EU-LIFE statement on EC's proposal of the Horizon Europe

EU-LIFE urges the European Parliament and the EU Council to push for a strong Horizon Europe

EU-LIFE, the alliance of 13 leading Life Science Research Institutes in Europe welcomes the European Commission’s proposal on Horizon Europe and urges the European Parliament and the EU Council to make a few changes in order to ensure a stronger 9th Framework Programme for Research & Innovation that addresses urgent issues in Europe and the world.

While welcoming and supporting the overall concept of the EC proposal, namely its structure and aim for simplification and integration, EU-LIFE is concerned about the unambitious investment proposed. It is clear from studies on previous Framework Programmes that every Euro spent on Research & Innovation will generate roughly five-fold the investment in economic benefit, as well as improving social, health and environmental standards. The economic productivity of tomorrow depends on the discoveries of today. Therefore, the prioritisation of Research & Innovation in Europe is critical for the future of Europe. This must be reflected in EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework through an increase in the Horizon Europe budget  as recommended by the Lamy report and in an earlier EU-LIFE position paper.

Besides ensuring the application of innovative ideas in fields of pressing political need, we note that the future of Europe's technology and science requires sufficient support for creative, question driven research that does not have direct application.  We note that discoveries like CRISPR or Quantum computing, while immensely useful in medicine and informatics, respectively, arose from open-ended, investigator-driven projects. We encourage Horizon Europe to expand the extremely successful programmes it has initiated, namely the ERC grant system and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, in addition to  collaborative projects that address technological and environmental  challenges facing our society today. These actions attract and foster the best and brightest minds, and encourage ground-breaking research that will ensure Europe’s leadership in technological and biomedical innovation in the future.

EU-LIFE would like to support the statement released by 14 university organizations that makes key recommendations for the EC’s Horizon Europe proposal. These are: an increase in  total budget, and continued high investment in investigator-driven, open-ended research, as the means to ensure innovation and productivity in the future. Center to all pillars is the creation of a European Research Area, that allows full integration of research, innovation and education throughout Europe.

In Horizon Europe a new action called Missions is defined. EU-LIFE welcomes this initiative and urges the EC to involve scientists and innovators in preparing the program and in selecting, monitoring, and evaluating Missions, to avoid unrealistic missions that could erode the trust of society in science and Europe.

EU-LIFE is and will continue to be available to work with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States on the specific strategic programming of Horizon Europe. 

19th June 2018

Download the statement here: