EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas sent the European Parliament and member states a €94.1 billion research budget proposal on Thursday outlining increases in basic science spending and a blueprint for a new innovation council to spawn transformative inventions.
The Commission’s budget breakdown for its next research programme, Horizon Europe, running between 2021 and 2027, devotes the biggest share of funding, €52.7 billion, to a series of projects to tackle climate change, boost digital technologies, improve food, handle other ‘global challenges’ and boost industrial competitiveness.
The balance of the €94.1 billion will go to fund fundamental science and innovation. The total for Horizon Europe represents about 10 per cent of government research funding across the EU.
“We’re aiming higher than ever,” the Commissioner said in an interview Wednesday. Horizon Europe follows the current Horizon 2020, which has provided around €77 billion in research funding. From the start, its competitions have been extremely popular and sometimes heavily over-subscribed.
Moedas is obviously thrilled about the proposed funding increase, which comes at the expense of EU investment in agriculture and poorer regions, the two main staples of the Brussels budget.
His colleagues can’t help but feel a little envious of the budget increase. One commissioner, riding a lift with some journalists in the Berlaymont on Wednesday, said: “When he goes to countries, he goes with money, while I go to issue moral imperatives.” Another, vice-president Jyrki Katainen, said on Thursday that Moedas was “lucky” to have his hands on the portfolio at this moment.
All the numbers announced by Moedas assume no contribution from the UK, although the country has expressed a wish to access the next EU research programme after it has left the EU next March, in exchange for a membership fee, and a large say in how priorities are set. Membership has still to be negotiated, though.
He promises several novelties in Horizon Europe, including ‘moonshot’ missions and new rules to ease foreign access.
Missions, which are not specified in the programme, will get somewhere between €5 – €10 billion, the Commissioner said. “It’s very difficult to create missions today for 2021-2027. So we are just going to set down criteria,” Moedas said. “It would be a little bit arrogant to define the missions now.”
Nevertheless, he gave two examples of possible missions that he feels the European public would get behind and support: finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and creating zero-carbon boats.
The desire to create missions is also borne out of a niggling feeling the Commissioner has that there is not enough awareness or credit today for EU-funded research. “When IMI [the EU-funded Innovative Medicines Initiative] helped create a new Ebola vaccine in 2015, nobody knew it was us,” Moedas said.
Brussels also wants to tighten and, in its words, streamline the management of public-private research partnerships. “We have too many names, too many acronyms,” Moedas said.
Some ingenuity with numbers means the Commission is claiming a total research budget of €100 billion.
Image Credit: EC Horizon 2020
News This Week
From Frontiers Forum: How can research translate to R&D? Or a whole new business venture? In a panel session at Science Unlimited 2019, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group CEO Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Life Biosciences CEO [...]
More and more security holes are appearing in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms, and some are fundamental to the way they were built. Early last month, the security team at Coinbase noticed something strange [...]
“The most crucial result of this work is the correlation between form and function in supercapacitor materials,” states first author Dina Ibrahim Abouelamaiem. She elaborates that “our research is driven by the need for [...]
“We’ll have nanobots that… connect our neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud. Our thinking will be a…. biological and non-biological hybrid.” Ray Kurzweil, TED 2014 UPDATE - June 18 2019 Since [...]
A new study by the Environmental Working Group reveals that: “Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing [...]
A nanotechnology treatment derived from bone marrow stem cells has reversed multiple sclerosis symptoms in mice and could eventually be used to help humans, according to a new study led by University of California, [...]
In a paper published this week in Nature ("Freestanding crystalline oxide perovskites down to the monolayer limit"), materials science researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions unveil a new process for [...]