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Brussels (Chrono): More billions to search.

This is among the demands received by the European Commission after it requested input for the use of billions in the EU’s Research and Innovation Framework programme, with a look back and forward.

The input received before last week’s deadline is the beginning of a fight not only over the design of the final installment of Horizon Europe, which begins in 2021 and ends in 2027. It is also the beginning of a tug-of-war over how the next, tenth in a row, framework program should look.

Want more money for research

Horizon Europe has €95.5 billion in the pot, and many are calling for more money under the Next Framework programme.

“There is an urgent need for increased investment in research and innovation at the EU level,” says the University Network, for example Syndicatewhere, among others, the University of Oslo is a member.

But the research community doesn’t just target the whole lot. The stage is also set for a tug of war for funds under the framework programme.

The Guild is one of several actors claiming that a larger portion of the pot should go to the part of the framework program that deals with outstanding research, also known as “Pillar 1”. Here we find, among others, the European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

It is noteworthy that the relative share of the budget for this pillar decreased from 31 to 26 percent in the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe. They believe that more investment is needed in this pillar. The network will also work to ensure the independence of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission’s Scientific Council.

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“It is clear that the Egyptian Red Crescent is underfunded.”

Others also point to ERC, including the university network LERU, with universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and the Sorbonne among its members.

“It is clear that the ERC is underfunded,” she says. Entries from LERU. They pointed out that the head of the Egyptian Red Crescent, Maria Leptin, stated that they could have funded twice the number of projects that exist today, but they cannot because of budget constraints.

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“In addition to funding the many outstanding projects, increased funding could enable the ERC to increase the maximum grant,” reports LERU. They point out that it has not increased since the creation of the ERC in 2007, and that because of inflation, researchers can now do less with the same amount. “This is particularly problematic for large research projects,” says LERU.

The tug of war over funds under the program is nothing new, by the way, when EU summits were drawing up a new long-term budget for the EU, there was a tug of war over what size the research budget should be. be and how it should be distributed. After protests from the research community, the ERC got its extra budget and ended up with €16 billion.

ERC President Leptin said in a Interview with Khrono Its goal is to double the IER’s budget.

You want a better balance

Requirements for a better balance according to Business sciences Consistently in the submissions received by the European Commission. They describe the imbalance between applied research and fundamental research as “the main problem with Horizon Europe”.

This was also indicated on the Norwegian side.

Vice-Chancellor Ossie Gornitzka at the University of Oslo (UiO) cited the strength of outstanding research as one of the four key messages in the framework program design.

UiO is one of three actors in Norway, along with Sintef and NTNU, that brings home more than one EU framework programme. in wandering From input from The Guild, she notes, the ERC award makes up a large percentage of what UiO brings home from the framework program, roughly 57 percent of grants to the university coming from it.

But when they mention that there needs to be a better balance between research and innovation, it’s not just about the distribution between the different parts of the framework software. UiO and The Guild are calling for a better balance also within Pillar 2, which includes “global challenges and European industrial competitiveness”. This is where most of the budget lies.

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“How this part is arranged is therefore central to guiding the entire framework programme,” Gornitzka writes.

Against Khrono, Gornitzka refers to what’s called technology maturity, also known as TRL level, which says something about how far one is in the development process, and how close one is to the market. If consideration of technological maturity becomes dominant, the framework program “will become more of an innovation program than a research program,” Gornitzka believes.

“We need a scientific knowledge base of global challenges and competitive business, which falls under Pillar 2,” she told Khrono.

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I will do something about ads

According to Gornitzka, this is a concern they share with other universities with an extensive research base in Europe.

– How do you ensure that?

“Something needs to be done about the advertising in this column,” says the vice-chancellor at UiO.

In input from The Guild, an increase in the number of calls with a low TRL level was called for to ensure a balance between research and innovation.

– More than half of the budget has been allocated to this column, and this is a very large amount, and we also ask that we make room for things that are not mature enough to become a salable technology, says Gornitzka.

In her review, she wrote that “the highly complex problems Europe faces require collaborative projects between different research environments without the need for close-to-market research or research that can be easily and in the short term translated into technological solutions or into policy and regulations.” In the long term, she says, TRL’s low-level projects “can fully pioneer technological innovations and contribute to the system changes necessary to solve global societal challenges.”

It will secure a strong ERC

In a tug-of-war over the EU’s long-term budget, the University of Bergen (UiB) has taken the lead in an alliance to support the ERC, in open letter They warned of cuts in research in general and in the ERC in particular.

in his new entries To the direction of the framework program, they also refer to the HR coordinator. UiB President Margaret Hagen tells Chrono that ERC is concerned.

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“It is important for us to ensure that the ERC continues to be strong, independent and well funded,” she says.

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UiB is also requesting that basic research also become more important in Pillar 2 and, like UiO, is calling for more low-TRL research projects to be made available.

Hagen says they will ensure funding for non-thematic research through the framework program, as well as better inclusion of research-intensive universities in part of the framework program aimed at addressing societal challenges.

“We’re advocating more advertising with less emphasis on application and so-called short-term impact,” says Hagen.

Refers to three basic areas

In the entries, the UiB identifies three core areas for the next few years: democracy, health and climate, and oceans and coasts.

The latter is in line with common position document from UiB and Norce, which were presented during a symposium in Brussels this fall. There they are positioning themselves to increase strategic investment in marine research in the program of work for the last part of Horizon Europe, in the years 2025-27.

“Norwegian representatives are key partners in working to meet EU political guidelines and succeed in ‘blue’ ocean and coastal efforts to achieve the Green Deal,” they wrote, among other things, referring to the EU’s strategy on climate neutrality by 2050.

Another area that Hagen points to as important is legal research. In the memorandum, the university asked for “recognition of the importance of legal research and legal and regulatory innovation.”

They also point out the importance of the humanities and social sciences.

The major societal challenges in Europe cannot be solved without taking into account society, individuals and culture. This is why it is so important that the humanities, social sciences, and legal disciplines feature more in all calls for proposals, Hagen tells Khrono.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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