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RSE concerned about Europe\'s commitment to science

Posted 15/01/2015

The General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Alan Alexander, has confirmed concerns raised by the Society about the European Commission's approach to science and research.

"The Commission has made two major errors in recent months. First, the position of the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Commission was not retained; and, second, it now proposes to reduce Horizon 2020 funding to support the new European Strategic Investment Fund".

"It has been reported in the media that the Commission will reconsider whether to appoint a successor to Professor Anne Glover as Chief Scientist. Professor Glover is widely regarded as having done an excellent job and her term ends this month. I hope that these reports are accurate and that the post of Chief Scientist will be retained. Good policy making relies upon well founded scientific advice."

"On Horizon 2020, I hope that the Commission will also reconsider its decision, for the current proposals will impact harshly upon an already tight budget, resulting in reductions in research funding amounting to 2.7 billion Euros affecting universities across Europe and the European Research Council."

"Although the ultimate objective of promoting economic growth is commendable, it is counter-productive to fund it in part from Horizon 2020 resources, which itself generates economic growth through research and innovation, particularly when many of Europe's major international competitors already invest more in research and development."

The President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, has written to both the UK Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission raising concerns about Horizon 2020 funding.

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