An ambitious European effort for education, research and innovation
Europe faces environmental, social and economic challenges such as tackling climate change, efficient health systems, the wellbeing and security of its citizens, strengthening economic competitiveness, and creating jobs. This is why, during the European Research and Innovation Days held in Brussels on 24-26 September 2019, the Vice-President of the EUA (European University Association), Paul Boyle, speaking on behalf of over 800 members of the EUA and of the fourteen partner associations, presented the European Commission with a call to "Seize our common future", focusing on strengthening the European Union's investment in education, research and innovation.
The signatory organisations are fully convinced of the vital role of research and innovation in facing up to the current challenges and in seizing the opportunities of the 21st century. A combined effort at a European level must be strengthened to bring about the transformation Europe needs in order to build a prosperous, secure, inclusive and sustainable future for future generations. The EU leaders recognised this need during the Sibiu Summit, committing to remain united and to building a Union that is suitable for the future.
Investing in excellent, collaborative, cross-frontier R&I with social relevance is essential to reaching the sustainable development goals and to building a prosperous future for European society. EU R&I plays a key role in many sectors: by enabling researchers, innovators, enterprises and civil society to use knowledge and tools to improve the quality of life; by training the competent and talented people that Europe needs, investing in human resources to strengthen its educational, knowledge and technological foundations for a society that is more respectful of the environment and that prospers.
Furthermore, fostering European scientific, technological and social leadership plays a crucial role by supporting committed researchers who dedicate their abilities and energy for the good of mankind. This will clearly have cascading effects on the growth, employment and economic competitiveness of Europe, ensuring favourable conditions and policies that translate research results into products, enterprises and innovative services and in strengthening Europe’s ability to innovate, also with a view to maintaining its position as a real leader in terms of knowledge, technology and product development at a time in which the global race in R&I is accelerating.
The EUA’s call is, therefore, addressed to the EU institutions and leaders, with the intent of strengthening investments in research and innovation and the clear goal of increasing the budget in the next EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027), Horizon Europe, to at least 120 billion Euros. Even if a higher figure would be needed to resolve the huge challenges mentioned above and to satisfy the ambitions of the programme, such a commitment would provide the right signal to incentivise public and private investment on a continental scale.