Stronger EU investment
Sustainable funding conditions
National public authorities, and in particular ministries of finance must support higher investment in research, education and innovation at the EU level. In the context of the negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework, they must be convinced of the added value of higher investment in this sector at both the national and EU level.
EUA has developed material summarising the arguments in favour of EU-level investment in research and innovation and in higher education. The “Reasons to step up EU-level investment in Research & Innovation” and "Reasons to step up EU-level investment in Higher Education exchange and cooperation" are available as two-pagers and as individual postcards that can be used on social media. The material is available to national rectors’ conferences in a format can be adapted to their national context.
EUA has also joined 14 European universities associations to call for an ambitious Horizon Europe budget that would invest in excellent, cross-border research and innovation. The call specifically asks the EU institutions and leaders to strengthen the R&I investment at European level by raising the budget of the next EU Programme for R&I (2021-2027), Horizon Europe, to at least €120 billion. 300 universities, national actors and companies active in the European Union signed the call between July and October 2019, pushing leaders at national and EU level to commit to a higher budget for education, research and innovation.
The significant underfunding of Horizon 2020 has led to a critically low success rate and heavily weighs on the overall efficiency of the funding landscape.
Participation remains expensive for universities, challenging their long-term financial sustainability. In particular, coverage of indirect costs tends to be insufficient. Horizon 2020, and possibly Horizon Europe in the future, cover indirect costs via a flat-rate of 25% of direct costs, offering limited support to institutions. This can be a barrier to participation, especially for less funded institutions in Europe. In this context, EUA calls on member states to provide sufficient and sustainable national public funding for education, research and innovation, which is paramount to support the participation of universities in Horizon Europe and enable them to co-fund the projects.
The overall efficiency of the EU funding programmes is also challenged by the excessive costs of administrative processes, both on the funder and the beneficiary sides, as well as gaps or inconsistencies that prevent effective synergies between funding schemes. EUA therefore calls for progress towards the possibility of combining funding schemes (among EU programmes or with national or other types of funding).
"Simplification” activities have a direct impact on universities, as the overarching objective is to achieve better rules for participation in the EU funding programmes.
EUA understands simplification as 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.
EUA collaborates with its members to work towards simplification that has a positive impact on universities. A dedicated group provides expertise from university administrators while all universities are invited to share their experience in EUA consultations and surveys.
The report “Accepting university accounting practices under Horizon Europe: a compendium of national and institutional cases” collects practical information based on the experiences shared by university practitioners from 12 European countries. The report explores possibilities for a better alignment of practices between the EU and the national level. In order to achieve this, the data gathered in the compendium have been summarised in concrete strategic and practical recommendations addressed to EU policy makers.
EUA feeds this input to the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors in the framework of bilateral exchanges and expert groups, as well as to the European Parliament and the EU Council ahead of the adoption of the proposal establishing Horizon Europe.
In the second semester of 2019, EU member states are expected to reach an agreement on the bloc’s financial plan for 2021-2028. It is therefore now important to launch a new phase of collective action to raise the visibility of the sector in these negotiations and remind our decision-makers about the importance and added value of investing in research, innovation and education at the European level. In line with our collective actions of last year, we propose a set of actions and supporting material for a pan-European university campaign.
Actions proposed to EUA members
EUA has developed the following material for you to use, take inspiration from, or adapt to your needs:
In an important new step towards a final decision on the European Union’s financial framework for 2021-2027, the Finnish presidency of the EU Council released its proposal for the bloc’s future budget. Referred to as a “negotiating box”, the proposal includes figures for the overall budget as well as per programme and is intended as a new basis for discussion among heads of government this week in Brussels.view more
EUA has issued a statement on the future Model Grant Agreement that is under preparation as part of the Horizon Europe implementation process.view more
As negotiations continue on the future Horizon Europe programme, the discussion on the Model Grant Agreement is fundamental for effective and smooth implementation. Not only does the Model Grant Agreement serve as the key contractual document between all parties, it is also the central user guide which helps beneficiaries fully understand and better interpret the programme rules.read more
As the new academic year kicks in, Brussels is getting ready for the “European Research & Innovation Days”, dubbed as “the first annual policy event of the European Commission, bringing together stakeholders to debate and shape the future research and innovation landscape”.view more
Members of the European Parliament have now adopted the Horizon Europe regulation, paving the way for preparations and implementation in time for 2021.view more
The road towards Horizon Europe reached a new milestone in September with discussions in the European Parliament on possible amendments to the Commission’s proposals (see the series of amendments put forward by EUA and 12 other university associations).view more
The European University Association (EUA) welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon Europe).read more
In 2016, EUA launched the EUA Member Consultation on the Horizon 2020 Mid-Term Review, which addressed several aspects of Framework Programme simplification and revealed the need for further research into beneficiary opinions.read more
Universities and national rectors’ conferences join their voices to argue for a renewed funding commitment to research and education at the European level.view more
On 21 March 2018, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) published the briefing paper “A contribution to simplification of EU research beyond Horizon 2020”.view more
As the European Union prepares the next generation of EU funding programmes for the post-2020 period, budget discussions are increasingly geared towards performance, European added value, trust and efficiency.read more
The European Commission has launched a series of public consultations to ask stakeholders and citizens in which areas Europe should invest in the future.view more
With the debate on the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9) in full swing, EUA has launched a set of precise recommendations for the post-2020 period.view more
This position paper reiterates the strategic importance of fostering a united and prosperous knowledge-based society in Europe, which needs to remain a high priority despite the uncertain political and economic context.read more