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"No cuts on research"

2012-11-15 - Informação à Imprensa

A delegation led by Nobel laureates met today President Martin Schulz to hand him in an open letter, signed by 44 Nobel laureates and 6 Fields medallists, warning against the dramatic consequences of possible budget cuts in research and innovation.

Research Committee Chair, Amalia Sartori, and Horizon 2020 rapporteur, Maria da Graça Carvalho, stressed during today's press conference in the European Parliament, the need to safeguard EU's resources in Research and Development. At the press conference were also Sir Tim Hunt (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2001); Jules Hoffmann (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2011); Helga Nowotny (President of the European Research Council, ERC); Maria Leptin (President of the Initiative for Science in Europe and Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, EMBO); Wolfgang Eppenschwandtner (Executive Coordinator of the Initiative for Science in Europe, ISE); Leif Schröder (Secretary for the Young Academy of Europe).

During her intervention, Maria da Graça Carvalho said that "Horizon 2020 is much broader in scope and more ambitious than the FP7 and we need almost 100 billion for it".

Amalia Sartori said that "We should not make across the board cuts", adding that "resources in research and development must be safeguarded because this is where the future of the EU is lying and this is what could help us get out of the crisis".

Sir Tim Hunt, Nobel Laureate in Medicine in 2001, criticised the proposed cuts saying that "Europe cannot afford to lose its young talents", whilst Jules Hoffmann, Nobel Laureate in Medicine in 2011, highlighted the enormous progress in research made over the past years and reiterated that researchers "need the support of the EU and their governments".

Helga Nowotny , President of the European Research Council, warned that "unless we provide continuity with the research funding we are in danger of loosing a whole generation". She said that "1 billion less for Horizon 2020 means up to 600 principal investigators less, 240 collaborative projects less and 800 participations or 4000 SMEs participations less".

Maria Leptin, President of the Initiative for Science in Europe and Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, stressed the importance of the initiative and the petition saying that although researchers usually focus only on their work, "this is one of the rare moments where scientists are fighting for their cause".

During the press conference it was also drawn attention to a petition "No cuts on research" in support of this cause; to date signed by over 131 000 citizens in Europe and across the globe.  These Europe-wide initiatives are launched ahead of the 22-23 November European summit on the overall EU budget for 2014 till 2020.

The delegation will also meet today the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.  

Building upon the letter, young researchers from various scientific fields launched a petition coordinated by the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE), making an appeal to EU leaders for not making cuts to the research budget. Within hours, thousands of citizens signed it across all EU member states and worldwide.

Industry and Research Committee is scheduled to vote on the next EU Framework Programme on Reseacr (Horizon 2020) on 28 November 2012.