European Parliament calls for higher research spending
By Ingemar Pongratz
The preparations for the successor of the European Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme is currently ongoing and one of the key issues are of course the future budget of the new Framework Programme Horizon Europe.
Recently, the European Parliament debated the future of the Horizon Europe programme as well as the funding for other European funding schemes such as Life+, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and other schemes. In fact, the European Parliament voted to increase research spending in Europe to ensure that research spending is at 2% of the GDP.
Using this level the European Parliament voted to ensure that funding for the different programmes would be:
- Horizon Europe: Increase from 100 billion to 120 billion EURO
- Life +: 100% increase for climate related projects
- CEF: Increase to 44 bilion EURO
- Digital Europe: 8.2 billion EURO
In addition, also the European Defence Fund and the European Space Programme would see their budgets increased.
In general, the European Parliament argues that increased research spending in Europe is key measure to ensure that Europe as a region remains competitive compared to other areas such as China and US. In fact, these areas have considerably higher research spending compared to EU. The US and China spend 3-5% of their total budgets on research, while the European figure is currently lower. In fact, even with the higher figures adopted by the EU Parliament, EU research spending would still train behind US and China.
However, while the European Parliament calls for higher research spending, the funding needs to provided by the European Council and The EU member states. Typically, the EU member states are considerably less generous on research spending compared to the EU Parliament. It is a rather easy bet that the figures will most likely be reduced by the member states.
Taken together, while we can expect an increase in funding in Europe, Europe will still trail behind China and the US. In fact, not even the EU Parliament funding level is sufficient to fund all projects that have received high marks. To achieve this funding should be increased even further.
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