“It is absolutely vital that investment in our scientific resources – both human and technical – is sustained, at a time when a return to growth is the most pressing policy priority across Europe,” declared the heads of CERN, EFDA-JET, EMBL, ESA, ESO, ESRF, European XFEL and ILL in an open letter to Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States and the Presidents of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission, ahead of the European Union budget summit of 7-8 February.
Member States’ failure to provide essential support for science threatens to undermine Europe’s capacity to achieve a sustained economic recovery.
EIROs look back and move forward, calling for sustained science funding in Europe
Leaders of European research gathered at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France on 15 November for a special debate to mark the 10th anniversary of the formation of EIROforum, a partnership of the eight largest European inter-governmental scientific research organisations (EIROs).
Hosted at the ILL, which currently holds the rotational EIROforum presidency, the event was part of the General Assembly of the Directors General of EIROforum. On this special occasion, they were joined by Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission, and Anneli Pauli, Deputy Director-General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission.
As well as celebrating the formation of EIROforum, the event looked forward to the challenges facing European science and innovation, and the key role the EIROs can play in meeting them. Following the ‘Spotlight on Science’ debate, discussion turned to Horizon 2020 – the European Union’s next research funding programme – and the European Research Area.
The debate highlighted the need to secure future funding for science in Europe, especially with respect to its impact on European innovation, productivity and competitiveness. Consequently, EIROforum’s Directors-General have written an open letter emphasising the positive effects of public investment in science on economic growth, and urging the institutions and member states of the EU to ensure that the budget for science remains strong.
The anniversary event provided the ideal opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years, as well as encouraging forward thinking, with the aim of ensuring EIROforum moves into its next decade with clear direction and a continued commitment to combining the EIROs’ resources to enable European science to reach its full potential.