07 May 2020   |   Network Updates   |   Update from The Guild
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Guild Presidents discuss research and innovation with commissioner Gabriel


On 5 May, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel met the Board of The Guild for a wide-ranging policy discussion.

Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on Universities and on European research and innovation, Vincent Blondel (Chair), Eva Åkesson (Vice-Chair), Anton Muscatelli (Treasurer) and Åse Gornitzka (standing in for Svein Stlølen) highlighted the important efforts that European universities have made to ensure the well-being and safety of their staff and students, while swiftly adapting to the new conditions – notably regarding digital education. The Guild also emphasised that our capacity to find quickly a vaccine against COVID-19 was directly contingent on prior investments in basic research on coronavirus.

The Board expressed its strong support for the European Research Council, noting that its real value far exceeded any money spent on it. And the Board thanked the Commissioner again for the ways she had supported the ERC.

Members of The Guild Board discussed key Guild proposals for a renewed European Research Area, ahead of the Commission’s communication. These included underlining the importance of academic freedom, and ensuring that the renewed ERA focuses on improving the excellence of R&I systems throughout Europe, in an inclusive way. Continuing with a discussion on universities of the future, members of the Board highlighted the need for a vision that engaged universities and strengthened them in their core concerns. Universities in Europe needed to be strengthened in relation to the global competition, in an inclusive way.

In addition, The Guild Board members focused on third-party association with Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. They re-emphasised the importance for Switzerland and the United Kingdom to be fully associated to both programmes, noting the particularly close links between Swiss and UK universities, and those in the EU/EEA.

Briefly after the meeting, Jan Palmowski said “We are very grateful to Commissioner Gabriel for engaging so fully with us, for taking time to listen while also being clear about what her key concerns are. It was an extremely positive meeting, and the members of the Board truly appreciated Commissioner Gabriel’s commitment to an ambitious budget for research and education, her leadership in the fight against COVID-19, and her defense of European science, including the ERC.”

This article was first published on 7 May by The Guild.

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