EP: Doubling the EU research budget “a strict minimum”

A European Parliament report on the future of European research
says that the member states should regard the doubling of
the funding for Community R&D “as a minimum not be
questioned during the negotiations on the financial

A public hearing on the future of European research took place
at the Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and
Energy (ITRE) on 24 January 2005. The hearing raised debate on the
major issues of the 7th Framework Programme for research
and technological development (FP7) to contribute to the ITRE
report on the matter.

The ITRE provisional report on the future of European research
calls for an active debate among the European Institutions
on identifying the thematic priorities for the FP7 funding.
The document emphasises, among other things, that:

  • The duration of the framework programmes should be lengthened
    and synchronised with the duration of the financial perspectives so
    that the Commission could better co-ordinate its activities on the
    matter. A periodic re-adjustment of objectives could be
    done via a ‘rolling programme’.
  • Basic research should be understood as covering all
    fields, (e.g. the social sciences and humanities), putting
    special emphasis on interdisciplinarity.
  • Research in the areas of life sciences, energy and
    nanotechnology should be included in the FP7 as thematic

Concerning the human resources, the Parliament’s
report encourages member states to define “education
itineraries naturally leading to a research career” and to provide
incentives for industry to create interesting job
opportunities for researchers. The document calls
also for “affirmative actions” to promote women’s
access and career advancement in the field of research and
considers harmonisation of researchers’ careers and salaries at EU
level to help the mobility of researchers in the European research
area (ERA).

Members of the European Parliament now have until 2 February to
amend the report, after which ITRE will vote on it on 16-17 March
2005. The EP plenary will give its final say on 1 April


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