Horizon Europe: does a bigger budget mean more funding for public universities and research centres?


The ETUCE Committee has adopted a statement in reaction to the European Commission’s Proposal for a Regulation on establishing Horizon Europe –the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, published in June 2018. This Proposal aims to define the priorities and budget of the future research and innovation programme for the next mandate 2021-2027. The European Commission has earmarked an impressive €97.6 billion to ensure the effectiveness of the programme.

ETUCE welcomes that the ongoing Horizon2020 programme (2014-21) has assisted so far over 340,000 researchers. On examination of the current Horizon2020 programme between 2014-2016, the Commission revealed that out of all the eligible proposals received, 38% were submitted by secondary and higher education establishments, 18% by research organisations and just 4% by public bodies. Private for profit companies, however, accounted for 36% of eligible proposals.

Therefore, in relation to the future Horizon Europe programme, ETUCE underscores that public money, such as this programme budget, should be used, first and foremost, for public universities and research institutions. In addition, ETUCE calls for sustainable investment in public research in the framework of the European Semester process. Similarly, this statement clearly states ETUCE’s concern about the business-oriented research approach of this programme for fear that publicly-funded research may become commercialised.

ETUCE fully supports the new programme’s focus on the mobility of researchers across Europe, nevertheless, we urge that hosting institutions respect the employment conditions of mobile researchers. Likewise, researchers across Europe should be entitled to permanent positions and for this reason ETUCE advocates for the creation of a monitoring mechanism on how many temporary contract researchers can be engaged in research projects.

ETUCE calls for more attention on the social dimension of research and European citizenship in the European Research Area with a view to developing a critical analysis of our society to ensure that we are prepared to tackle future global challenges.

The ETUCE statement is available here