Step up and simplify EU investment in research and innovation: a call for action

22 February 2018

As part of its campaign for sustainable, sufficient and simple funding for universities, EUA invites all members and stakeholders in higher education and research and innovation to reach out to policy makers about the need to invest further in research and innovation at the European level.

The next financial period for the EU will start in 2020 and the discussions will be tough. On Friday, 23 February, the heads of state or government of the member states meet to discuss the broad directions of the future multiannual financial framework.  Although the European added value of investment in higher education and research and innovation has been acknowledged by many – the European Commission, European Parliament and member states – there will be difficult choices to be made, in a context marred by Brexit, security threats and reluctance to increase the overall EU budget. It is therefore of utmost importance to convince public authorities of the value of further investment in research and innovation, to ensure a positive outcome for the next Framework Programme. To support its members, EUA releases a series of arguments (as a leaflet and as a series of individual postcards) that can be freely used for dissemination by all members. 

Research and innovation is a European public good. Spending at this level creates synergies, economies of scale and high value for money for EU tax payers. Pan-EU research competition allows identifying and empowering excellent project ideas with EU-wide and global impact, evidenced in a higher field-weighted citation index of European research. EU investment in research and innovation supports all European policies and priorities, e.g. competitive innovation, societal growth, job creation, climate change, or social inclusion. Support for collaborative research creates cross-border frameworks and networks for professionals and academics, thus reinforcing European awareness and identity. The EU’s Framework Programme is the most open research programme worldwide, tackling global challenges and fostering stronger ties with other countries. Beyond academic exchanges, it provides a long-term reliable framework for EU science diplomacy. Finally, it supports the next generation of European researchers and innovators. Therefore, EU research and innovation investment must be stepped up to fund all top proposals and avoid any waste of talent and resources.

Join our campaign, get inspired by the material and use #H2020impact on Twitter to relay the importance of European funding for your research !

EUA seeks to achieve the best value for money in EU research and innovation programmes. In an effort to further improve performance and overall efficiency of the EU funding programmes for research and innovation, EUA is putting forward proposals for “Taking simplification of EU funds to the next level”. EUA understands the term “simplification” to be the achievement of a coherent set of rules, mindful of the diversity of actions and beneficiaries accommodated in a programme, and that ensures both high-quality processes and an effective use of resources. EUA argues for the wider acceptance of nationally recognised institutional management and accounting practices of beneficiaries as the most significant way to enhance efficiency and participation in the programme. This would contribute effectively to simpler rules, fewer errors and, above all, better impact of the research and return on investment for European tax payers.

Further EUA activities on simplification in 2018 include the release of specific briefs putting forward concrete solutions for effective simplification as well as a compendium of good practice in costing methodologies across Europe. EUA also thanks all institutions that have participated in its “simplification survey” – the excellent collected input will be processed and findings will be published in the spring. Finally, simplification and alignment of funders’ practices will be an important topic at this year’s Funding Forum (18-19 October 2018, Barcelona).

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