CaSE’s calls for the UK Government to protect the EU’s research budget received support last week during a debate in the House of Lords.
The UK is one of eight member nations calling for EU budget cuts, which includes funding for ‘Horizon 2020’ the EU’s research programme. Such efforts threaten to cut €80 billion (£63 billion) in research funding an area in which the UK receives a disproportionately large amount of the overall budget.
“I will end by endorsing a statement made by Imran Khan, the director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering. He said that in opposing the increase in Horizon 2020 funding, the UK Government were scoring an own goal.
This issue was mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Young [Chair of the EU Sub-Committee Group]. The Framework and Erasmus science and technology programmes are among the very few programmes in which the UK does disproportionately well. Our universities are extremely successful in attracting these funds and making good use of them. By encouraging the increase in the budget we are bringing money into the UK for research and development.
Our record in funding R and D is miserable. We hover along at about 1.8% of GDP. The target is3%. Germany is up to that level, Japan is above it and the United States is almost up to it, but we are falling below it. This is one way in which more funding can be attracted, and it is scoring an own goal to oppose it.”
Negotiations over the EU budget are expected to be concluded in mid-2013. In the meantime, CaSE is continuing to campaign on this issue – to ensure that the UK both supports and benefits from high-quality EU-funded research.