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EU research funding in jeopardy: Emerging research and financial policy in Europe

In April 2005, the European Commission published proposals for the new Seventh Framework Programme for research (2007-2013) that included a doubling of the budget in comparison to the current programme.  This proposal is now in jeopardy as the new Financial Perspective for the European Union 2007-2013 drastically cuts proposed funding for the Seventh Framework Programme. The June European Council meeting did not approve the Financial perspective and is due to readdress the whole of the financial package as soon as possible.

The Council: On 7 June, Luxembourg Education Minister François Biltgen stressed that "if the compromise currently supported by the Luxembourg Presidency on the financial perspectives is accepted, there will be an increase of between 31% and 55% in funds allocated to research in comparison with the Sixth Framework Programme. Whatever happens, there will be more financial resources for research."

EURAB: The European Research Advisory Board, is an independent body advising the Commissioner for Research. Its 45 members coming from academia and industry consider it of utmost importance at this crucial moment in time to raise public and political awareness in member states to actively support the proposal of the European Commission for a more significant increase in budget for the Seventh Framework Programme. EURAB notes that if funding is reduced, “it would be a severe blow to the goal of knowledge-based growth and hamper employment which is desperately needed. The consequences for research and innovation in Europe would be dismal.” The Board urges stakeholders to take immediate action:

  • “The research community in Europe, whether working in academia or industry, need to join forces with national and European research organisations, academies of sciences, associations of universities and national and European industrial organisations. We urge all of you to take appropriate action – by writing and approaching the Prime Minister, Ministers responsible for science, research, trade and industry and Ministers of Finance.
  • Whatever the outcome of the discussions on the total budget for the Union may be, the budget for research and innovation as proposed in the 7th framework programme should be maintained as being of vital importance for the future of Europe.”

The budget size was proposed by the Commission in line with its commitments to build a European knowledge society and to enable the creation of new instruments such as a European Research Council. 

Luxembourg Presidency Press release: Competitiveness Council: orientation debate on the Seventh Framework Programme for research Commission press release - EU research – Building Knowledge Europe: The EU’s new Research Framework Programme 2007-2013 June European Council EUA Press release EURAB Recommendation on The Financial Perspective for Framework Programme 7