Protect and prioritise Horizon 2020 funding

Letter to the Editor
der Präsidenten von Universities UK (UUK) und der
Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK)
Veröffentlicht von der britischen Financial Times am 13.4.2015

As heads of universities in the UK and Germany, we are concerned about the proposals to divert money away from the European Union’s research and innovation budget into a newly-created European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

Sustainable investment in research is vital to innovation, growth and competitiveness across the EU. Collaborative research, of the kind funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme, supports universities to maximise their positive impact on the European economy and society. It allows universities to pool the resources, talent, data and infrastructure necessary to produce world-leading research.

Cutting grant funding for this activity by €2.7bn is a short-sighted step that fails to recognise the importance of research to the European knowledge economy. While the European Commission argues that the diverted funding will continue to support science and innovation objectives through debt financing via the European Investment Bank, this fails to recognise that debt financing is not an appropriate mechanism for the funding of research, where the majority of the transformational discoveries are born of high-risk, blue-sky projects with no direct market application.

Together, we call on the EU to protect and prioritise Horizon 2020 funding, which is central in supporting universities to harness European diversity for new knowledge, fresh perspectives, and for growth.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden
President, Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey

Professor Horst Hippler
President, German Rectors’ Conference/
Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK)