Last week LERU submitted an extensive response to the Horizon 2020 simplification survey that was asked for by the European Commission. LERU made a list of recommendations varying from a simplification to the grant preparation stage to a ‘seal of excellence’ for research management. The response of the LERU is mainly focused on simplification and conceptual changes in the process of project application and management, but the budget of Horizon 2020 continues to be a point of concern.
Under constant attack
“LERU supported the European Parliament’s request for a 100 billion EUR programme, and were broadly satisfied with the 80 billion EUR budget which was decided upon for Horizon 2020 in the framework of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework. Unfortunately, since then the budget of Horizon is under constant attack.”
LERU hopes that the support for Horizon 2020 in the European Parliament will be continuous and fruitful. Next to that “LERU calls on the European Commission and especially the Member States’ finance ministers to put their money where their mouth is and (continue to) invest in research and innovation (but also education) to secure growth and jobs for Europe in the long term as well as the short term.”
A Seal of Excellence
The coalition of research universities further stresses that excellence should be the main focus for Horizon 2020. For this some practical, inspiring ideas are raised to strengthen this approach. “LERU welcomes the recently launched seal of excellence for projects in the SME instrument which were evaluated as being excellent but do not receive H2020 funding due to the limited budget. LERU is also very supportive of the H2020 twinning and teaming projects which are selected based on excellence and are led by beneficiaries from less well performing member states.”
LERU however warns for diluting Horizon 2020. It emphasizes that whatever the importance of support for member states in increasing their ability to compete for research funding, “this should not change the nature of the research funding itself. Investing in capacity building should be done using the Structural Funds, of which a considerable part is earmarked for research and innovation.”
The full list of recommendations can be found here