CG position on Horizon 2020
06 August 2013
The Coimbra Group has published its comments on the Horizon 2020 proposal from the European Commission. The Coimbra Group welcomes Horizon 2020 because of its determination to strengthen the emphasis on research excellence, its support to open, basic research and the ambition to increase European and cross-sectoral research collaboration. The policy paper also contains the concerns of the Coimbra Group, in many cases serious concerns, in particular of the negative funding trend regarding the future Marie Sklodowska Curie actions and the virtual absence, yet again, of the social sciences and humanities in most of the defined societal challenges. The member universities of the Coimbra Group put a strong emphasis on fundamental and blue sky research and see the Humanities and Social Sciences as equal and integral parts not only of their teaching and research portfolio, but also of their contribution to society and economic development. With its particular awareness of regional differences and the varying impact of economic and financial instability on different higher education and research systems the Coimbra Group has also expressed its concern that the progress of the past decade and a half of creating a strong and cohesive ERA may be undermined in the present crisis and that this is not sufficiently taken into consideration.
This means that, unfortunately, comments earlier published by the Coimbra Group on the European Commission’s Green Paper From Challenges to Opportunities and in connection with the ERA consultation can only be repeated: “The Coimbra Group concludes that it has been a source of considerable concern that the complexity of innovation is underestimated and along with this the vital role and creativity of university research and the diversity of research disciplines. This has given rise to the concern that a future Common Strategic Framework might neglect the fundamental role in any innovation strategy of basic research, of the cross-feeding of ideas and knowledge through increased mobility of researchers, of the need to foster spaces for researchers to meet, exchange ideas and promote entrepreneurship”.