Brussels, 26 April 2002
The European Commission funds around 24 per cent of all publicly-financed R&D (research and development) projects in the EU, a study commissioned by KoWi, the German R&D liaison office in Brussels, has discovered.
The study, carried out by Stefanie Schelhowe and presented to representatives of the European Commission and national liaison offices in Brussels on 25 April, examined for the first time the percentage of R&D expenditure used to fund research projects as opposed to research institutions.
The research covered 11 EU Member States and found that the percentage of funding directed towards civil research projects is highest in Finland, at 41 per cent, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Germany. France, with around seven per cent, directs the smallest proportion of its R&D budget towards project funding (this is, however, an estimated figure as exact statistics are not available from France). The figures show that generally, project funding is much more common in northern countries than in southern Member States.
Ms Schelhowe calculated that the total amount of project funding in the 11 Member States studied in the year 2000 was 14.657 million euro. Of this figure, 3.485 million, or 24 per cent, was provided by the European Commission and 11.172 million by national governments. 'This shows that the Commission has a very significant share in funding R&D projects,' said Ms Schelhowe.
KoWi Director Martin Grabert highlighted the importance of these findings for the Commission's proposal to open up national research programmes. 'If you don't have a programme orientated structure, you can't open up anything,' he said.
The study highlighted differences in the way national research councils operate, particularly with regard to compiling statistics. 'While there is a well articulated position in the research community that there is a need to have something like [a European research council], the study shows the problems with national research councils and that they may not be able to handle such a composition,' said Mr Grabert.
Members of Ms Schelhowe's audience highlighted the additional structuring impact that EU project funding has on Member States. Vladimir Sucha, First Secretary of the Mission of the Slovak Republic to the European Communities, applied this consequence of EU funding to the candidate countries, saying that in future, when these countries participate in more EU funded projects, the funding will have 'even more of a structuring effect.'
For further information on KoWi, please consult the following web address: http://www.kowi.de