EuCheMS Opposes FP7 Budget Reduction

Cuts to Research Framework Programme 7 proposed by the Luxembourg Presidency will seriously inhibit research and innovation in Europe. Cutting the research budget would severely limit the EU’s ability to achieve the Barcelona and Lisbon goals, reduce its global competitiveness, adversely affect the careers of Europe’s S&T community and reduce the quality and number of future European scientists. A reduction in the budget of Research Framework Programme 7 would actually have a double effect because it is well established that investment at the European level exerts a significant leverage on national and private R&D funding. It would also contribute to the brain drain by encouraging young researchers to explore opportunities outside the continent and decrease the numbers of leading researchers seeking to establish themselves in Europe. The priorities and instruments suggested for FP7 offer very considerable opportunities and challenges for professional chemists and molecular scientists who are engaged within Research, Education and Innovation – the constituent sides of the Triangle of Knowledge upon whose integrated activities the future prosperity of Europe depends. Judicious targeting of priorities, increased support for training and mobility, exploitation of new instruments such as the European Research Council and Joint Technology Initiatives and an expanded timescale provide an integrated framework for Europe’s scientists [both current and future] to respond effectively to the key challenges of investment and innovation. A reduction in the proposed FP7 budget would send the wrong signal to educators, researchers, industry and to the general public at this critical time. Research, much of which involves those with professional skills in chemistry and the molecular sciences, is crucial for both sustainable development at home and to ensure Europe’s increased strength and competitiveness within the global economy. The expansion of the EU in 2004 has increased the social and economic challenges and placed additional pressures on national and regional funding. Failure to respond effectively will only increase the divergence between Member States within the enlarged EU. The budget for FP 7 proposed by the European Commission is relatively small in comparison to the overall budget currently under discussion but any reduction would have a disproportionate effect on education, research and innovation in Europe – the very elements that are crucial for delivery of the EU’s key policy objectives.