The President of Universities UK has warned that making cuts to the European Union research budget would have a damaging effect on UK and EU research performance.
As outlined in a European Commission legislative proposal this week, plans have been tabled to divert money away from the research and innovation budget to the newly created ‘European Fund for Strategic Investments’.
The research budget, known as Horizon 2020, is worth nearly £67bn (80bn Euros) and covers the next six years (2014 to 2020). The UK performs well in this area and there have been projections that UK universities and research centres could receive £2bn in the first two years of Horizon 2020.
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President of Universities UK, said: “Cutting the Horizon 2020 budget at this stage would risk harming the performance of the whole European research system.
“Public investment in research and innovation boosts the prosperity and growth potential of the economy.
“Our competitors outside the EU are investing in, not cutting research. China’s investment in research, for example, has increased dramatically in recent years, and it now spends a greater proportion of its GDP on research and development than the UK.
“It is by investing in world-leading research and innovation that the EU will help secure growth and respond to changing needs.”