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EU Competitiveness Council echoes EUA recommendations for the Next Framework Programme

14 December 2017

The EU Competitiveness Council convened on 1 December 2017 and made a forceful commitment to the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. EUA welcomes the Council’s conclusions as they were very much in line with proposals presented in the Association’s recently published recommendations. However, EUA calls on the Council to take a deeper look at several matters that need to be addressed to make the next Framework Programmea powerful successor to Horizon 2020.

While EUA is pleased that the Competitiveness Council renewed its commitment to the Europe 2020 target of 3% of GDP invested in R&D annually, it regrets that it did not propose a concrete figure for the Framework Programme budget. Stakeholders agree that underfunding is responsible for a decrease in the overall efficiency of the Framework Programme and of the entire EU research funding landscape.

“The next Framework Programme does not simply need ‘significant funds’ as set out by the Council, rather a substantial increase of its total budget”, says EUA Vice-President Martine Rahier.

Furthermore, the Council recognised the fundamental role of human talent in boosting European competitiveness. Universities have a unique institutional profile as they educate and supply highly-skilled graduates to all sectors of the economy and perform ground-breaking research. However, to fully capitalise on these assets, linkages between education, research and innovation must be increased at the policy level, as EUA stressed in its FP9 recommendations.

“It is important to bear in mind that excellent research must be at the heart of the Framework Programme,” emphasises Rahier. “It provides the bedrock of education and future innovation.”

The Council also highlighted research and innovation collaboration at the EU level as “a very successful example of European cooperation and integration” and further underlined “cooperation, excellence and openness” as fundamental principles of the next Framework Programme. These tenets also echo EUA’s recommendations 

For more on the Competitiveness Council’s conclusions addressing long-term policies and funding instruments for research, among other things, read EUA's full analysis.

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