European Commission hopes for big science funding uplift

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Commissioner Moedas says HorizonEU is the most ambitious programme ever

The European Commission has set out how it wants to spend €100bn (£87bn) on science in the next EU budget.

The funding programme, dubbed HorizonEU, covers the period 2021-2027.

Expenditure would be split across three main areas, with the largest sum (€52.7bn) going on “global challenges” such as climate, security and food.

Open science, or researcher-driven projects, would get €25.8bn; and innovation directed at taking ideas to market would receive €13.5bn.

The spending proposal was set out by Science Commissioner Carlos Moedas in a press conference in Brussels.

As ever, his numbers come with caveats, the major one being that everything is aspirational at this stage.

The whole HorizonEU programme has to run through Europe’s normal democratic channels – through debate in the European parliament and among member states.

The numbers that fall out at the end of this process could look very different.

Horizon2020, the current programme, was beaten down in similar debate to €77bn.

But another major point of interest of course is that Commissioner Moedas has had to lay out a plan that assumes no involvement or contribution from the UK. HorizonEU kicks in after Brexit.

The British government recently released a position paper in which it called for a far-reaching Science and Innovation Pact with the EU beyond next March.

London would like to fully associate to the new programme and is prepared to pay its way, subject to how the involvement is structured and the level of influence Britain gets inside HorizonEU.

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