The EU budget for research, innovation and education needs to be doubled. This could lead to 650,000 new jobs and enable the EU to become a global leader in areas like sustainable energy, smart buildings and vehicles, infectious diseases, and the circular economy. An investment of this kind would also stimulate more inclusive societies, increase sustainable growth and reduce inequality in Europe. These are the main messages in a joint statement from 12 networks centred around European universities. Uppsala University is a member of three of the signatory networks (the Guild, Coimbra and EUA) and is therefore one of the universities behind this call for action.
Although Horizon 2020 is the largest framework programme, providing EUR 80 billion for research and innovation over a seven-year period to date, it is underfunded. The current budget supports less than 1 out of 5 high-quality projects and although Erasmus+ promotes mobility and employability, student mobility remains far below the target set in the Bologna Process.
As signatory of the call for action, Uppsala University shares the picture and analysis of the situation, which also shows that a doubling of the budget would still not be a substitute for strong support for, and investment in, research, innovation and education at national level. Success depends on a combination of adequate national investments in research and education and increased EU funding. The statement therefore underlines that the European institutions must encourage Member States more forcefully to meet their commitments in the framework of the European Research Area (ERA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Universities are strong and committed partners in the search for solutions to future societal challenges and in boosting EU competitiveness, regional development and sustainability. The networks look forward to working with the EU institutions to make European research, innovation and education programmes even stronger than they are today.