Currently, with the exception of the United Kingdom, philanthropy in the EU-25 rarely focuses on research. The Commission is now exploring new initiatives to develop the role of philanthropic organisations (charities, foundations and trusts) as a means to increase funds for European R&D.
An expert report on the issue, published in January 2006, states that too little attention is paid to the role of foundations and other philanthropic bodies in the field of research. The report suggests a number of initiatives to encourage foundation funding of research in Europe. These include improving the regulatory and fiscal environment for foundations and improving conditions for cross-border donations. The outcomes of the report will be discussed in a conference on 27-28 March 2006.
The authors call for the establishment of a 'European Forum of Research Foundations' in 2006 to share best practice and to develop joint initiatives. They also propose a number of legal and fiscal changes to be implemented by 2010.