Posted on behalf of Colin Macilwain.
Research would be the only major area of the European Union’s 1 trillion budget from 2014-20 to expand, under a proposal released by the European Commission today.
Under the plan, spending on research and innovation would increase from E55 billion over the current, 2007-2013 period to E80.2 over the subsequent seven years — a rise of 46%. Most of the increase for research in the proposal would come at the expense of spending on agriculture, which would fall from 39% of the old budget to 36% of the new one.
The research commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, pronounced herself “very satisfied” with the outcome, describing it as “a big vote of confidence in science”.
The Commission proposal will now go through two years of scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, representing the EU’s 27 member states, before emerging in its final form by the end of 2013.
Observers expect that the Commission’s proposal will be in for rough ride, however, with nations that are implementing their own budget cuts pressing for the EU to cut spending, while interest groups, such as the farming lobby, fight to protect their share of the cake.
Geoghegan-Quinn called on researchers in every member state to make their voices heard during the lengthy wrangling process that will determine the final budget, so as to rally support for what is now comfortably Europe’s largest research programme.
Last week, after an internet poll, the Commission said it would rename its main research programme, formerly known as Framework, as Horizon 2020.