European Commission must innovate to get value from 70 billion science funding program, researchers say

April 17th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Other

The European Commission needs to make some key innovations in its science funding programme if Europe is to enjoy the full benefits of the €70 billion to be spent on science research as part of the Horizon 2020 programme kicking off in 2014, according to an academic paper published by SAGE in the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy today.

The Commission has already taken important steps to reduce administration costs and stimulate the participation of small business in research, but there are still significant gaps, say the authors of 's 'Horizon 2020' science funding programme: How is it shaping up? Dr Michael Galsworthy, UCL Department of Applied Research and Professor Martin McKee, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, argue that reforms are necessary in four key areas –reduction of red tape at the interface between academia and small business, better mapping and linking of the research funded, taking a bold lead in the open data drive, and ending inegalitarian salary policies that block Eastern European competitiveness.

Over the last 15 years, the EU has spent around €80 billion on via its three 'framework programmes', FP5, FP6 and FP7, and Horizon 2020 will nearly match that sum over the next six years. While past programmes were intended to ease the path of European researchers to funding and support, the bureaucracy involved was cumbersome and hard to negotiate; the paper highlights the thousands of researchers who relocated to the US, in part to escape such constraints. The paper recommends reform in four key areas:

Dr Galsworthy says: "After many years of often painful and bureaucratic development, the EU science model of international collaboration and researcher mobility is clearly starting to work. Science is now increasingly viewed as a cornerstone of Europe's future as an integral part of quality of life, sustainability and business innovation. In preparation for Horizon 2020, some solid steps have been made on levels of both practicality and vision, but a few key innovative changes at the central administration level would revolutionise the dynamism and productivity of European science."

More information: Europe's 'Horizon 2020' science funding programme: how is it shaping up? is published online in the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy jhsrp.rsmjournals.com/ .

More details on the Horizon 2020 programme can be found at ec.europa.eu/research/horizon2020/index_en.cfm?pg=home&video=none

Provided by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

"European Commission must innovate to get value from 70 billion science funding program, researchers say." April 17th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-04-european-commission-billion-science-funding.html