EU-Life, an alliance of 13 leading European life science research institutes, has set out its key priorities for the next Framework Programme, calling on the Commission to double funding to €150 billion, compared to the current Horizon 2020 programme.
It is clear from calculations for previous framework programmes that every euro spent will generate a multiple in economic benefits over time, EU-Life says.
In addition, more should be invested in basic research than is currently the case. Without basic research, no applied research is possible, says EU-Life. Good basic research actually acts as a booster for applied and commercial research investments.
There should be greater effort to encourage collaboration in excellent research based on more bottom-up, non-prescriptive approaches that address key societal challenge, and more effort devoted to technology transfer to turn scientific insights into economic value.
Basic researchers should be given help with identifying and enabling commercial and medical applications of their findings.
Excellence should continue to be the sole criterion for funding research and there should be a focus on open science in order to foster wider impact of research.
Excellent science and professional technology transfer are essential for the well-being of citizens in the future, said Jo Bury, chairman of EU-Life and managing director of VIB, the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology. “We have seen that some approaches were successful in the past, where deep scientific insights have led to major breakthroughs in applied science, as we see today in immuno-oncology for instance.”
For public research institutes, funding from the Framework Programmes is critical. “We are convinced that the right choices will be made to re-balance the funding for more basic research,” Bury said.