The Guild’s position on the 9th Framework Programme
Today, the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities published a position paper on the 9th Framework Programme. The Guild calls for a significant budget increase and emphasizes that research is needed to address the fundamental concerns of Europeans about their welfare, security, and the transformation of their communities.
Here are the eight main points of the position paper:
1. Support for frontier-led research must be strengthened to further enhance the excellence of European science.
2. FP9 should foster the scientific, societal and educational impact of research and innovation.
3. Mission-driven research and innovation will allow Europe to take a lead in addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
4. To enable the long-term sustainability of excellence and collaboration across Europe, FP9 should reduce the participation gap between higher and lower performing countries.
5. FP9 should increase the effectiveness and European added value of innovation by supporting all actors in innovation ecosystems.
6. FP9 should support further progress on the European Research Area (ERA) and on Open Science.
7. FP9 should foster collaborations among researchers, innovators and students from around the world, based on principles of genuine two-way collaboration, capacity-building, and the shared pursuit of excellence.
8. FP9 should offer simplified, transparent and user-friendly funding programmes.
I consider #1 to be of the utmost importance. As stated in our position paper, competitive research funds at a European level has enabled the EU to establish a unique standard of excellence. This excellence must continue to drive decisions for research funding across different programmes of FP9. Thus the Guild recommends that:
- The proportion of funding for the European Research Council (ERC), as a jewel in the crown of European research, must increase significantly. We fully support the demand of the ERC’s Scientific Council to scale up its budget to €4bn annually within FP9.
- The overall budget of Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) should be increased by a proportion similar to that of the ERC, as it opens up opportunities for European collaborationto Europe’s best young minds – and future leaders in research and innovation.
- As evidence has shown that the most highly cited researchers are those who have spent time abroad and then returned to their home country, The Guild suggests ‘return grants’ to be introduced within the MSCA. This way, national academic institutions could be supported in attracting researchers with international experience to continue their careers at their home institution after time spent abroad.
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