Die Junge Akademie has joined together with other European Young Academies to publish an open letter in opposition to the planned cuts to the EU research budget.
At a special summit taking place from 17 to 20 July 2020, EU leaders agreed on cuts to the long-term EU budget for 2021–2027 which have an explicit impact on the “Horizon Europe” research programme, resulting in widespread criticism from scholars and scientists. The European Union’s “Horizon Europe” research and innovation framework programme promotes research in a wide range of fields in preparation for the societal challenges of the future. Following the EU leaders’ decision, the proposed budget of 94.1 billion euros is to be pared down to just 80.9 billion euros. “We understand that the cuts to the ‘Horizon Europe’ budget are a response to the new financial situation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the last few months have once again shown the pivotal importance that scientific excellence and long-term investments in research have for all of us,” comments Marion Schulte zu Berge, Managing Director of Die Junge Akademie.
According to Die Junge Akademie, the disproportionately severe cuts to the European Research Council (ERC) and Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions (ASCA) excellence programmes are particularly alarming. Marion Schulte zu Berge stresses that “the ERC combines the promotion of excellence with a free choice of research topics and methods, giving Europe’s best scientists free reign to devote themselves to the research questions that they deem to be the most promising. This mode of funding provides the best opportunity for gaining truly new insights.”
Die Junge Akademie was actively involved in writing the open letter, which was signed by 16 Young Academies across Europe as well as the Global Young Academy. The scientists are calling for an increase of at least 7.1% to the newly agreed budget, reinstating the originally proposed level of funding. They are urging EU leaders to reconsider the funding cuts for important research programmes, as the slash would considerably weaken Europe’s competitive edge in the area of scientific innovations and ultimately lead to a drain of highly talented young scholars.
Die Junge Akademie hopes that the joint voice of European early career researchers will be heard and that the German federal government as well as the European Parliament will recognise the urgency with which they need to advocate the increase of the “Horizon Europe” budget to the originally planned amount.
You can find the open letter here: amu.pan.pl
Other sources: ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon’s speech to the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee on 7 September 2020: erc.europa.eu European petition: change.org Statement from All European Academies (ALLEA): allea.org