The Framework Programme (FP) for Research & Innovation (R&I) aims to “deliver scientific, economic and social impact [...] to strengthen the scientific and technological basis of the Union, and foster its competitiveness” 1. Fourteen European associations representing universities stress that recent developments in the negotiations within the European Parliament are undermining these aims. Building on our prior statement ‘Universities united for the best Horizon Europe’, we want to underline that:
Excellence should be promoted wherever it occurs. Excellent researchers and innovators from all European countries should be stimulated to participate in the FP. We acknowledge that the current R&I divide is pressing, however it should be addressed through the reinforcement of synergies with regional funds and national measures, rather than be treated as a specific objective of the FP.
Research activities are in essence international. The FP should stimulate and facilitate participation of third countries. Furthermore, all associated countries should be allowed to fully participate in the FP. This will guarantee the attractiveness of the FP for researchers and innovators and ensure the desired impact.
We support the European Parliament’s plea for a considerable increase of the Horizon Europe budget, and want to reiterate that the necessary budget to accomplish its projected objectives is €160 billion. We also urge the European institutions to work towards a smooth start of Horizon Europe on 1 January 2021.