fund research through the EFSI, there is no formal obligation to channel equivalent money back into the sector. It is also not clear that the current EFSI proposals will allow research organisations to access the funds.

The letter urges UK MEPs and the UK Government to take swift and assertive steps to ensure that support for research and innovation at the European level is protected, and in turn promoting the future of excellent research across the EU.

Extensive negotiation across Member States established Horizon 2020 with a budget of almost €80 billion, allocated across a balanced portfolio of investments from 2014-2020. This made the programme the largest EU Research and Innovation programme to date, supporting Europe's global competitiveness. The EFSI was launched in late 2014, and tasked with disbursing an initial budget of €21 billion to fuel growth and employment opportunities, as well as leveraging private investment towards these same objectives.

The full list of co-signing organisations is as follows:

  • Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Cancer Research UK
  • GuildHE
  • UK Higher Education International Unit
  • Parkinson’s UK
  • The Royal Society
  • Universities UK
  • The Wellcome Trust


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