A(LLEA) vision for the future of European research

Experts from academies across Europe release position paper on the next framework programme for European research and innovation

Berlin, 12 July 2017 – An expert working group by the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) released today the position paper Developing a Vision for Framework Programme 9 which evaluates and draws conclusions from the successes and shortcomings of Horizon 2020 and provides recommendations to the European Commission for the formulation of the successor framework programme for research and innovation.

ALLEA’s Framework Programme 9 Working Group calls for the EU to set itself and meet the ambition of being the world leader in research and innovation in the development and realisation of the next framework programme. That framework programme’s agitating concern should be to support research and innovation originality and creativity, and not to be led by administrative capacities. This will require a significant resource commitment especially for Horizon 2020’s most successful initiatives such as the European Research Council and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. As importantly, however, the EU must add value, not replicate, national research systems, and put in place the foundations for a programme that incentivises interdisciplinarity, mobility, internationalism, excellence, impact focused on European societies not just economic or industrial benefit, and impact for the long-term.

In particular, the Working Group recommends that the next framework programme takes on board the suggestion of the report LAB – FAB – APP: Investing in the European future we want for a broader definition of innovation that involves all forms of knowledge and for the full recognition of the value and importance of the humanities and social sciences. The position paper furthermore calls for the EU to re-think significantly mission-oriented research, including purpose, long-term impact and horizons for such funding. The ALLEA experts underline that FP9 should provide more support for research infrastructures, particularly including research human capital infrastructures at a European level, and should encourage a range of size of grants from small to medium to large, with those of shorter duration having a quicker application process.

ALLEA President Professor Günter Stock states: “I am very grateful to our Working Group for presenting – with this position paper – a path to FP9 which is both visionary and feasible. For the future, it will be of vital importance that researchers in Europe can benefit equitably from EU funding regardless of their location. Therefore, the next framework programme must be constructed on the foundation of a strong spirit of ‘building excellence’ in all disciplines and across all member states. Future capacity-building efforts should particularly focus on research programmes in and cooperation agreements with countries which have shown low success rates in the run for EU research funding.”

The chair of the ALLEA FP9 Working Group Professor John Bell, a Fellow of the British Academy, highlights: “Europe needs research undertaken by the best minds to help it have flourishing and convivial communities through to 2040. To be prepared for the changes that lie ahead, Europe needs to ensure the different ways of thinking offered by humanities and social sciences, as well as by the natural and biomedical sciences, work productively together. It also needs a holistic concept of innovation that looks not only at contribution to economic prosperity but also at cultural, governance and social transformation.”

The ALLEA position paper partly responds to recommendations formulated in the so-called Lamy report, which was released a few days ago. The report of an independent High Level Group, lead-authored by the former Director General of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy, presents 11 recommendations “designed to maximise the impact of future R&I programmes and further increase their return on investment for Europe and Europeans”, according to the authors.

With this position paper, ALLEA contributes to the debate following the release of the Lamy report. A dedicated stakeholder conference later this year will provide opportunities for more in-depth discussions of the recommendations in ALLEA’s position paper, bringing together key actors from the research and policy fields.

Download position paper in pdf format here.

Download press release here

ALLEA FP9 Working Group

ALLEA’s FP9 working group comprises twenty members from a wide range of disciplines and representing fifteen countries of the Council of Europe region. It seeks to continue to ensure that any successor research programme to Horizon 2020 is developed with the interests of the Wissenschafts-community in mind and in particular to ensure that the social sciences and humanities are fully represented. It encourages deliberation and foresight within the ALLEA member academies on the fields and activities in which EU funding will be a priority in the future in order to develop suggestions which are delivered to the EU Institutions to contribute to the shaping of new programmes of EU research funding. Read more here

ALLEA (All European Academies)

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, was founded in 1994 and currently brings together 59 Academies in more than 40 countries from the Council of Europe region. Member Academies operate as learned societies, think tanks and research performing organisations. They are self-governing communities of leaders of scholarly enquiry across all fields of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. ALLEA therefore provides access to an unparalleled human resource of intellectual excellence, experience and expertise.

Independent from political, commercial and ideological interests, ALLEA’s policy work seeks to contribute to improving the framework conditions under which science and scholarship can excel. Jointly with its Member Academies, ALLEA is in a position to address the full range of structural and policy issues facing Europe in science, research and innovation. In doing so, it is guided by a common understanding of Europe bound together by historical, social and political factors as well as for scientific and economic reasons.

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