Brussels, 12 August 2005
The European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) has published its report and recommendations on the financial perspectives for the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), arguing that a doubling of the EU research budget is 'an absolute minimum target'.
The newly published report was drawn up in May, and sets out arguments to support the Commission's proposals for the FP7 budget. It also defines the criteria that EURAB believes should be used to select topics under the thematic priorities of the next framework programme.
According to the report, a key reason why the European research budget should be doubled is to allow the EU to meet its competitiveness targets. 'The redefined Lisbon vision to transform the European Union into 'the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world' [...] cannot be realised without a massive investment in European research, technology and development (RTD),' states the report.
EURAB believes that the absorptive capacity for increased EU funding is already in place, pointing to the high number of quality proposals received under the framework programme that aren't funded simply due to a lack of resources. 'These missed opportunities for Europe need to be decreased,' states the report.
The Commission's advisory board also points to the fact that more research is vital to many of the new tasks and challenges facing the EU. The success of new initiatives such as the European Research Council (ERC) and Joint Technology Initiatives is highly dependent on increased investment and coordination at EU level, the report adds.
In defining work programmes for the thematic priorities of FP7, EURAB suggests a series of criteria that it feels should be applied. For example, topics should be chosen in which Europe has the potential to excel, and where the scope for innovation is sufficient to contribute to the development of Europe and its citizens.
Another goal of the thematic priorities should be to generate new knowledge that can make a contribution to European policy objectives, the report adds. This can be done by translating policy commitments into action plans, by analysing the prospects and competitive position of EU industries, and through technological road mapping exercises.
The final criteria that EURAB would like to see applied when defining the work programmes for FP7 is sustainability. As the report explains: 'Sustainability is not only referring to natural resources or environmental aspects of research and technology applications, but also to social and ethical criteria for development of research.' The assessment of these criteria should take into account the EU's policy on the environment and energy, as well the positions of other European institutions and advisory bodies on ethical and social issues.
Finally, the EURAB report outlines what results Europe could expect from a significant increase in the EU research budget. As well as new research in the areas of security and space, a frontier research capability under the ERC, and better integration and cohesion in an enlarged EU, the report concludes that 'The European Research Area is still far from a reality and will only be accomplished with more funding at the European level as an incentive for collaboration.'
To download a copy of the EURAB report, please consult the following web address:
http:///europa.e u.int/comm/research/eurab /pdf/eurab_05_015_wg2_final_report_en.pd f